We talk to Prof. Richard Thomas about his new book about Bob Dylan and the Classics, discussing Latin poetry, intertextuality in music and literature, Dylan's similarities to Catullus and use of Virgil and Ovid, and the unexpected connections between Classical scholarship and research into folk music archives.
We talk to podcaster and author Mike Duncan about his book, podcasting, Roman history, and more. Thanks to Mike for joining us -- and everyone, go get his book, it's great!
Our Hallowe'en themed episode this year is about costumes -- and etymologies and origin stories of a whole bunch of iconic items of clothing. We talk about the semiotics of fashion, the many varieties of the toga, and hats that caused fainting fits, and finish off with a couple of spooky Roman stories! Also, check out this year's Hallowe'en video, on words for Ghost.
"Jack o'Lantern" video
Ep 22: Jack o'Lantern podcast
What words did the Greeks, Romans, and Anglo-Saxons use to talk about different groups of people? What differences did they think were important? How do those compare to modern conceptions of ethnicity, national identity, or race? We try to give some basic background on this complicated question, starting with the etymology of the vocabulary and addressing some of the ways differences were conceptualized.
Video on the Anglo-Saxon Invasion, collaboration with Jabzy
“Black Odysseus, White Caesar: When Did "White People" Become "White"?” James H. Dee. The Classical Journal. Vol. 99, No. 2 (Dec., 2003 - Jan., 2004), pp. 157-167
“Did ancient identity depend on ethnicity? A preliminary probe” Erich Gruen. Phoenix. Vol. 67, No. 1/2 (2013), pp. 1-22.
Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature. Stephen Harris, Taylor & Francis, 2003.
Time to talk about the greatest hero of them all! Why are there so many movies about Hercules? Why do they all have lions and snakes in them, but no journeys to the underworld, and only a sprinkling of family murder? Who's the most Herculean Hercules, and how did Mr. Universe do in the role? And, most importantly, how much virtue is in every part of the mighty Hercules???
Hercules, 1957, Steve Reeves
Hercules in New York, 1969, Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Adventures of Hercules, 1985, Lou Ferrigno
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, 1995-1999, Kevin Sorbo
Hercules, 1997, Disney, Animated
Hercules, 2005, Paul Telfer
Hercules, 2014, Dwayne Johnson
The Legend of Hercules, 2014, Kellan Lutz
Wyke, Maria. “Herculean Muscle!: The Classicizing Rhetoric of Bodybuilding.” Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, vol. 4, no. 3, 1997, pp. 51–79. JSTOR
We discuss the murky origins of the word 'Bug', some Latin & Greek words for insects, ancient notions of authorship, medieval guild secrets, and the history of patents. Also, sacred geese, burglar alarms, and a Latin mock-epic about a heroic gnat!
Song Exploder podcast Jóhann Jóhannsson
We're declaring this the first episode of Season 3 of the podcast! In this episode, long after everyone else has talked about it, we review the movie Arrival and discuss the linguistic and philosophical issues that it raises, including of course the infamous Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Oh, and check out our attempt at creating a theme cocktail!
We're back at the cottage, and this time we're talking to Ian and Susan McMaster about language, computer programming, poetry, music, theatre, and more, as we chat about the serendipitous connections that led to careers, performances, and relationships. Along the way we play a few tracks of Susan McMaster's poetry, more of which (both texts and recordings) can be found at her website. Susan's recent publications include Crossing Arcs: Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me and Lizard Love: Artists Scan Poems.
The three works included in the podcast are "Shadowless" from Pass This Way Again (Underwhich Editions), the beginning of "The Pleasure of Lusting" from Geode Music & Poetry, and "Science Song #1" from Dark Galaxies.
Susan McMaster's website (with links to poems & list of publications)
We talk about the early history of paleontology and geology, the first fossil hunters, the Bone Wars, and the possible ties between fossils and Greek myth. Also, a bonus poem about a mammoth cheese!
“Ancient Fossil Discoveries and Interpretations”, Adrienne Mayor, The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life, Edited by Gordon Lindsay Campbell
Mayor, A. (2011), The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (2nd revised edition of The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times (2000)), Princeton, Princeton University Press.
See the end of this blog post for the "Ode to a Mammoth Cheese" poem.
We saw Wonder Woman -- and have lots to say about the history of the comic, Amazons, Greek myth, ancient Greek dolls, and more.
"The Real Amazons" by Joshua Rothman (New Yorker)
We talk to Laura Carlson from The Feast Podcast about recreating historical recipes, the many meanings of food, and what exactly defines a 'recipe'. This is part of The Recipe Project's Virtual Conversation: What is a Recipe? which started on June 2nd, 2017 and is continuing until July 5th, and you can join in the conversation by leaving a comment here or by checking out the hashtag #recipesconf on Twitter and Instagram.
