The Secret Anthropologist, Part II

Editor’s note: This report was recently found pinned to the notice-board in the Graduate Common Room. It appears to be written by the same person as the previous anthropological report, but their identity remains a mystery. It is evident, however, that their fieldwork project in the Faculty is still ongoing.

Following my initial study of the event known as “Graduate Tea“, I have since been fortunate enough to gain access to the Classicists’ second important weekly ritual, the “Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar” (or “GIS”, as it is generally referred to by the initiated).

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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!

Caecilius est in metro?

I feel I have to share my recent discovery (sadly made via the internet rather than in person) that Wallsend Metro Station in Newcastle has bilingual signage in English and Latin:

image
Image from Wikipedia

It also has pictures of “Romanised” local shops, of which the one of the Job Centre labelled “Forum Venalicium” – “slave market” – seems to be the most popular.

Cult Classics Films – The Oscars

The vast majority of recent ‘Classical’ movies are, almost universally, completely mangled versions of the Classical history/mythology/literature on which they were supposedly based, without even the potentially redeeming feature of decent acting (I’m thinking of ‘Troy‘, ‘300‘, ‘Centurion‘…I’m sure you can fill in others). Classical movies from several decades ago, on the other hand, are, almost universally, completely mangled versions of the Classical history/mythology/literature on which they were supposedly based, without even the potentially redeeming feature of decent acting…and yet possessed of a certain vintage charm that somehow makes them utterly hilarious and hugely entertaining to watch.

In our never-ending quest to bring our readers the best in home entertainment, therefore, Res Gerendae‘s dedicated team of film critics selflessly set out to investigate and judge a series of cult Classics films – broadly defined as films relating (or claiming to relate) in some way to Greek or Roman history or mythology, dating from the 1950s-1980s. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you – the Cult Classics Oscars!

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Linguistics Baking Part III: Phoenician

We’ve been having a ‘Phoenician for Classicists’ seminar in the Faculty this term, for anyone mad *ahem* keen enough to spend their Friday lunchtimes attempting to read inscriptions in a language they don’t know, written in a script that doesn’t represent vowels and in which about half of the consonants look essentially identical to each other. Put like that, who wouldn’t come along and join us?

Anyway, it’s been great fun, if mind-blowing (I blame the very little work I’ve got done any Friday afternoon this term on having expended all my brain cells trying to understand Phoenician), and it seemed appropriate to celebrate the last of these seminars with cake. And so, I hereby present the Phoenician Epigraphy Cake:

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Classical Stuff on the Internet

I’m afraid this post is not going to be an in-depth analysis of the current use of the internet to facilitate Classical learning, or anything actually useful or relevant like that. In fact it’s really just two links to things I came across in the course of today that seem like a nice illustration of the principle that you can literally find anything on the internet (without, in this case, even trying particularly hard). First of all (courtesy of rogueclassicism) we have what must be the best piece of bureaucratic correspondence ever, in the form of two poems in medieval Latin style, dating from the good old days of the 1930s.

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