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
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