things my impossibly young looking Roman history lecturer has said
‘listen to your seminar tutors over the booklet, but only for seminars – in lectures i am king. unless you have me as a seminar tutor as well, in which case i am your king and god.’
‘has anybody played Rome: Total War? no?’
‘Cataline tried to burn the city and everyone he hated but he failed because, in short, nobody liked him.’
‘the mediterranean diet didn’t include tomatoes in the ancient world. i know. oh my god. i know.’
‘so of course when Hannibal turns up, the senate goes ‘sod it, lets kick his arse’.’
‘one man’s optimates is another man’s silver-spoon bearing prick.’
‘we don’t have much information about the 70s BC, largely because Plutarch doesn’t care.’
‘i’m not saying Rome: Total War is entirely accurate, but its battle campaigns are surprisingly historically informed.’
[hand drawing a map in chalk because the projector is broken] ‘i’ll give it a go, this is why i hate technology, and oh. well. that’s not italy.’
‘every army needs bakers and prostitutes, this is just a fact of life.’
‘Sulla. He’s a bit of a badass, but also a bit of a prick.’
‘yes, that is a slide from Spartacus. The film, not the series, which is more accurate and less like soft porn.’
‘the Romans liked Campania because its very fertile. they didn’t know this was because of its proximity to a volcano – poor buggers found THAT out later.’
‘Crassus gets given command of Syria and high fives everyone in the senate.’
‘Catullus was very pithy, very hellenistic in style. unlike the Iliad, which is 24 books of tedium.’
‘An Afternoon at Carrhae: the Romans being shot at repeatedly by Parthian cavalry because if there’s one thing the Romans aren’t good at, it’s having a cavalry.’
‘It’s good to have fast legs in war. Caesar moves very fast, not unlike Napoleon. The Usain Bolt of ancient warfare. I’m not sure why I said that, it’s an atrocious analogy.’
‘Athens is the Edinburgh of the ancient world; it has nothing to offer but education and pretty buildings.’
‘Shout out to those of you who spent your teenage years playing Rome: Total War.Which is what I did.’
‘The senate go into a panic and they decide to flee Rome at dawn, but some idiot forgets the treasury. I know. Ridiculous.’
‘Again: don’t use elephants during warfare. They’re not as cool as they look. And given they’re now endangered, it’d just be mean.’
‘I had to use this meme, I’m sorry. You’re all aware of the one does not simply walk into mordor meme right? I’m sorry, we’ll move on.’
‘I put this photo in for dramatic effect but I realise that it’s just a field. I don’t know why people bother going to see battle sites, they’re all really boring. I saw bones once, they were quite interesting. But most battle sites: boring.’
‘Caesar doesn’t tell Rome anything while he’s away in Egypt for a year, so they have no idea Pompey’s dead. All they know is that Antony is being a pain in the ass, which is, in all honesty, not unusual for Antony.’
‘Caesar is very good at one liners. You always draft a pithy one liner before a battle so you have something to say when you win. You don’t want to win and then just be like ‘whoo, thank god for that.’’
This, incidentally, is the methodology I used when I tutored people in history. And D students would end up getting A’s on the subject materials I helped them with. I suspect this is why Shakespeare was considered a fantastic writer too. People pay attention when you’re willing to put something on their level instead of being so caught up in sounding fancy and academia. (Yes, Shakespeare, for his day, was considered quite accessible to the regular people to come to the theater as opposed to only being a high-class affair.) People identify with something when you identify with them. And everyone should identify with history because it’s all human beings who screwed up, some who did some really heroic awesome stuff, and some who got handed a bad hand and turned it around. Sure, it happened in different places and people had ‘strange’ names and fancy titles, but in the end, we see those same people doing the same sort of things today. We spread posts about them, get discouraged at our society’s apparent lack of caring, and wonder how we’ll ever make a difference. Whether we’ll leave our mark. The answer is, we will.
It’s just not history yet.
It will be.
So don’t give up on history. You’re a part of it.
“I sense Count Dooku!”
“I sense a trap.”
“Spring the trap!”
OH MY GOSH GUYS I JUST READ THIS AND WHY ISN’T EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT IT
Imagine, if you will:
A boarding school for children who went to magical worlds like Narnia and Wonderland…and came back and now have to adjust to being stuck in the Real World again. Ever wonder what Alice, Dorothy, and the Pevensie kids went through afterwards? It was probably something like this.