We discuss how the recent Guy Ritchie movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword fits into the history of adaptations of the Arthur legend. What kind of Arthur does it present, how does it interact with the Arthurian tradition, and what themes does it explore? And who has the biggest...er...elephants?
We're getting saucy with a discussion about the etymology and history of condiments -- from Roman garum to Worcestershire sauce, through Escoffier and seasonings, to the global implications of ketchup.
Sources for this episode:
Jurafsky, Dan. The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu
Bober, Phyllis Pray. Art, Culture, & Cuisine: Ancient & Medieval Gastronomy. U of Chicago P, 1999.
Curtis, Robert I. “In Defense of Garum”. The Classical Journal, Vol. 78, No. 3 (Feb. - Mar., 1983), pp. 232-240.
Corcoran, Thomas H. “Roman Fish Sauces”. The Classical Journal, Vol. 58, No. 5 (Feb., 1963), pp. 204-210.
We discuss the origins of the Gimlet cocktail, the stories about its name, and its connection to the treatment of scurvy; then we talk about some of the other diseases tied to the early era of European expansion and colonialism, including the classical history of malaria in Greece and Rome. Also featuring conversation about gin, the pronunciation of quinine, and a cameo appearance by Alexander the Great!
Gin, Glorious Gin: How Mother's Ruin Became the Spirit of London by Olivia Williams
Malaria and Rome: A History of Malaria in Ancient Italy, Robert Sallares, OUP 2002.
"A Note on Alexander's Death", Donald Engels, Classical Philology, Vol. 73, No. 3 (Jul., 1978), pp. 224-228. JSTOR
We finish up our colour series (for now!) with a discussion of Purple, Pink, & Brown. From Phoenician shellfish, Virgil's Aeneas,& Propertius's Cynthia, to flowers, beavers, & bears, this episode covers a lot of ground. Let us know what fun colour facts we've missed, and what colourful topics you might like us to cover in the future!
Note: one area of discussion we rather left out is the place of purple in Byzantium/the Eastern Empire... maybe we’ll pick that up in the next episode briefly!
We've joined forces with the MythTake podcast for a pair of episodes about the myth of Theseus, the Minotaur, and Ariadne. In our episode we talk about the story of Theseus & Ariadne, and the development of the word 'Clue' from Chaucer's version of the tale, as well as Catullus and Ovid's depictions of Ariadne's abandonment, and the connections to fingerprints, detective fiction, and Agatha Christie's life. Meanwhile, Alison & Darrin in their episode talk about two poems by Bacchylides, and the Greek sources for the life of Theseus and his heroic exploits, as well as a few more English words derived from his adventures.
It's #CreateICG Week! A bunch of internet creators are putting out videos, podcasts, blogs, & more, all on the theme of CREATE – with all sorts of different approaches and interpretations. The event is centred around the Internet Creators Guild, a non-profit organization with a mission to support, represent, and connect creators whose primary platform is online. If you’d like to find out more about them, you can go to internetcreatorsguild.com – and to find more amazing creations by ICG members, search #CreateICG on your social media of choice, check our show notes for links, or go to createicg.wordpress.com for lists of creators and their works.
In this episode we talk about the etymology of CREATE, the origin of breakfast, how mealtimes moved around the day, the history of theatrical and artificial lighting, and Greek and Norse creation myths -- including the story of the body-fluid-filled mead of inspiration!
Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology
We have the immense pleasure of interviewing Baba Brinkman, a Canadian rap artist & award-winning playwright best known for his “Rap Guide” series of plays and albums, with which he has toured the world; these cover topics like evolution, religion, medicine, and most recently climate change. He’s also pioneered the genre of ‘lit-hop’ with his adaptations of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Gilgamesh, Beowulf & more. Our conversation ranges through tree-planting; the connections between Homer, Chaucer, & rap; Horace, Lucretius, & Erasmus Darwin as science communicators; the comedy of neuroscience; Trump; language & dictionaries; and more.
At the end of the interview we play a couple of tracks by Baba: his newest single "Erosion", and the first two tracks from his Rap Canterbury Tales album, "General Prologue" & "The Knight's Tale (scene 1)".
How do words change their meanings? What are the mechanisms behind semantic change? And how do technological advances -- like the development of e-books -- affect language? We discuss these topics and more with Ray Belli, host of the Words for Granted podcast.
We trace the history of 'coach' back to its Hungarian roots, and explore its connections to the development of higher education in Europe. Then we run through a capsule history of the goals (stated and unstated!) of education from classical Athens to today, and discuss how the new world of online learning, including YouTube and podcasts, fits into the ideals and best practices of the future of education. Please let us know about all the things we over-simplified, left out, or got wrong in the process of covering almost 3000 years of western European schooling, and weigh in on where you see things heading now!
CGP Grey's video “Digital Aristotle”
Veritasium's video “This Will Revolutionize Education”