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#OTD Battle of Zama in North Africa

On October 19th, 202 BC, the Romans (under Scipio Africanus) defeated the Carthaginians (under Hannibal) and decisively broke the power of the Carthaginian empire. After this, the Romans were clearly the only major power in the western Mediterranean, though it took another two centuries for them to get control of the whole Mediterreanean (with Cleopatra's [...]

By |2019-10-19T08:14:56-07:00October 19th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

#otd Phyllis Wheatley freed from slavery

Phyllis Wheatley was one of the first American poets whose work is still known today. (There were many Native American poets, but most of their work was oral. And there were many poets in Central America, who may have written down their work, but Christian conquerors burned almost all of their books.) Phillis Wheatley [...]

By |2019-10-18T11:51:52-07:00October 18th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Winnie the Pooh and the Battle of Hastings

On a lighter note, it turns out that Winnie-the-Pooh and The Battle of Hastings share an anniversary on October 14th (1066, and 1926). So, did you know that E. H. Shepard - the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh - once drew this amazing scene? (Thanks to the Folio Society for putting this out there!)   [...]

By |2019-10-17T08:55:09-07:00October 17th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Privilege and Classics, again

You know how sometimes you find yourself walking along reading an article on your phone even though you know it's terrible to walk and read at the same time? Well, that happened to me this morning with the Forward's article about Daniel Mendelsohn and his new position as Editor-at-Large at the New York Review of [...]

By |2019-10-16T09:22:04-07:00October 16th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

World Maths Day

I hope you are all enjoying World Maths Day! (Or if you're American, World Math Day). I've put together a tour of the history of math in Africa and Asia, so you can see that the math we do today is made up of ideas from all different places and times. A real Babylonian [...]

By |2019-10-15T09:30:44-07:00October 15th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Sukkot – what are we harvesting?

It seems funny, now that most Jewish people have lived in cities and worked at city things for two thousand years, to remember that long ago most Jewish people were small farmers - like most people everywhere. Jews today have half forgotten that most of their holidays originally celebrated agricultural festivals, planting and harvesting. Passover [...]

By |2019-10-13T08:47:49-07:00October 13th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

#OTD: Battles of Karbala and Poitiers

Forever joined by a coincidence in dates ... well, not that much of a coincidence, because with medieval military campaigns always starting in the spring and ending in the fall, naturally October has a large share of the really crucial battles. These two battles have other things in common too: they're both battles over the [...]

By |2019-10-10T10:23:15-07:00October 10th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Slave Play and Yom Kippur

A Broadway show A funny thing happened to us when we were on line to get into the newly opened Slave Play on Broadway this past weekend. There was a long line, wrapped around the corner of the block. When we were just a few feet from getting in, an older white woman broke into [...]

By |2019-10-08T05:25:47-07:00October 8th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

Afternoon at the Cloisters in NYC

I've been busy today touring the Cloisters museum in New York City, which is where a lot of the Metropolitan Museum's medieval collection lives. It's been a long time since I was there. We saw some great things, for sure! We saw a lot of interesting plants in their garden: a frankincense tree, a cinnamon [...]

By |2019-10-06T20:59:23-07:00October 6th, 2019|blog|0 Comments

New book: The Brothel of Pompeii

A barmaid brings a drink to two men sitting on chairs. The words show the men arguing about whose drink it is. (Caupona of Salvius, Pompeii, 79 AD) - this is not from the brothel of Pompeii, but it's an activity that did take place in the brothel. You need this book Check [...]

By |2019-10-06T20:51:22-07:00October 4th, 2019|blog|0 Comments