Emperor Maximilian’s memorial at the Hofkirche is one of the most impressive monuments of Innsbruck. Being an early modern aristocrat, he made extravagant plans which could not be fully carried out after his death. A number of bronze busts of Roman emperors, which my guidebook tells me were meant to be part of a set of 34, are... Continue reading: Philippus Arabs
My estimable colleague Jona Lendering recently expressed dismay that historians of the Macedonian Kingdom of Bactria tried to read kings’ personalities in their portraits on coins (here). Since no literature from Hellenistic Bactria survives, and very few sources from India or the Mediterranean mention it, scholars have been more than usually tempted to apply any methodology which might... Continue reading: An Ajax or a Socrates?
I just returned from a most excellent conference, the seventh Melammu symposium. Unlike many academic conferences, which exist to either bring scholars in different cities together or to address a specific problem, the Melammu symposia have a broad general mission: to better understand and better publicize the influence of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations on... Continue reading: Mesopotamia in the Ancient World
In the course of my Master’s studies, I discovered a number of curious and unsettling details which are well known to specialists but not by the interested public. One of these is that we know very little about what happened for a year of the Peloponnesian War, and that we are not sure where to... Continue reading: One Of Our Years Is Missing
Michael Ignatieff, former head of the Liberal Party of Canada, has been musing about why he lost the election of 2011 (see eg. this excerpt from his book in the Toronto Star). One of his consolations is that succesful political thinkers often fail as practical politicians, because theory and practice are different arts and require different virtues. Canadian readers... Continue reading: Who writes the history books?
In the early Roman Empire, it was fashionable for wealthy soldiers to put up a stone with an inscription and their portrait at their tomb. Two such soldiers were Quintus and Lucius Sertorius, who erected their monuments at Cisolino (about 10 miles east of Verona) sometime in the late first century CE. The slab at... Continue reading: The Monuments of the Sertorii
Philip Sabin, Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World (London: Continuum Books, 2009) Bookfinder link Big battles are always a popular topic, but even the best-documented ancient battles are difficult to understand. The few ancient accounts which survive never answer every question which modern readers ask, and often disagree with each... Continue reading: Some thoughts on Sabin’s “Lost Battles”