Category Archives: Epigraphy

Craving facts: the new graffito from Pompeii

Yesterday news broke about the discovery of a graffito from Pompeii that was, in the usual sensationalist way, hailed as a text that would require us to rewrite our history books: View this post on Instagram Pompeii, Regio V. Casa … Continue reading

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People of Changing Colour

In a vitriolic letter to Marcella about one Onasus, dated to A. D. 385, St. Jerome, one of the Christian fathers, makes a remarkable, commonly overlooked statement (Letters 42.2): non et lucus ideo dicatur, quod minime luceat, et Parcae ab … Continue reading

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‘You’re dead, you’re a joke,’ or: How should one respond to that image of a Pompeian who was struck by a massive piece of rock?

Contrary to what most people think, there is not only one certainty in life, namely that we all must die: there is a second one, and that is that, before we die, we must live with the certainty of death. … Continue reading

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Blazing with passion

It has been just over one year now since the devastating fire of Grenfell Tower in London – a horrendous, fast-spreading blaze that killed dozens of people and left over two-hundred of the tower block’s inhabitants in the sudden need … Continue reading

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Abusive working relationships

Many strikes do not leave any substantial traces in the historical record. In other cases, the historical record proves extremely hard to read. The following instance is one such example – to show just how sketchy the evidence can be … Continue reading

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Creative disruption and relentless retribution

Strikes are annoying to everyone: employers, customers, and – last, but certainly not least – their employees. Annoyance quickly leads to anger, and anger quickly leads to advocacy for acts of retribution for a perceived injustice – retribution that in … Continue reading

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Strike, Legal Action, and Delusion

Many stories about walk-outs and strikes in the Roman Empire originate from its Eastern provinces. A particularly noteworthy event in this context is the strike of the bakers’ guild in Ephesus in the second half of the second century A. … Continue reading

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United we stand, divided we fall

A Latin inscription from Beirut, dating to the third century A. D., records a conflict between shipowners from Arelate (Arles) in Gaul and the Roman government: [- – – I]ulianus naviculariis / [mar]inis Arelatensibus quinque / [co]rporum salutem / [qu]id … Continue reading

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Once a thief…?

I have been looking at the Latin inscriptions of Silchester recently, and in that context I came across a very remarkable item: the so-called Vyne ring: The Vyne ring, around a seal depicting (and naming) the goddess Venus, bears a … Continue reading

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Bokelmann’s shade

I am in North Frisia right now, spending a few days by the North Sea shore with my son. I fell in love with this primordial landscape when I was a child myself (rather longer ago than I care to … Continue reading

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