Tag 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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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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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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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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Hard shell, soft core

The late antique poet Claudian wrote a series of seven short epigrams on a fluid inclusion (or ‘enhydro’); these poems form part of a collection of Carmina minora (‘Shorter poems’), where they feature under the title De crystallo cui aqua … Continue reading

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Principiis obsta: resist beginnings!

Ovid, in his elegiac poem Remedia Amoris (‘Remedies for Love’), writes (Ov. rem. 89–94, transl. J. H. Mozley): Quale sit id, quod amas, celeri circumspice mente, et tua laesuro subtrahe colla iugo. Principiis obsta; sero medicina paratur, cum mala per … 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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