Hodie est a.d.  XVII Kal. Sextilies (Augustas) 2772 AUC ~  15 Hekatombaion in the third year of the 699th Olympiad

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The term “Western civilization” has long been a staple of the American Right, but with the recent resurgence of white nationalism, it is having something of a comeback. Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly are hosting a two-week Mediterranean “cruise thru history” to “explore the roots of Western civilization.” The Intellectual Dark Web’s Jordan Peterson tells us “The West is Right,” while The Daily Caller and Fox News are busy “celebrating the West.” Neo-Nazi Matthew Heimbach hails “Youth for Western Civilization.” Both the traditional and so-called alt-right ground their worldviews in a fictional moral arc of “The West” that bares little resemblance to reality.

Learning from the past and applying those lessons to the present is a good thing. But in pop political discourse, the Classics have been misused and abused to promote an origin story that never was – a white Greco-Roman world birthing our noble, so-called “Judeo-Christian” American empire to gloss over a history of exploitation, imperialism, slavery and conquest.

On this episode, we’ll explore the right-wing obsession with the ancient world, it’s influence on neoconservative empire-building and alt-right white nationalism alike, and how our common cultural understanding of the ancient world has been perpetually white-washed to promote a clash of civilizations narrative and racist pseudo-science.

We are joined by Dr. Sarah E. Bond, Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, and Dr. Cord Whitaker, Associate Professor at Wellesley College.

Today Jean is joined by ancient history enthusiast and my favourite murder fangirl Harriet Scott (from season one episode one and eight). Harriet brings the true crime genre to antiquity through discussing the various theories and unsolved questions surrounding the death of Cleopatra VIII – lover of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, ruler of Egypt, and fierce, intelligent woman. Was it suicide or was it murder?

Dramatic Receptions

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Alia

‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If there is any thunder today, [something about a king in the east falling in war?] and the hot weather will bring disease.

… adapted from the translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)

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