Weekend Reading: Anything You Can Do…

Have I ever mentioned that I’m very competitive?

It’s a character trait that I don’t notice much these days, since I mostly work on my own; but it came up again the other day. I was talking to someone who’s writing a book about Tacitus, and somehow I ended up challenging him to a Tacitus Contest.

I’m not even entirely sure what that would be…!




I don’t think that being competitive is in itself a negative trait – it drives athletes to succeed, after all. But as anyone who’s ever watched me run would tell you, I’m really not an athlete. And in my case competitiveness is quite unfortunate. You see, I also worry about other people a lot, and I hate the thought of them losing and being miserable. So I like to challenge people – but then I don’t actually want to beat them.

Nobody’s been willing to play Scrabble with me in years.

I was thinking about that this week. At the same time I’ve been corresponding with quite a few students around the world who’ve found themselves quarantined, isolated or displaced due to the coronavirus situation; and then of course there’s been the weather in the UK, which has limited people’s mobility. All over the place, it seems, people are stuck and fed up right now. So for this week’s post I thought I’d put my competitive streak to good use and throw a few Classics quizzes at you, to help pass the time if you’re stuck somewhere you’d rather not be. Feel free to boast about notable successes in the Comments!




Mythology Quizzes

From Gaia to Medusa (check out the comments under the answers!) – How Stuff Works

Proof that I’m qualified to teach Myth.


Unfortunate Fates – How Stuff Works

This one’s supposed to be hard, but actually it’s just excruciatingly painful – GoodReads

Which under-rated goddess are you? – How Stuff Works


Apparently I’m ‘all about wholesomeness’. That’s a bit depressing…




History Quizzes

Which Roman emperor are you? [it seems I’m Trajan…] – Quizony

Literature: Fact or Fiction? – Encyclopedia Britannica

Ancient Rome quiz [to prove whether you’re Super Smart. Pleased to report that I am] – Quizly

How much do you know about Socrates? – OUP Blog

Famous Romans [This one’s fun!] – Sporcle

How long would you have survived in Ancient Rome? [Slightly worrying: it seems I’m already dead] – How Stuff Works



From quizzes to competitions

I’ll take this opportunity to mention (again!) a couple of competitions which are currently open, for anyone who might be interested.

The Kassman Essay Prize is open to current Open University undergraduates, so if you fancy writing an essay, you have until June. Here are some thoughts on why you should enter.

The Global Undergraduate Awards are also open now, to any undergraduate or recent graduate who has achieved a First in an essay and who wants to compete against the rest of the world! The good thing about this competition is that you don’t have to write anything new. Here’s some more information.


gladiator (2)


This week’s links from around the classical internet



Vindolanda Eco HQ – BBC 

Roman dagger identified – Live Science

Elgin Marbles fraud claim – ART News


Comment and opinion

Give Iris her body back – The Washington Post 

(Fake) Myth Musicals – Idle Musings 

Teaching Metamorphoses Book 1 – Medium 

Teaching Pygmalion ethically – Ad Meliora 

Wonderwall in Latin – In Medias Res 

Roman souvenirs – Latin Now

Black Athena – Neos Kosmos 

Promethean Problems – Eidolon 

On not reading Homer – Sententiae Antiquae 

Tragedy in tough times – Eidolon 


Podcasts, video and other media

Marcus Aurelius – The Good Life 

Claudius: Waiting in the Wings – I, Podius 


Online open house on Homer’s Thebes – Kosmos Society 



Wherever you are in the world right now, I hope you’re keeping safe. Take care!



9 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Anything You Can Do…

  1. Why are u single??? I mean all the blogs you have written seem so honest, fascinating and forthright, and I’ve seen pics of you (very attractive).. so it baffles…
    Sorry if this seems like a bizarre comment, but I just had to..
    I’ll let my self out…


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