Monday, May 8th, 2017

Summer Is Back

Spread your wings and take to the sky.

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Summer’s End

Just a pro forma post to keep this blog from falling into utter desuetude.

Have a good Fall!


Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

This Is The City

How dead is this blog? Not entirely!

Here’s a tour of downtown Rome in 320 A.D.

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Happy Volcano Day!

In memory of the eruption of Vesuvius on April 24, 79 A.D., and in celebration of the first day of classes here at BGSU for Fall Semester, here’s this.

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Hic tamen vivit.

Since this mostly dormant blog is mostly used for musical markers of the semesters passing: here’s Carl Orff’s Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi–the Latin lyrics with English translation.

And here’s an alternate English version.


Sunday, January 8th, 2012

In Medias Res…

Starting the middle of the academic year at the beginning of the calendar year always seems weird to me. But weird isn’t bad, so I’m getting ready to (as Ellison and Horace recommend) “begin in the middle and later learn the beginning. The end will take care of itself.”

Friday, December 9th, 2011

That Was That!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

This Is It!

The last tractor has been pulled (no, that’s not a euphemism), temperatures in the Great Black Swamp are slated to peak below 80º F today and it’s the first day of classes. On with the show!


I said it elsewhere–I’ve been saying it everywhere–but: congratulations to Lou Anders on his well-deserved Hugo for Best Editor, Long Form.


Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Hey, Kids! Let’s talk about BLOOD LIBEL!

Blood libel has been in the news lately because of its unfortunate use by St. Sarah Palin, apostle to the Mama Grizzlies. The unexpected benefit from this has been an outburst of history in news outlets that don’t normally contemplate the existence of anything more ancient than Lady Gaga’s meat dress. One really interesting story was this one at My only complaint about it, and others, is that is doesn’t go far back enough. The blood libel predates the Middle Ages–predates Christianity, in fact.

Click here to read more

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010


The question came up in my myth class today: do all these werewolf and vampire stories go back to ancient Greece and Rome?

The short answer is: not all, but some. Blood-drinking ghosts are a feature of Greek myth from its earliest recorded period; that’s a good start on vampires. And werewolves are more unambiguous: there’s the story of Lycaon (which is why the topic came up today), and the famous werewolf from Petronius’ Satyricon, who pauses after he becomes a wolf and urinates in a ring around his clothing. According to strict scientific principles, this makes them change into stone (so that nobody can run off with them while he’s running around in lupine form).

As it happens, I was reading around in Pliny’s misnamed Natural History today, and he records some werewolf legends, too. He doesn’t seem to believe them, and he’ll believe almost anything, so maybe they weren’t in general circulation in Rome… but Pliny thinks they explain why versipellis (“skin-changer; werewolf”) is used as an insult in common speech (which it is as far back as Plautus, more than two centuries earlier).

I’ll put the Latin (because Everything is better with Latin!™), complete with ethnic slurs, a translation and some visual evidence after the jump.

Click here to read more

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