Originally posted on Classics for All Reviews:

By Jerry Toner

Profile (2015) p/b 152pp £8.99 (ISBN 9781781254202)

OUP has been publishing ‘Very Short Introductions to…’ for over twenty years, and Profile is now trying its luck in the same field with its ‘Ideas in Profile’ series, subtitled ‘Small Introductions to Big Topics’, of which the book under review is the fourth.

Compared with OUP’s productions, this new series is slightly larger in format, but in the same hard-ish paper-back and with the same fold-out front and back covers; the paper is not quite as good, with the result that some of the b/w pictures are of poor quality. There are two maps, one of the Hellenistic World, one of the Roman Empire (none of Greece/Athens), reading lists for each chapter, and an index.

If the series sets out to be unconventional, it certainly succeeds in this case. There is, for example, no introductory trot through the…

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Repititiationes ~ 09/16/15

Mindy Kaling on the Aeneid

In case you missed her comments in the New York Times on studying at Dartmouth:

I loved translating the “Aeneid” from Latin. Poor Aeneas and his pietas. That guy could not catch a break. I also love stories within stories, and the “Aeneid” is full of that.

… see also: Mindy Kaling on Latin and Mindy Kaling Does Latin! … folks seem to be interested in her Classics background every couple of years.

Repititiationes ~ 09/15/15

Yesterday in the Classical twittersphere:

Patterns in Pompeii Wall Collapses Redux

As I slowly emerge from my blogging hibernation, I can’t help but be struck (again) by the latest Pompeii news working through the Italian press about the collapse of a small wall associated with the Caupona of Demetrius and Helpis Afra. While I can’t find a photo of the extent of the damage, most of the reports, it appears, include something to the effect:

La piccola cinta in muratura di circa 2 metri di lunghezza e non  decorato da affreschi, era stato restaurato nel Dopoguerra. Gli esperti ripararono i danni arrecati alla struttura dai bombardamenti del 1943.

i.e. the collapse is in a structure that was restored after the allied bombardment in WWII. Years ago — five, in fact — I noted that most of the wall collapses at Pompeii seem to be in areas that were restored in the wake of said bombing and that it might be a good idea to ‘check the mortar’ or something. Am I the only one who sees the pattern?

See also:

Repititationes ~ 09/14/15

Yesterday in the Classical twittersphere:

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xviii kalendas octobres

ante diem xviii kalendas octobres

  • ludi Romani (day 10 )
  • equorum probatio — the official cavalry parade of the equites (in conjunction with the above)
  • 23 A.D. — death of Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Younger), son of theemperor Tiberius and Vipsania Agrippina
  • 81 A.D. — official dies imperii of Domitian (recognition by the senate)
  • 208 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Diadumenianus?
  • 258 A.D. — martyrdom of Cyprian

BMCR ~ Smith: Man and Animal in Severan Rome

Steven D. Smith, Man and Animal in Severan Rome: The Literary Imagination of Claudius Aelianus. Greek culture in the Roman world.   Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2014.  Pp. xii, 308.  ISBN 9781107033986.  $99.00.

Reviewed by C. W. Marshall, University of British Columbia

Preview (

Man and Animal in Severan Rome is an exciting and imaginative study detailing the literary virtues of Claudius Aelianus—Aelian— with a particular emphasis on De natura animalium (NA). Smith’s Aelian emerges, perhaps surprisingly, as both a sophisticated literary stylist and a politically savvy observer of the Severan court. His polished anecdotes (Smith regularly calls them “fragments”, which is misleading), strung together with deliberate haphazardness, are shown to reveal an author maintaining his position just outside the periphery of the imperial circle: “Aelian’s moralizing should be understood not as an instrument of power, but as an expression of disavowal and longing for a transformation of the world” (273). […]

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