Reviewing the glass from the Eretz-Israel museum

On Thursday I went to the Eretz-Israel museum in Tel Aviv, and because I am a huge glass nerd (and, y’know, I’m doing tourist things as well but I am technically in this country to study ancient glass) I spent basically the entire time in their glass gallery ogling pretty Phoenician core-formed alabastra and Roman mould-blown bottles. So my reduced posting schedule this month doesn’t sting too much, here’s my definitive expert review of all the things there that most stuck out to me:

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Sandro asks:

Hello. I am working on a story right now and I need to study a historical background for it. Could you recommend me good books (in English, preferably, and yes, I am willing to actually buy them, and yes, I am willing to spend a lot of my free time studying this.) about Rome and the life of common citizen of the city of Rome? The time frame is around the year AD 20. I need information about culture and customs. What were the ways common families worshipped gods? What were the naming conventions? How strict were Romans in following traditions? Was it common for “middle class” Roman family to have a slave? There is a lot I need to know before I can write my story. I obviously started with reading Wikipedia, but while I consider that useful, I still do think that I should get a more detailed and more trustworthy source of information. Thanks for help.

Let me see… for a basic introduction you could do worse than The Romans: An Introduction by Antony Kamm and Abigail Graham, which is the textbook we use for our introductory Roman Civilisation class in my department. Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Lionel Casson is a similar level; I haven’t read it myself, but it’s quite well thought of, and possibly better tailored to your particular needs. Themes in Roman Society and Culture by Matt Gibbs, Milorad Nikolic and Pauline Ripat is a bit pricey but covers similar sorts of things in more detail. Continue reading “Sandro asks:”

Anonymous asks:

In the course of research for a story I’m writing, I found that the Roman god Janus is a perfect allusion for my main character. Could you perhaps spare a little of your time to tell us a bit about Janus? What his place and role in the Roman pantheon was, what things made him happy/sad/angry, general personality traits he favoured, that sort of thing. Thanks in advance, Doctor-to-be!

Janus is the god of doorways, keys, beginnings and endings, change, and the New Year.  He is always depicted with two faces, on the front and back of his head, so he can look through a door in both directions at once, and images of his faces could be set above either side of a doorway to invoke his protection.  The month of January, the beginning of the year, is named after him, and his name is related to the Latin word for door, ianua.  It’s not clear where he comes from, or whether he represents a standard Indo-European mythological archetype, but he seems to have been a very ancient Italian god whose role in the pantheon may once have been extremely important, though most of his functions are vestigial by the time of the late Republic.  Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Can you PLEASE talk about why Pokemon aren’t slaves? I’m tired of that being thrown at Pokemon as an insult.

You probably want to start here – my “Ethics of Pokémon Training” is by a fair margin the most popular thing I’ve ever written.  I essentially try to argue here that the act of catching a Pokémon represents a sort of ritualised contract that is made between a Pokémon and a trainer, and that this contract can be broken by either party.  You can also read this, where I compare Pokémon to professional gladiators and Greek teachers and doctors under the Roman Empire, who were technically slaves but in some cases got a pretty good deal out of it.  See also here, here and here.

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