Category Archives: Prose

‘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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Love Island

According to Suetonius, Rome’s foremost purveyor of biographical detail laced with outrageous gossip, the emperor Tiberius enjoyed the island of Capri as his retreat (Suet. Tib. 43, transl. J. C. Rolfe [only in the online version of the Loeb, not … 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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An arrogant boss, an overwhelmed manager, a botched valuation, and the exploitation of workers

In the so-called Zenon archive, a cache of some 2,000 papyri from Philadelphia (Fayyum), covering a time-span from 263 to 229 B. C., there is a complex deposit that starts with a letter from one Panakestor to Zenon, the Egyptian … Continue reading

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Advice, Conciliation, Arbitration

It is difficult to find solutions in conflicts in which emotions run high, and it requires insight on either side of such conflicts that presumably not all demands can be met. At the same time, it requires a desire to … 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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Debased and changed beyond recognition

Bankers, money-lenders, and money-changers do not carry a particularly high reputation in present-day discourse when it comes to virtues such as ‘honesty’ and ‘trust’ – which is strange, to a degree, as the entire sector fundamentally relies on belief in … Continue reading

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If they win on this point, what then will they not try…?

In 195 B. C., Rome’s women had had enough. It had been for almost exactly twenty years that, due to a decision taken in 215 B. C., at the height of the Second Punic War, their right to possess, and … 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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