There are a lot of classicists out there who are writing about plagues and viruses and lessons that we can learn from History (see links below).
I won’t be doing that.
That’s partly because I don’t feel qualified to set myself up as a commentator on the relationship between the ancient and modern worlds. I’m not sure whether anybody is – but I know I’m not. It’s also partly because we’re in a situation that’s constantly changing, and it’s difficult to anticipate how it will develop.
But mainly it’s because the whole thing is a bit miserable.
Yes, we are all living through difficult times – but many of us are finding ways to have fun. So this week’s post is all about the fun.
I’ve been enjoying talking to people for my Comfort Classics series of interviews. It’s given me a great excuse to get back in touch with former students, as well as to get to know people better whom I’ve only ‘met’ from a distance. So far this week I’ve talked to OU graduate Colin about his tattoos, Ovid commentator Crom about nequitia, Sarah from Hellene Travel about the comfort of Aeschylus, historical fiction writer LJ about Suetonius and scandal – and of course the inspirational Mary Beard about the Odyssey (that was very exciting, since she contacted me just after I’d been watching her in a documentary about Titian!). It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve got plenty more interviews lined up, so do keep checking in. I’m going to take the weekend off, but will be back on Monday. And if you’d like to join in, do contact me!
I’ve also been having fun with books (no change there, then…). Earlier in the week I persuaded my son (who hates Craft with a fiery passion) to help me make a Book Rainbow for our window:
It was fun, and it took about 10 minutes (about the length of my son’s attention span!) – and we were proud of it, so we put the photo up on Twitter. Then it became a whole lot more fun, as people all round the world started joining in with their Classics rainbows. My son was very impressed – we spent two days reading the replies and tracking the hundreds of ‘likes’! Here are a couple of contributions from other people…
Check out the thread on Twitter for more.
There’s also been a lot going on which I’ve wanted to dive into, but haven’t had the time. Gina is continuing to run a Monday ‘Quarantine Classics’ reading group, which is open to anyone, and an online coffee morning for OU students (details here). The Center for Hellenic Studies is doing live weekly readings of Euripides (recorded here). Darius Arya is doing lectures for kids, live from Rome (recorded here). There are also lots of virtual events; for instance, Helen Morales is talking to Mary Beard next week about her new book on myth. There are more online Classics events than I could possibly keep up with, with more being added every day.
There’s also plenty of classical silliness on social media. Lockdown houses, for instance: which one would you choose to be stuck in?
…and this natural extension of the question, from @DocCrom…
And finally… I had a good laugh at this attempt to produce a Latin motto…
Happy Easter, everybody!
This week’s links from around the Classical Internet
Vindolanda and coronavirus – Chronicle Live
Mary Beard on British Museum objects – The Guardian
Wildlife in the Colosseum – The Times
British Museum ostrich eggs – The Guardian
Comment and opinion
Finishing a PhD in a pandemic – Eidolon
How would Thucydides have recorded the pandemic? – Society for Classical Studies
A Covid-19 world – Michael Scott
Thucydides is a virus – Eidolon
More on Thucydides – Sphinx
Aristotle’s coronavirus – The Philological Crocodile
From old to new comedy – Medium
Fun in Ancient Egypt – Musings of Clio
Harry Potter and the Sphinx – Fantastiche Antike
Ovid and good sex – Bellaria
Gladiator: behind the scenes – The Things
Brain surgery in ancient Greece – Phys.org
Mary Beard’s top five objects – The British Museum
Podcasts, video and other media
Ovid and scansion – The Latin Programme
Virgil and scansion – Benjamin Eldon Stevens
Thucydides on the WHO – Neville Morley