Category Archives: Poetry

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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Weird hair, mushrooms, showers, and laughing girls

In Petronius‘ Satyricon, Eumolpus, drunk and trying to make fun of balding people and criminals, eventually bursts out in an ode about hair: (ch. 109, vv. 7–13): Infelix, modo crinibus nitebas Phoebo pulchrior et sorore Phoebi. At nunc levior aere … Continue reading

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Loneliness in Old Age

Poetry and song do wonderful and – in the truest meaning of the word: awesome – things. They allow us to create entire worlds using nothing but words. Alternative worlds in which we may explore and experience what we are … 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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Mini-Me

A couple of days ago, Verne Troyer died. At 81 cm (2 ft 8 in), Troyer was one of the shortest men in the world, his Wikipedia entry claims; he is likely to be remembered, most of all, for performance … Continue reading

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Strike action and the creation of cheap labour

Until very recently, I believed that the strike of Egyptian artisans at Deir El-Medina in the twelfth century B. C., as recorded in a famous papyrus now in the possession of the Museo Egizio at Turin, was the oldest actual … Continue reading

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Strike where the sun don’t shine…

The sun-god Helios could not believe it when his daughter Lampetië told him what had just happened: a bunch of savages had dared to kill and devour his sacred cattle that he pastured on the island of Thrinacia! Of course, … Continue reading

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On strike!

Tibicines, professional flute-players, held an awkward position within the society of Republican Rome. On the one hand, they were admired for their skills and regarded as quintessential for maintaining the sacred order of the state. Unsurprisingly, due to their quintessential … Continue reading

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True Love

exemplo iunctae tibi sint in amore columbae, masculus et totum femina coniugium. errat, qui finem vesani quaerit amoris: verus amor nullum novit habere modum. ‘Let doves yoked in love be your model, male and female, a perfect union. He errs … Continue reading

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In memoriam Dr Hans Krummrey (1930-2018)

A few days ago, I received the sad news that Dr Hans Krummrey, one-time director of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum in Berlin, had passed away. It would be inappropriate for me to attempt a full obituary – there are others … Continue reading

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