Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar – 29.11.2013

This week’s GIS was a special session for MPhils and 1st-year PhDs to give short presentations about their proposed thesis topics – because two subjects in an hour and a half just didn’t seem like enough, so why not have six? The talks ranged over Greek and Latin literature, archaeology, and linguistics, with some lively discussion and feedback following each one.  Continue reading “Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar – 29.11.2013”

Consult the Oracle

MPhils – want to know how you’ll do on your first essay? PhDs – want to know when, if ever, your thesis will finally be finished? Desperate to know the definitive answer to the Homeric Question, or whether Linear A will ever be deciphered? Help is at hand! The UCL Oracle is available entirely free of charge to answer all your questions, any time of the day or night, with no need to queue! Of course, interpreting the answers is still up to you, so take care – remember Croesus

I thought I’d give it a test by asking if there was anyone wiser than Socrates. The answer:

OracleGuess I’m going to have to try harder next time…But what will the oracle predict for YOUR future? Inquire if you dare!


Two Years of Res Gerendae

In celebration of RG’s anniversary, it seems appropriate to look back over the last two years in the form of some site stats:

We have, at the time of writing, had 33,696 page views since the blog’s foundation.

As might be expected, the majority of these are from the U.K., with the U.S. in second place, but we also get a significant amount of traffic from Canada, Australia, various European countries, and (more unexpectedly) Brazil. Down at the bottom of the list, we’ve had single views from the Solomon Islands, Bahrain, Kenya, and Barbados, to name just a few. (Hello to readers from any of those places!)

The most-viewed post ever is Hannah’s ‘Eight Paintings of the Classical World‘, with 1,546 views, and the post that inspired the most comments was Fran’s ‘The Past That Was Loved A Lot‘. Nice work guys!

And finally, the best part – the search term analysis. Unsurprisingly the most common search term that people find us with is ‘res gerendae’, but you might not expect the next two places to be taken by ‘brian blessed’ and ‘simon woods’ (both featured here), nor that ‘hermann grassman‘ should be almost as popular. Venturing further down the list one finds phrases such as ‘awesome canadian postcards‘, ‘hunky soldiers‘, ‘visiting the pope proper protocol‘, ‘strictly female dancers‘, and of course the old favourite, ‘do sheep have one leg shorter than the other‘. One suspects that many of these searchers were not, in fact, looking for what they ended up finding – but we hope they enjoyed it nonetheless!

Fly through Ancient Rome…

…with this 3D recreation of central Rome in the late antique period. This project is apparently aiming to produce a whole series of models of Rome at different periods, from c.1000 B.C.E. – 550 C.E., so hopefully this will be the first in a long series of video tours of the Eternal City!

Linguistics Baking Part IV: Linear A

Linear A cupcakesI was starting to think it was high time I got round to doing some more linguistic baking, when a fellow linguist conveniently had a birthday…so here they are: Linear A cupcakes.

Like Linear B, Linear A is found written on clay at Bronze Age Cretan sites. As well as larger tablets, both Linear A and B are often written on ‘sealings’ or ‘nodules’: small lumps of clay that presumably recorded individual transactions, perhaps to be compiled on a tablet later. Handily, these are very suitable for representing in cupcake form. The examples here with two or three signs may be names of people or places who were contributing or receiving goods, while the single signs probably represent commodities (the sign in the middle of the third row, for instance, looks like some kind of tripod to me).

Continue reading “Linguistics Baking Part IV: Linear A”

Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar – 01/11/2013

Claire Jackson started off this week’s GIS with a paper on ‘Ancient Fiction and Forgery in Antonius Diogenes’. After explaining some of the problems with studying the concept of ‘fiction’ in the ancient world, she looked specifically at Antonius Diogenes’ novel τα ὑπὲρ Θούλην ἀπίστια (‘The Unbelievable Things Beyond Thule’ – Thule being a semi-mythical land located somewhere to the north of Europe), which survives only in fragments and a plot summary by Photius. This summary reveals the strategies used by the author to present the novel as ‘documentary’, backed up by authentic sources, but simultaneously to undermine that status by referring to these claims as false.

Continue reading “Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar – 01/11/2013”