The main character, Nancy, is openly asexual. RED ALERT RED ALERT AN ACTUAL FANTASY BOOK BY AN ACCLAIMED AUTHOR WITH A CANONICAL ASEXUAL HEROINE WHOSE ASEXUALITY IS OPENLY DISCUSSED BUT IS NOT CENTRAL TO HER PLOTLINE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
The deuteragonist is a trans boy*. His name is Kade; he’s really cool. (He’s a former Goblin Prince-in-Waiting, I want his story so much, come on Seanan McGuire give us a prequel about him).
There’s also a creepy murder mystery because why the heck not.
Basically, it’s everything I ever wanted in a book. And did I mention actual asexual representation…I swear, if I’d had this book as a teenager, my life would have been so different.
And the author is demi/bisexual.
(The kindle book is like $2.99 over at Amazon right now, if you want to go check it out.)
*(Trigger warning for some transphobist comments made by one character that are refuted by literally everyone else)
“I’m in love.” Courfeyrac rolled onto his back and draped his free arm over his eyes. “With the super hot, super brilliant, guy next door and I’m. Not. Allowed. To. Date. Him.”
Courfeyrac loses a bet, which means he’s not allowed to ask anyone out on a date for a month. And then he meets Combeferre.
the truth remains..
♝ – Reading something together.
Fournier, venerable librarian, was on her last nerve. All through last week
someone has been playing some sort of prank on her and – while it wasn’t all
that funny to begin with – it was getting very old very quickly.
even anything outright harmful or offensive – just a misplaced book. A
constantly, wilfully misplaced book. That somehow got misplaced during the
night when the library was locked and the alarm was up.
was the mind bogging part, wasn’t it? That some hooligan would go through the
pain of unlocking the doors, switching off the alarm, find the book (always the
same, a copy of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables), place it on one of the reading
tables, neatly switch the alarm back on and lock up the building. A devious
devious mind with way too much free time.
Mme Fournier’s first idea was to blame scatter-brained colleagues who forgot to
fully tidy up, but after a couple of days when she locked up herself, and made
sure that she was the last to leave she was forced to discard this theory.
her only with the former, pointlessly absurd alternative.
the other wanted war, then there shall be war!
how one fine June evening found the valiant librarian hiding among the shelves
armed with an electric torch and one of the metal bars she used to prop the
windows with. She found a nice place where she had a clear view of the table
the mysterious offender always left the book – but, come night, she would be
hard to spot herself.
with her plan and equipment she settled in for the wait. And wait she did, for
hours and hours. Maybe the fact that she didn’t turn the alarm on tonight
warned the prankster off? Entirely possible. But now she was here she wasn’t
about to budge. She looked down on her watch, straining her eyes to make out
the time. She didn’t succeed so she looked up again, frustrated…
men were sitting at the table, huddled close together, reading a book. No,
actually reading the book, the same
worn copy of Les Misérables that kept being misplaced.
contemplated jumping out on them right then, but quickly decided against it.
Let’s assess the situation first, let’s not be hasty!
prominent thing about her culprits was their odd clothing. It looked like they
got lost on their way to a dress-up party, their attire fit more with the book
they were reading than with the modern world. Coat, vest, cravat – they had
everything a real XIX th century gentleman would need.
On a second
thought though, maybe only one of them was a man? Well, sure they were both
dressed like men, but the one – he, if it was indeed a he, looked more like a
woman, with his smooth face, soft, fine features and long blond hair.
Maybe he was just very young.
companion was of a heavier build and had a rougher appearance. Well, ‘rough’ was
putting it nicely. The pretty blond didn’t seem to mind in the least though. He
allowed the other to rest his chin on his shoulder as they progressed with
their reading. They made no sound whatsoever, except for the quiet rustling of
the turning pages.
Fournier, remembering her quest, drew a deep breath, meaning to march over and
tell them off, when the blond boy made a sudden movement with his head,
accidentally throwing off his friend. Full lips contorting into a contemptuous little
pout he tapped his finger irritably on the page – presumably indicating an
offending passage. His companion leant over to look at it – then sat back, his
whole body shaking with soundless laughter. The blond one rolled his eyes and
shook his head, obviously thinking his friend impossible.
man finally settled down and, taking the other’s hand with infinite care and
gentleness, brushed a small, apologetic kiss over his knuckles. This seemed to have done the trick: while the
pretty blond didn’t outright smile his expression softened as he gazed at his
companion (lover? partner?) fondly.
this tender display was, Mme Fournier supposed it shouldn’t be happening in a
locked up library, at arse-o-clock in the night and so she decided to finally
step up and put an end to it.
up, straightened her clothing and stepped forward…
men were gone.
no sound and no movement save for the wavering of the book’s pages in the slight