Well. We’re all now living in Interesting Times.
My son is fascinated by all of this. Often, when something unusual happens (like going up a level on a video game), he’ll announce, ‘This day will Go Down In History!’. But now that the schools are closing indefinitely, he’s starting to realise that these days actually will go down in history.
It’s not often we see history being made all around us, in such a conspicuous and uncomfortable way. I wonder how The Future will interpret our obsession with toilet rolls…
For me, it’s fascinating to watch universities and schools around the world shifting to online teaching and home working. At the OU we still have a few specific problems to work out – most notably, what we’re going to do about exams – but for the most part it’s simply business as usual.
People have been reaching out more, though. I’ve heard from a lot of people (students, colleagues, ex-students) who’ve gotten in touch just to check how I’m doing. Thank you to everyone who’s phoned or emailed or messaged me on Twitter! I’m doing ok, managing as best I can – just like everybody else on the planet, and a fair bit more privileged than some. At least working from home isn’t new to me!
These connections between us are going to be important over the next few months, as we all adjust to a new and hopefully temporary ‘normal’. I’m going to do my best to help with that. I’ll keep this column going as a regular Friday night thing (health permitting), and please do join in with comments, even if you don’t have anything much to say!
I’ll also be starting another regular column, hopefully sometime next week, to cheer people up. And in the links below I’ll be focusing less on news items, and more on the fun stuff being put out there by people who are trying to provide for – or attract the attention of – all the folks stuck at home feeling fed up. I think we’ll see some great online opportunities over the coming weeks. If you find anything really good, do let me know!
Finally – today is Ovid’s birthday! I hope you’ll all join me in raising a glass to a poet who knew all about unwelcome Social Distancing!
This week’s links from around the internet
Just a shout-out here to the Rogue Classicist’s #Thelxinoe posts, which offer a daily round-up of links. If you’re in need of more reading, do check them out.
Comment and opinion
(Rather weighted towards virus-related commentary, I’m afraid!)
A Greek history of plagues – Neos Kosmos
Quarantine in the Ancient World – Classical Wisdom Weekly
Pandemics and panaceas – Myth Crafts
Cicero’s lessons for life – Counter Punch
Cicero and Social Distancing – In Medias Res
Romans Stay Home – Eidolon
Xanthippe and the plague – Mappola
Thucydides and the plague – The Conversation
Sanity in a time of coronavirus – The Retiring Academic
Wishful Thinking – Sphinx
Mule vs Volcano – Roman Mysteries & Western Mysteries
Teaching Metamorphoses 4 – Medium
Ovid’s Salmacis – OU Classical Studies Blog
Pliny’s skull – OUP Blog
Classics For All – Spectator Schools
Special and inclusive teaching – Autism and Classical Myth
Distance learning in Classics – New Classicists
Careers for classicists – Society for Classical Studies
Podcasts, video and other media
Rome’s most lethal weapon – Ancient Greece Declassified
Caligula and the invasion of Britain –Life of the Caesars
Piso and Plancina – I, Podius
Sounds of the Bodleian – Oxford University
Free online stuff
Classics at the OU – OU Classical Studies Blog
Ancient Greek YouTube tutorials – The Classics Library
Massolit free trial – Massolit
Ancient History GCSE Resources – ACE
Free online Egyptology courses – University of Manchester
Crowdsourced projects – Society for Classical Studies
In search of the Romans Quiz –Bloomsbury
Free access to Cambridge textbooks till May – CUP
Digital Loebs free to schools and universities – HUP via Twitter
Online tours of Turkish museums –AA.com
Resources from Project Muse – MUSE
Huge ‘In Our Time’ archive – BBC
Free Eidolon course packets – Eidolon
Interviews with curators – The British Museum on YouTube
Open access JSTOR stuff – University Times
Free archaeology and history content – Google Docs