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Monthly Archives: January 2014

List of Epigraphical Resource Abbreviations

VIII 18042 Ca (CIL)

VIII 18042 Ca (CIL)

Collections of inscriptions are very useful but a little intimidating for budding Classicists to get their teeth into. These collections are almost always referred to by their acronym, which appear as a meaningless series of letters to the uninitiated. And since epigraphy is a somewhat arcane topic, it is surprisingly difficult to find the full titles of epigraphical resources online.

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Is Amphiaraus a god?

It’s not every day that you hear of a legal dispute about whether a certain divinity is or isn’t a god. This may be because our states – at least, Australia, the UK and the US – have no formal obligations towards gods, and will generally refuse to comment on the true divinity of a god in the interests of protecting religious freedom.

Riace Bronze B, speculatively suggested to be a depiction of Amphiaraus (source) http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/date/2012/08/15

Riace Bronze B, speculatively suggested to be a depiction of Amphiaraus (source)

The Roman republic had it the other way around. There was no official obligation for the state to tolerate religions, but the state was formally obliged to serve gods. John North, in his article, “Religious Toleration in Republican Rome,” has argued that while the Romans were generally tolerant in practice, the concept of “religious toleration” as a moral obligation was absent from Roman thought:

We certainly do not know at any period of any theoretical principle of allowing plurality of worship or belief. The toleration, if that is what it was, was a function of situation not theory.[1]

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On the merits of learning German

Happy news! I’ve just started learning German! I signed up for a super-intensive course (with the Goethe Institute, Melbourne) that runs all day each day from Monday to Friday this week.

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There are so many good reasons to learn German if you like Classics. Perhaps you’ve realised everyone is citing German academics. Name any topic on Greece and Rome, and some German mastermind somewhere has written an immensely important monograph work on that very area. Mention this to anyone who isn’t a Classicist and they’ll reply with a slightly confused “huh?” and ask what Germany has to do with the Romans and Greeks anyway. Good question.

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