Category Archives: Uncategorized

A List of Women Authors from the Ancient World


I am reposting this list for International Women’s day.

Most of the evidence for these authors has been collected only in Wikipedia. We can probably do better by adding more information from ancient sources and modern ‘scholarly’ texts. I have been translating the fragments of some for the website and linking as appropriate

I received a link to the following in an email from my undergraduate poetry teacher the amazing poet and translator Olga Broumas. The post is on tumblr on a page by DiasporaChic, bit the original author who has already won my admiration is Terpsikeraunos.

*denotes comments I have added with this re-post

** denotes names I have added


Women in ancient Greece and Rome with surviving works or fragments


Aesara of Lucania: “Only a fragment survives of Aesara of Lucania’s Book on Human Nature, but it provides a key to…

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After Leo, then what?

Me at Leo’s tomb, St Peter’s

My current research is embroiled in the next steps of my project on the letters of Leo the Great — editing, translating, and writing a commentary on them. If I live to see the end of this, what will my next big project be? I will stick with papal letters if I’ve not tired of them, but from a different perspective.

I would want to write a social history of Latin Christianity in the long (papal) fifth century — Siricius in 385 to Symmachus’ death in 514. The core sources would be the papal letters, although I am not afraid of using corroborating evidence or challenging them with contrary evidence as I go. One of the frustrations I had with Crisis Management in Late Antiquity is that, since it was a study of only one body of evidence, all sorts of other questions of how bishops dealt with crises were excluded, or at least potential answers were excluded. I don’t want to do that.

The question I would pose would be a sidestep of papal history and episcopal self-fashioning in late antique Rome. Instead, I would ask, ‘What do these letters tell us about everybody else? Especially the laypeople.‘ What is everyday life like for the fifth-century citizenry of the cities to whom the popes write? Papal letters, like other episcopal letters and canon law documents, are responding to situations. What situations are they responding to? What are the ramifications? How does this fit in with other evidence?

Some of these situations have been studied already, but my angle is not, ‘What does this tell us about Innocent or Celestine?’ Rather, my angle is, ‘What does this tell us about the lives of these ‘ordinary’ people?’

If I’m tired of papal letters by then — as I may well be — a book on the devotional expectations of fifth-century Italian preachers of their lay audience would be of interest, assessing Leo the Great, Peter Chrysologus, and Maximus of Turin. All-too-often visions of late antique piety are concerned with monks or with what these preachers would have considered ‘deviant’ practices — so what did they recommend, and what is its meaning in its own place and time?

A moment in Gregory of Tours illustrating canon law textual criticism

This event in Gregory of Tours came up over lunch with a friend, so I thought I’d re-post it for your reading pleasure.

The Wordhoard

Gregory of Tours and Salvius of Albi before Chilperic I Gregory of Tours and Salvius of Albi before Chilperic I

In his History of the Franks, (written ca. 593/4) 5.18, Gregory (Bishop) of Tours provides a lengthy description and discussion of the trial of Praetextatus, Bishop of Rouen, by King Chilperic who was accusing Praetextatus of colluding with Chilperic’s enemies and selling/giving away some of the king’s goods for his own profit. Eventually, despite Gregory testifying in the trial as to Praetextatus’ innocence, and the worthiness of Praetextatus’ testimony, some of Chilperic’s cronies trick Praetextatus into making a confession that he had colluded with Chilperic’s son Merovech to have Chilperic murdered. Praetextatus’ hope was that he would receive mercy and clemency from the king.

King Chilperic, unfortunately, was operating to please his wife Fredegund. And if a Frankish king or lord is ever doing something nasty because of his wife or mistress in Gregory’s History, he will see…

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Han Shot First – And Why It Matters

We watched Star Wars last night, and I thought this was worth re-posting. Sadly, in the version we saw, Han shot second…

The Wordhoard

Now, it may not matter in terms of great global or cosmic realities whether Greedo or Han shot first in the Mos Eisley cantina in Star Wars. However, in terms of story and what Star Wars is all about — or was all about, before GL took over complete creative control (perhaps he isn’t a genius after all) — it matters. And not just to me — Googling “han shot first” gets you over 199,000 hits.

