Monthly Archives: February 2015

The New Inscription from Cirencester: A Few Thoughts

A couple of days ago, the discovery and excavation of a Roman tombstone at Cirencester (Gloucestershire) – largely undamaged and still in its original setting (in situ, as the professionals say) – has been publicised in no unspectacular terms. The … Continue reading

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Spread the Wealth

Have I ever told you the one about politicians and fiscal responsibility? The joke that is so old it was first recorded in a Pompeian wall inscription? It goes like this (CIL IV 3702 cf. p. 1383 = ILS 6405): … Continue reading

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Europa, Europe, and the Compelling Imagery of the Latin Inscriptions

Memory is treacherous. Yet, I seem to remember rather vividly a time when our politicians talked about a project they called our ‘common European home’ (Mikhail Gorbachev) or envisioned a ‘Europe, Whole and Free’ (George H. W. Bush). I liked … Continue reading

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The Faint Voices of the Poor of Ancient Rome

More often than not, we tend to turn our eyes away from poverty and the poor, the blemish on the conscience of our society in which everything exists in abundance and in which no one would have to suffer from … Continue reading

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St. Valentine’s Glory

Valentine’s Day is imminent: a day for lovers (to celebrate their romance), for the chocolate and flower industries (to make a fortune), and for the ill-informed (to point out that the Romans, too, celebrated a festival around the same time … Continue reading

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Don’t Mess with Divine Horsepower

There are creatures so bizarrely beautiful and so beautifully bizarre, it seems impossible to imagine a world without them. Unicorns. Kangaroos. Highland coos. Hedgehogs. And, of course, the seahorse. (Not to mention the fabled sea-unicorn!) The mesmerizing, almost mythical seahorse … Continue reading

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Buried Above Ground

The idea that the body is a prison-house or, more drastically still, a tomb of the soul – often shortened to the phrase soma sema – is an ancient one. Rooted in Orphic (rather than Pythagorean) thought, it finds its first … Continue reading

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