Weekend Reading: Winter Fun

Last weekend we held our first ever Saturnalia Fun Day at the Hadrian’s Wall Classical Association. We’ll be taking our show on the road next year, since we aim to cover a pretty wide geographical spread – but to begin with we’ve based ourselves in and around the Durham area. Our Saturnalia event was held in the impressive Alington House, a community centre just minutes away from the main shopping streets in Durham which somehow I’d never even noticed before! Our hope was that families out shopping on a Saturday would find us and come in for a cup of tea and a chance to get warmed up.

It turned out to be a lovely day. I spent most of it eating biscuits and telling stories to children, with occasional breaks for card-making or gift-bag decorating – which is pretty much my definition of a perfect day! But it wouldn’t have happened without the involvement of a lot of people: JT Wolfenden, who made everybody feel welcome; Edith Hall, who couldn’t be there in person but was certainly there in spirit; Tony Potter, who kept us all on track; Tony M., who did lots of table-carrying; Jenny, who became our Craft Expert; Thomas, who road-tested everything for us; Anne, who brought us some canine company; and of course the staff at Alington House, who provided hot drinks and a twinkly Christmas tree. Thanks to everyone for pitching in!

We already have some Big Plans for classical fun and silliness next year, so watch this space…!

Elsewhere it’s fair to say that fun seems to be in short supply. Everyone I talk to seems to be ill, including me and most of my family, and of course my students; I don’t think I’ve ever given out so many essay extensions all at once before. Staying warm, too, has been quite a challenge this week. The heating has eaten up most of my Christmas budget (and even so, I still have chilblains!), and the extensions mean that I’ll be working right up until Christmas this year.

But in the absence of Christmas cheer, at least we have some pretty sights right now! One of my favourite things to photograph is a snowy Roman Fort, and this week even the wheatfield at Arbeia froze, so the whole thing looked like a sparkly North-East Narnia. So here are some pictures from the well-and-truly Frozen North, taken on my very chilly regular walk to school, to brighten your day!

This week from around the Classical Internet


Roman-era graves discovered in Gaza – AP News

Vatican returning Parthenon Marbles – The Telegraph

Roman mosaic uncovered in Naples – Archaeology

Ancient grammatical puzzle solved – Phys.org

A gingerbread Parthenon for Christmas – Greek Herald

Comment and opinion

Alexandrian fragments and tsunamis – Isis Naucratis

Baby names inspired by Greek Mythology – Greek Reporter

‘Learning Latin the Ancient Way’ in German – Classics at Reading

Armless Fun? – History Today

Epigrams for Christmas – Blogging Ancient Epigram

Podcasts, video and other media

A Saturnalia Feast! – The Delicious Legacy

Interview with novelist Claire North – Moan Inc.

Alexander the Great’s Sex Life – Betwixt The Sheets

Ryan Murphy’s Greek Mythology – Greek Myth Comix

Ancient Voices Evening Classics – The Classical Association of Scotland

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