When Star Wars was released in 1977, no one knew it would become an iconic, mythical, legendary hit and mainstay of popular culture like few other things. So when we meet Han Solo, he is a scoundrel capable of becoming a better man, but not yet — because Star Wars isn’t a mythic thing that buys into its own hype yet, right?

Anyway, when we meet Han Solo, we meet a criminal who…

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C. S. Lewis Rules

As I frantically write the last sections of my thesis, some wisdom from C S Lewis for all who write.

A Pastor's Thoughts

C. S. Lewis was not only a great writer of books but a caring man who answered his mail and never missed an opportunity to encourage young writers. In 1959 an American schoolgirl wrote to C. S. Lewis asking him for advice on the craft of writing. He sent her a list of eight rules.

1. Turn off the radio.

2. Read good books and avoid most magazines.

3. Write with the ear, not the eye. Make every sentence sound good.CS Lewis Writing

4. Write only about things that interest you. If you have no interests, you won’t ever be a writer.

5. Be clear. Remember that readers can’t know your mind. Don’t forget to tell them exactly what they need to know to understand you.

6. Save odds and ends of writing attempts, because you may be able to use them later.

7. You need a well-trained sense of word-rhythm, and…

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Praise be to Juniper! Also: What sorts of things do you want read here?


This Playmobil Gaul’s moustache is not unlike his.

You may have noticed some silence from this blog of late. Well, my magnificently-moustachioed brother-in-law has saved this blog from ruination, and it now appears to operating properly! So expect more stuff.

So now I ask you, dear reader — what stuff do you want? I assure you, there will be stuff about Paris. But, otherwise, what do you want to see more of:

Science Fiction and Fantasy

-Late Antiquity

The Middle Ages


A mountain of shoes

I just shined my dress shoes in preparation for living in Germany for three months. The shoe-shine kit was found in our wardrobe. It took me a moment to find it because it was the heart of a mountain.

A mountain of shoes.

I did not count the myriad of shoes. They were legion, though. I can assure you. I have no doubt that my wife can account for a purpose for most of these shoes. The boots for work, the sandals for the showers at the pool, the sandals for summer (seldom worn since 2010), these shoes for office jobs, these shoes for that sort of outfit. And so on and so forth.

I own waterproof hiking boots, amazing winter boots that Aragorn would have worn, dress shoes, running shoes, Birkenstocks, and slippers.

But my work and my outfits are far less complicated.

Nonetheless, these little moments are insights into one another. What would be lurking at the bottom of the wardrobe were I a bachelor? Stuff I’d forgotten about. Shoes long dead and forgotten. Action figures that were cluttering things up because I’d acquired other, cooler toys to take their places. Maybe magazines. Or books.

Shoes are at least practical. And I’ve at least seen my wife in each pair of shoes on more than one occasion.

Off to do some dishes.


After a few months of being down and then unable to post, this blog is back! Be ready for more posts inspired by classical literature, sci-fi tv shows, and the bad grammar/punctuation of Internetland!


I have applied for:

-Myriads of writing/editing/proofreading jobs on Craigslist and Monster, including “Label Editor”

-Baggage Handler


-CER at almost every Chapters/Indigo in the city

-Tutoring positions

-High School Latin teacher


-Church Secretary

-Court Stenographer

-Historical Interpreter

-Comic Shop guy

-Other bookstores

-Knight at Medieval Times

-Pretty much anything I could see

I think I’ve applied to between 80 and 100 jobs.  People say that three months isn’t very long in the current economy.  Well, it seems more than long enough to me.  Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting away, applying for a couple of jobs most days, reading books, writing, going stir-crazy.

Hire me!  Now!  I’m a good worker!!!

Sumer Wins Again!

Contrary to the beliefs of the makers of “2012”, the Mayans do not have the oldest civilisation on earth! Their civilisation is, at most, 5123 years old, although most people figure that it is closer to 3809 years old, thus making it comparable to all sorts of Near Eastern civlisations, and younger than many, the Pre-Classical Mayans being around the same time as the Minoans and early Mycenaeans in Greece.

And Sumer? The actual oldest civilisation on earth is c. 7000 years old. Yeah. That’s right. Boo-ya for Gilgamesh!