The world is in a state of upheaval at the moment, and we’re all looking for things to make us feel less anxious. Maybe Classics can help.
Today’s interview is with Carly Silver
Is there a source from the ancient world that you find yourself coming back to when you want to feel better?
I love the pig-stele of Edessa, which memorializes a pig who got run over by a cart. Whether or not the sentiment was sincere or the tone is mocking, the fact someone paid money to grieve a dead pig never fails to make me smile.
The text reads:
When did you first come across this source?
I came across it in discussions of animals in antiquity.
Can you tell me a bit about this memorial and its context?
Dr. Theo Antikas, in his discussions on pigs in antiquity, notes that a pig is placed in the figure of a slain noble hero in this memorial. The source also discusses porcine importation, a valuable source of information about farm animal shipping for those studying it.
What is it about this source that appeals to you most?
If one subscribes to the idea that the tone is tragicomic – eulogizing a pig instead of, say, Achilles – its ridiculous and cheeky tone appeals to me most.
And finally… what do you do, outside of studying the ancient world, to cheer yourself up?
I love to go for long walks around Brooklyn, read, go to libraries, meet with fellow scholars (chat to me on Twitter @Carlyasilver!), and travel.
A public historian, Carly Silver has written for JSTOR Daily, BBC News, History Today, Smithsonian, Atlas Obscura, The Atlantic, Narratively, ThoughtCo/About.com (for which she served as the ancient/classical history expert), Archaeology, Biblical Archaeology, Eidolon, and All That’s Interesting, among other publications.
Read her articles at CarlySilver.com, visit her on Twitter at @CarlyASilver, or check out her Instagram at @bespectacledlegend.
Catch up with all the Comfort Classics interviews here.