Who killed the Legio IX Hispana?

See what I did there? Yes this is indeed a little post about the recent Doctor Who episode 'The Eaters of Light' (S36e10). It's not a review, I'll leave that to others.1 Nor is this supposed to be a crotchety list of complaints about the things they didn't get historically accurate, though it might be superficially similar. Instead, I just want to pick out a couple of things that I think interesting and representative of how the ancient Roman world is used in contemporary texts.2

A figure on a Samian ware sherd

This is a photo that I took of a sherd in the handling collection of the SHARE with Schools outreach project, Cardiff University, for which I was an Outreach Coordinator. It is a fragment of Samian ware (the most typical type of Roman pottery), found in South Wales. Sometimes putting the images into black and white helps to make them out, but now I wish I took a rubbing too or even made a 3D model through the magic that it is photogrammetry. Maybe I'll go back and do that sometime. 
I think it shows Hercules, as it looks like the muscled, male figure is holding a club to me.  Or an athlete maybe?But I'm not very good at this sort of interpretation. Any suggestions? What do you think?

A moan about STEM communicators talking classics

How to get your stuff back when the Romans stole it.

Some late night Latin translation. Festus wrote an abridgement of a lexicon by Verrius to which he added his own adaptations and supplements, but it barely survived into the modern world. Seriously: only one manuscript copy made it, and that was missing pages and damaged by pests, aging, and fire! Also surviving is an abridgment by Paul the Deacon. That's right, an abridgement of an abridgement, which was pretty common, concern for the busy pace of life not being merely a modern phenomenon.

Here's what Festus had to say about the reciperatores in ancient Rome, an institution dating back to at least 171 BCE. Latin from Lindsay's 1913 edition, trans. (along with any errors) my own. Some nice, if rather outdated, commentary on the biography and manuscript tradition of Festus is available online.

N.b. the reciperatores were members of a board at Rome appointed to oversee the legal process of claims for recovery. The word literary means 'recoverers', but that sounds fun…

What happened when you surrendered to Rome, two Spanish inscriptions

Here are two interesting inscriptions, both found in Spain, that relate to the practice of surrender in the mid-Roman Republic. Although I took some guidance from Spanish translations, the translations below are my own from the Latin, as are any errors. Bibliography can be found by following the links to each inscription source.

Inscription I The first is the only surviving inscription that explicitly records a deditio in fidem populi romani ('surrender to the trust/authority of the people of Rome'). This was an unconditional surrender, that put the community completely within the power of the Roman commander, who they hoped would reconstitute themselves and their civic identity, as well as their possessions etc. This records a successful deditio that was accepted, and was set up as a local commemoration to the event. The consulships recorded at the start allow us to date the inscription to 104 BCE; the people who surrendered to Caesius are otherwise unknown and their name has…

How to cite primary and secondary sources in Microsoft Word (Ancient History / Classics / Biblical studies etc.)

Introduction It's 2017, so all of us engaged in academic research should all be using a reference manager. Seriously, if you're not, go look into Endnote (which is probably available on your campus PCs), Mendeley or Zotero. They do take a bit of management, and the garbage in, garbage out principle abides, but they are indispensable. Add a reference from the web to your database: one click. Make a reference: couple of clicks. Find out the journal wants all your inline citations as footnotes: two clicks. Create your bibliography: one click.

But if you are interested in any pre-modern texts you are going to run into a problem. Although you'll want to reference your secondary sources as normal, your primary sources require very different and specific referencing styles, some of which have been developed over the centuries. These are typically in the fashion of author>work>book>passage because the citation needs to work regardless of which language, translation, edit…

A book review of: Riess, Fagan (eds.). Topography of Violence in the Greco-Roman World

The worthy people at Classics for All have been kind enough to publish my another book review from me (also free book yay!). I say worthy, because as well as offering free, open access book reviews aimed at both specialists and general readers, they do an awful lot to promote and fund Classics and Ancient History education in UK state schools.

Find the review on the Classics for All reading room.

Or, I've pasted it below for posterity. But seriously go to the CfA site to read it, you'll find many more reviews from excellent and respected experts in their field than me.