Weekend Reading: Too Much News

My head’s spinning this week. I set up this weekly blog a year or so ago with the intention of commenting on Classics in the news: but for a long time there simply wasn’t much Classics in the news (which is why many of my posts have degenerated into random waffle). Now I’m suffering from Classics-in-the-news overload.

In the space of one week we’ve had Boris comparing his purges to Octavian/Augustus, Nigel Farage being compared to Icarus and Spartacus, mythical references popping up in political speeches, and Thucydides and Pericles being connected to today’s politics. And those are just the connections I noticed while spending the week redecorating my kitchen.

I have to admit, the Farage/Icarus analogy has been my favourite. Wednesday’s Telegraph article suggested that Nigel Farage should learn from Icarus’ fate – but the headline on social media gave the impression that the Telegraph had entirely missed the ending of the myth (compounded by the fact that, since the bulk of the article was behind a paywall, most people didn’t bother reading it all), and of course that set the Internet off. There’s nothing Twitter likes better than a headline that gets things wrong.




It’s been a joy to see so many hundreds of people leaping to demonstrate their superior knowledge of myth. I’m going to save all these tweets for the first tutorial of this year’s Myth module, when I usually get people talking about Icarus. It’s not often that I have the chance to ramble on about Ovid and be topical at the same time, so I plan to enjoy it.











But if I’m honest, I’m getting a bit tired of commenting on politics – even the sort of vague commenting that I usually do. So let me direct your attention instead to the article by Johanna Hanink in The Strategist, on how to achieve that Classics Professor “look” that all the cool kids are after.

I don’t have everything on that list (yet!): but now that I’ve started noticing, I’ve become rather alarmed at the number of engravings of ruins I have around the house. I’ve also come to realise that I don’t have nearly enough dorky Classics mugs, so I’m shopping for some to top up my stock. Here are my current favourites:





This week’s links from around the internet




Richard Hammond blamed for breaking Pompeii – Metro

Roman coin from Brampton – News and Star 

Nigel Farage as the Brexit Icarus – The Telegraph 

…or maybe he’s the Brexit Spartacus – The Telegraph

Myth and politics – The Guardian

The puzzle of the Dead Sea Scrolls – The Guardian 



Comment and opinion

Epic cocktails – Eidolon

Toxic heroism – Sententiae Antiquae 

Sexual violence in Ovid – Lapham’s Quarterly

The Thucydides virus – Sphinx 

Romans and leprechauns – The Times 

Interview with Andrew Birley – Chronicle Live 

Why Boris should stick with Pericles – The Spectator

Roman explicit graffiti – The Third Eye

Poems inspired by the Odyssey – Emily Wilson 

The value of stoicism – Sunday Observer 

Boris and Augustus – A Don’s Life 

Tacitus and his sources – The Spectator

How to look like a classicist – The Strategist 


Podcasts, video and other media

Experimental archaeology – Coffee and Circuses 

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – Archaeological Fantasies 

The origins of oligarchy – Ancient Greece Declassified 

Statius’ Thebaid – Literature and History

Vestal Virgins – Emperors of Rome

Interview with Caroline Lawrence – Audite 



British library



Other stuff

Athens for children – Delphi 

Free article on Latin pronunciation – Oxford Classical Dictionary

‘Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars’ freely available online – Edith Hall



Oh, and finally… a warm welcome to all my new readers from the OU Latin and Roman Empire modules! Feel free to leave comments – we’re all pretty friendly here!

2 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Too Much News

  1. As alway, hugely entertaining – thanks, Cora Beth! In part. the article about Richard Hammond had me in stitches 😂 …


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