A Classicist in Dublin

Hibernia (and Albion), 1654. Not remotely classical or even relevant, except insofar as it’s about as accurate as Pliny’s description.

Dublin might not seem the obvious city for a Classical tour, since the Greeks and Romans never really made it as far as Ireland, and don’t seem to have known all that much about what they called Ἱέρνη/Hibernia. All Pliny the Elder (4.102-3) has to report about the island is its size (300 miles wide and 600 long, apparently; he’s only out by a couple hundred miles), though Strabo (4.201) has a bit more information: apparently the inhabitants of Ἱέρνη were savage incestuous cannibals. (Keen to avoid a libel suit, though, he’s quick to add that he doesn’t have any reliable sources for this, and anyway plenty of other peoples are said to practice cannibalism, at least during sieges). And, apart from a list of towns in Ptolemy’s Geography, that’s about it on Classical interaction with Ireland; Dublin itself was probably founded about 800 A.D. So why, I hear my readers ask, does a trip to Dublin merit inclusion on Res Gerendae?

Continue reading “A Classicist in Dublin”


Classical Association Conference 2013

CA conference 2013, Reading

Last week a group of intrepid graduate students gathered their courage and dared to step outside the Cambridge Bubble. Our mission: to attend the Classical Association conference, hosted this year by the University of Reading, and involving around 400 Classics students, lecturers, and teachers from all over the UK and abroad.

Continue reading “Classical Association Conference 2013”

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

A reminder that the British Museum’s Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition, which I’m pretty sure all of us are going to want to go see, just opened today:

Telling the human story of Pompeii and Herculaneum

As the self-appointed ResGerendae museum reviewer, I will certainly be visiting in the near future and sharing my thoughts, so watch this space!

Beware the Ides of March!

To celebrate this glorious/inauspicious day (depending on your Roman political stance), some wonderful Victorian and early-20th-century advertisments for how to avoid ending up like Julius Caesar from the British Newspaper Archive:



If only Caesar had had some Scotch whisky with him, history would have been very different.

La Mort de César (ca. 1859–1867) by Jean-Léon Gérôme
(from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Julius_Caesar)

The Lost Books of the Odyssey

I’ve been meaning to write a review of this book for ages, since it’s not only one of my favourite Classics-based books, but also definitely has a place in my (long) list of favourite books ever – as the many of you to whom I’ve recommended it already know!

‘The Lost Books of the Odyssey’ is the literary debut of Zachary Mason, a computer scientist from California who wrote it in his spare time after work (don’t you just hate some people?). It’s a collection of forty-four stories, most of which are loosely constructed around episodes, characters and themes from the Odyssey (there are also a few based on the Iliad, and on other Greek myths) – the premise being that these are remnants of the epic tradition as it was before the canonisation of the Homeric versions of these stories. (The preface claims it to be a translation of a papyrus found at Oxyrhynchus, which ties in quite nicely with all our discussions last term about creating authority through ‘translation’.)

Continue reading “The Lost Books of the Odyssey”

Antiquity À-la-carte

My latest find of incredibly-useful-tools-I-wish-someone-had-told-me-about-earlier is “Antiquity À-la-carte“, an application developed by the Ancient World Mapping Centre which allows the user to create customised maps of any part of the classical world:

Antiquity 2
Continue reading “Antiquity À-la-carte”