Weekend Reading: Happy Birthday CSS!

This month my little website turns three years old. Maybe this is an opportunity to reflect on its impact, its future and its reason for being.

Or maybe it’s just a good excuse to drink prosecco (thanks John!), eat lots of chocolate (thanks Steve!) and waffle about random things. That sounds a bit more fun…

I recall doing lots of pondering, during June and July of 2019, about the purpose and future of blogging, and of this website more specifically. I feel like patting my 2019 self on the head in a patronising manner, and mentioning gently that 2020 isn’t going to turn out quite as I might be expecting…

However, if we discount the global apocalyptic chaos, there have been some good things to come out of the last year. At this point in 2019 I was sounding smug about reaching 20,000 views over the two years of CSS’s existence. Well, last week I passed the 50,000 mark – so I’m having to re-calibrate my smugness threshold.






I’ve also been enjoying the way the website has brought people together over the last few months. That was always one of my goals in setting the site up – although I didn’t anticipate the way in which it would come about! It’s been lovely to hear, as part of the Comfort Classics series, from regular readers and students. It’s also been surprising – in a very nice way! – that so many people I haven’t met before have been willing to contribute to the series. Classical Studies, as a discipline, certainly isn’t perfect (a point which many people have been making very persuasively over the last week) – but I’ve been reminded over the last three months that the people in it can be kind, approachable and generous with their time.

This week on Comfort Classics (with a break for Tuesday’s #BlackOutTuesday), I’ve been talking to fabulous former students John and Jennie, about the Aeneid and about Bernini’s presentation of Ovid. Archaeology professor Phil Perkins from the OU also joined in on Thursday, talking about Etruria. And today, of course, I got to talk to the wonderful Caroline Lawrence, whose children’s books I love, about Martial. I have more great interviews lined up for next week too.

So I think it’s fair to say that, while I set up this website with the intention of being of help to my students, I’m actually having a lot of fun with it myself this year! I wonder if that’s unethical. Maybe my resolution for next year ought to be to have less fun…







This week from around the Classical Internet…




Roman bath discovery – Archaeology

Stealing Britain’s history – The Guardian 

DNA and the Dead Sea Scrolls – The Guardian 

Trojan War sarcophagus –Daily Sabah 




Black scholars in Classics – KCL 

Statement of solidarity – The Sportula

Black-centred resources – Zoe Elise Thomas

Empire, slavery, violence and politics – Georgy Kantor



Comment and opinion

Elusive ancient toys – Discover 

Roman funerary inscriptions – Roman Times 

A lost sea-monster – Blogging Ancient Epigram 

Could Roman women read? – The Daily Beast 

Fact-checking the ancient world – Bad Ancient

Cicero and fake news – History Hit

Neglected civilisations – The Spectator 

Cast the ‘Hercules’ remake – Buzzfeed



From Classical Studies Memes for Hellenistic Teens



Podcasts, video and other media

Ab Urbe Condita – The Latinum Institute

Curse tablet Object Narrative: Greg Woolf – Open Material Religion 

Socrates invents Western Civilization – Existential Comics

Sculpture in the ancient Greek world – Ancient World Magazine

Digital Mycenae – Cambridge Digital Library

Live tragedy readings – Michael Scott



From Classical Studies Memes for Hellenistic Teens

13 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Happy Birthday CSS!

  1. Happy Birthday CSS! I remember searching the internet early 2019 looking something to give me that confidence boost/ kick up the backside to go ahead and apply for the MA Classical studies…. then I found CSS.. listened to Cora Beth’s podcast on A863.. read all the great content on the website and applied…

    Even though I had to defer my studies due to work commitments ( still in Northern Saudi Arabia btw, here till September 😒), I’ll be back with the OU in Oct 2020..and when ever I need that little reminder/kick up the backside/ ideas on what, who to read next.. I almost always come back to CSS for a bit of inspiration.

    So, yes Cora Beth a massive pat on the back for you, and a Cheers 🥂🍻 enjoy your Prosecco and Chocolate 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. …Three winters cold
    Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
    Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d
    Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d!

    felix triennium!…….or seeing as you’re glugging all that prosecco, felicia bacchanalia!
    …or simply, well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many many many happy returns 😄 Thank you for doing such a fantastic job. My weekly, and now daily, mainstay – long may CSS continue 👍👏😃

    Liked by 1 person

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