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A Cheerful Winter Story

George Monbiot has a story to tell about life in the jungles of Brazil.  The Guardian published it here and I urge my gentle reader to read his story before they read my thoughts, because it is a good story.

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A New Book

After a recent trip to the bookstore, I believe that I have a copy of every English or German book on the Achaemenid army. This is easier than it sounds, because there are only three of them. One could of course add other books- Bezalel Porten’s on everyday life in a garrison town on the... Continue reading: A New Book

Philippus Arabs

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

An Ajax or a Socrates?

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?

Funding Canadian Universities

Alex Usher of the Higher Education Strategy Associates has posted a series of comments on the operating budgets of Canadian colleges and universities since 1992 (first second third fourth and fifth).  In a comment he explains that his source is the Financial Information for Universities and Colleges survey by Statistics Canada (here).  I have some... Continue reading: Funding Canadian Universities

The Monuments of the Sertorii

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

Two Views on Punching in Late Medieval Italy

  This image illustrates drunkenness (Lat. ebrietas) in a Tacuinum Sanitatis from Italy in the 1390s (Bibliotheque Nationale du France, Paris MS. Nouvelle acquisition latine 1673 folio 88v: for this and other images see their Mandragore website http://mandragore.bnf.fr/jsp/rechercheExperte.jsp).  The Tacuinum is a Latin translation of an Arabic book on the medical implications of various foods,... Continue reading: Two Views on Punching in Late Medieval Italy

The Race to the End of the Earth

I recently visited the Royal British Columbia Museum for their exhibit on the British and Norwegian South Pole expeditions of 1911/1912 (no permanent URL: temporary one at http://explore.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/ ).  The basic story is well known in Canada: how two expeditions both arrived in Antarctica in hope of being the first to the South Pole, how... Continue reading: The Race to the End of the Earth