Things are Grim Up North still: our local universities are hitting the headlines for astonishing infection levels, and lockdown continues. And – on a personal level – I’m dealing with the frustration of my 8-year-old finally studying The Romans in school, at a time when I’m not allowed to go into his classroom to do a talk, or even send in any of my resources. I’ve been waiting for this for years…!
So, to happier things… The classical television highlight of the week surely has to be yesterday’s episode of Inside Culture with Mary Beard, in which some of the stars of I, CLAUDIUS were reunited. If you haven’t seen it, do take a few minutes to watch the last section – it really is Classics-geek heaven!
A non-classical highlight of the week was perhaps the UK Skills Assessment Tool, which has been providing much amusement for classicists online. Some lecturers have been told that they would in fact make great lecturers… but most of us weren’t. In my case, I was informed that I’m ideally suited to be a Sports Psychologist – which is only true if the objective of sports psychology is to put people off sport entirely. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t ever have to retrain – as will sports people everywhere.
Another happy thing about this week was the return of my Comfort Classics series, which has been on hold for a month or so. I’ve been talking to so many lovely and enthusiastic people this week – and learning about a few things that were new to me. I hope you’ve been enjoying the interviews too! It was a bit of a shock to realise that this week we passed the hundred mark…!
In less happy news, it’s been announced this week that the manager-in-chief of the online journal Eidolon, Donna Zuckerberg, is stepping down, and Eidolon will be winding up operations soon for good. This is a blow to Classics, since Eidolon has done a lot to shake things up over the last five years. However, the old articles will continue to be available as long as the platform exists – which is some consolation. If you’ve never looked at Eidolon, do have a browse through their back catalogue; you may not agree with everything there, but the articles will make you think and question!
My own little website has very little in common with Eidolon, although I’ve always admired Eidolon‘s articles greatly. Eidolon pushes the boundaries, challenges preconceptions and delves into issues that make people uneasy. My website really does the opposite: my aim here is to share enthusiasm and make Classics seem more welcoming, rather than to explore the places which are not welcoming.
However, I did find myself nodding in agreement when Donna Zuckerberg pointed out, ‘My position as an independent scholar with the resources to run this publication is highly unusual’. As a Silicon Valley academic with some pretty notable family connections, she certainly has been in a unique position to set up, finance and publicise her website. She observed that, without her involvement, a future Eidolon would have had to become very different.
My own website is also independent (although on a very much smaller scale!) and reliant entirely on my resources – and that’s a matter of slight concern to me. Simply put, it costs me money to run this website, and right now I don’t have a lot of money, since the pandemic and childcare issues have forced me to give up almost half of my teaching work this year. I can’t complain, since (unlike so many other people) I do still have a job! But there’s no denying that times are tight.
So this week I’ve been working on a shop, through which I might be able to sell some of my classical artwork as product designs. The goal is to try to raise enough money from the shop to pay for the upkeep of the website, at least for the next year. Hopefully next week the shop will be up and running properly, with lots of designs – and you’ll be able to purchase all kinds of Classics-related goodies in plenty of time for Christmas, should you wish to do so! I’ll also be taking suggestions for quotations and ideas I could include in future designs…
For now, though, here’s a ‘Coming Soon’ preview of just a few of the designs and items that will be available. I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to getting hold of some of these…!
This week from around the Classical Internet
September newsletter – The Classical Association
Villa found beneath apartment block in Rome – The British Journal
Rare coin up for auction – The History Blog
Brain cells of Vesuvius victim found intact – The Daily Mail
Comment and opinion
Fake Aristotle – Sententiae Antiquae
BAME Medea – Cambridge Schools Classics Project Blog
A 19th century Laocoon – Hyperallergic
Greek military humour – HistoryNet
Ancient statues and Paralympians – Society for Classical Studies
Darius’ bridge across the Bosporus – Blogging Ancient Epigram
Guest post: Flaroh’s Medea – Greek Myth Comix
The Trojan Horse in Pakistan – Brent Nongbri
Saying goodbye – Eidolon
Podcasts, video and other media
Classics and White Supremacy: Guest Episode – The History of Ancient Greece
Augustus – History of the World Podcast
Herodotus and Sophocles – Herodotus Helpline
The Curious Case of Athenodorus – Deep Into History
Odyssey reading (on YouTube for a week) – Jermyn Street Theatre
Dissertation Prize for a topic on Women’s History – Women’s History Network
Palatine and Roman Forum live (11 Oct) – Understanding Rome