Tag Archives: Big questions

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

Posted in Epigraphy, Poetry, Prose | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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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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Facts vs. alternative facts (formerly known as ‘bull$#!^’): an ancient poem

Phaedrus, Rome’s fabulist of the first century A. D., wrote a remarkable piece called Poeta de credere et non credere, ‘The poet’s judgement with respect to believing and not believing’ (Phaedr. 3.10). This is the rather delightful 1761 translation of … Continue reading

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Roman poetry is when…

My favourite definition of poetry goes like this: Poetry is when every line begins with a capital letter and does not reach the right margin of the page. I like this definition so much, because, in its focus on two … Continue reading

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An innocent lamb used facts as a weapon against post-truth politics. You won’t believe what happened next…

In my previous post, I explored the dynamics and rhetoric behind what has been called ‘post-truth politics’. The concept still is very much on my mind. On the one hand, I am not deluded enough to believe that concepts such … Continue reading

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‘Amatrice is no more,’ or: August 24th, again

Correctly or not, August 24th is the date which is commonly taken as the day on which, in A. D. 79, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the city of Pompeii as well as many adjacent settlements. Yesterday – on August … Continue reading

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Sex, Gender Roles, and Hatred

In 1908, Edith Morley was appointed Professor of English Language at University College Reading – the institution that eventually became the University of Reading. Professor Morley’s autobiographical sketch, ‘Looking Before and After’ was recently published as ‘Before and After: Reminiscences … Continue reading

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Seneca on Gender Equality

It is a common trope in present-day discourse that feminism and the enforcement of gender equality are destroying the very foundations of our societies and ultimately ruining everything for us, to the detriment of those who seek equality in the … Continue reading

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