Where now the blog and livejournal? Where the alert that was blowing? Where are the drafts file and imagebank, and the wild words flowing? Where is the strife about small wars, and the cathodes glowing? Where is debate and discovery, and the archives growing? They have passed like bits on a floppy, like tape in a dashboard The sites have gone down one by one, by their owners abandoned. Who shall turn the dry sheaves into green grass waving, Or behold a sunken ship to the Sun returning?
So, 2021 is crawling out the door under a hail of bullets, arrows, javelins, beer bottles, and hurlbats. A lot happened.
I worked the 2021 election where Canadians told their representatives to go back to work and not ask for absolute power, and I got a part-time job with a large Canadian retailer after three years of unemployment.
I got vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic.
I finished the manuscript of my second book and am about to sent a draft around to contacts with the right interests.
We don’t have many pictures of clothed women from the middle of the first millennium BCE in the Near East. Most of the local peoples did not paint scenes of daily life on their pottery, and their stone-carvings show a man’s world or a heavenly world. The Assyrian palace reliefs show some queens and deported women, and one Achaemenid seal shows a wealthy woman seated on a throne. One other picture of a clothed woman is a Neo-Elamite bitumen relief in the Louvre. Its 9.3 cm high, so five times larger than most of the little seals.
The cemetery at Yanghai in Uighur territory continues to give. This week, an article about hide scale armour in a grave there has been circulating on the Internet and corporate social media. The grave had other cool things, like a wooden bedstead and a wooden fire drill, but most of the attention has focused on the authors’ claims that the armour was made within the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Unfortunately, that claim is the weakest part of a strong article.
When you point out some of the less appealing aspects of ancient societies, someone usually accuses you of anachronistic morality. For example, it is very hard to find a writer in the ancient world who objects to slavery as a malum in se. There were people who objected to the wrong kind of people being enslaved, or to cruelty to slaves, but there are very few surviving texts where anyone says that slavery is wrong in and of itself. Isn’t it unfair to accuse the ancients of not knowing that slavery was always wrong if none of them seems to have realized this? There are various counters to this, like pointing out that people who point out admirable aspects of ancient societies seldom face the same criticism. But the best counter is listing some ancient practices which other ancient people objected to. One of the central themes of Roman literature is complaining how terrible Romans in the author’s day are.