Category Archives: Publication


Anyone done any work on Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown project?

It seems that there was some commentary in Syllecta Classica (which is on my To Be Read pile) but I know very little about Reception in music so I’m looking for some broad thoughts…

It is a ‘modern folk opera’ based on the Orpheus myth and I heard about it on the Radio; partly because, although it was started a while ago, she is planning a stage show which might eventually come to the UK.

I am hoping to actually sit down and listen soon but I would welcome thoughts from any classicists who’ve heard it or can offer some background on the various Orpheus poems/operas etc already out there.


So.. the development officer at Mills Archive is keen to expand their internet presence by making their blog more active and keeping their social media accounts active.
As such she has asked me to write a few pieces and ideally to do so regularly.

Two thoughts occur to me: 1st – What on earth should I write about & 2nd – will this get me back into the habit of researching and writing regularly albeit in short bursts.

1: Broadly speaking I mostly input the details of books onto a pre-written form and then put the books onto shelves. I enjoy it but there is a limit to how exciting you can make it sound. Similarly, although I have been working on creating a classification system I don’t have any idea whether anyone else is interested in why I think some books should be considered similar to others – though I think at some point I will try and explain it…
This means that I need to come up with something else about the library that interests me and deserves a mention and that means looking at it from the perspective of ‘collections’. Two types of collection seem to be key – books donated by particular Mill experts (especially those that are legacies connected to archival collections) and books focused around particular specialist topics – so my next step is to pick 2 or 3 of these to write about and then do a little research around the topic.

2: For various reasons I have not been able to concentrate on writing for a while and I think my brain is turning to mush. Producing short (c.500-800 word) summaries on some things I know very little about has got to be good for my self-discipline right?
The plan is to combine writing 1 blog post a fortnight with reading 3 academic (peer-reviewed and within my research fields) journal articles and writing notes on them in the same time-period. Hopefully, this will get me back to thinking in a more academic mode and therefore able to write some of my research ideas down in something that looks more like a coherent paper itself…

Tweeting CA14

It is really hard to deal with Jealousy.

I am fairly busy in my personal life; working as usual, trying to help organise a beer festival, looking for work, volunteering & generally attempting to keep my shit together.
I did not, however, go to the Classical Association conference this year. I knew I wouldn’t/couldn’t afford to last August when I didn’t send in an abstract but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the twang of regret.

Every day that passes I feel my academic life and credentials slip further away. In part it is because I haven’t been keeping up with my writing (soon I promise), but in part it is because I haven’t kept up with changes…

But…. Thank the daemons of the internet for Twitter. Without it I could not have followed panels of research at the biggest UK conference of its kind and found new things to investigate.  Without it I would be totally cut off waiting for the open access journals to show up on Google and research to be made available through JSTOR from several years ago. Twitter gave me instant access to ideas and to people.
I know that (for many good reasons) people are nervous about the implications for their research, reputation and finances with regard to the broadcasting of their ideas online and I also know that the potential for misrepresentation in such a limited medium is very high but I can’t help feeling that the opportunities far outweigh the risks.

So, yes, I am still horrendously jealous that I couldn’t go and absorb information and ideas first hand. I feel lost without that spark and push of novelty but I am grateful that even when the money is far too tight and even if the social anxiety is far too crippling I don’t have to rot away because there are so many people generous enough to publish their interpretations in a way that reaches into my home and lets me think!

And its that life thing again..

So yeah..
I’ve been keeping you hanging on again, but um… tough. Sorry to fail miserably but I’ve been working hard at the job that buys the food and I’ve been suffering with a lot of pain and the ongoing fight with my depression.

Still its a new year and I have plans.

  • Blog – 3 more SFF posts (1 on the final panel, 1 on some theoretical issues incl. Nick Lowe’s plenary & 1 on the panel I was in and my thoughts & plans…). Furthermore I will write at least once a fortnight.
  • Job… I have applied for a couple of things this year so far and I am determined that I will end the year doing something different to now
  • Publishing – 2 articles that I started last year will be submitted! Partly I need to get over the perfectionism that keeps me re-editing but also I need to be brave enough to approach people to give me advice.

Wish me luck and strength

Accidental Real Life

So I have turned 30 and been on holiday since the secondary schools started their new term but I haven’t “achieved” very much.

Non-academic work and the effort required to manage that, my shoulder problems, mental health and sleeping patterns, as well as attempts to look into new jobs have left me exhausted and deflated.
On the other hand a kind prod to write a paper for the Institute of Classical Studies Early Career Researchers Seminar series has re-kindled my research work and a new physio programme is helping towards a pain management regime.

Next steps include: finding someone to advise me on my Phoenicians article; writing the ICS paper; re-writing my CA paper as an article (and getting some advice on that); working on the possible business plan; changing pill intake; oh and, finishing my write up of SFF….

Wish me Luck

The Phoenicians and Me

I am currently re-writing part of my thesis – specifically I am trying to tease out some examples of Cornish historians who write about Phoenicians and justify their work with classical texts and trying to make some observations on trends and possible reasons for them.

It wasn’t a big part of my thesis per se since what I wanted to focus on was the role of the more traditional Greek and Roman classical civilisations on historiography. Nonetheless not only is it impossible to talk about the ancient Cornish tin trade without talking about the Phoenician myth but it turns out that one of the key uses for classical texts in building the historiography of Cornwall is “proving” that the Phoenicians came to Cornwall.
The Classical reception scholar in me is fascinated by the way that not only do the ancient works form the basis and framework for historical research but also how quickly they become cheap acontextual citations to make a point and how important the phraseology of a translation can turn out to be for the non-specialist. But…
…that is what part of the thesis was about not what the article is supposed to say.

I want to point out that there are patterns for discussing the topic and that they show us some of the key concerns of the historians involved.
Specifically, the writers always use Strabo’s description of the Cassiterides and the Phoenicians at 3.5.11 (but never mention 3.2.9 or any of his writing about Britain) and usually conflate this account with Diodorus on Belerion (5.22.1-2) . The writers also seem to regularly get entangled in issues surrounding the possible dating for the trade and exact locations for parts of the route. Even more importantly it is clear that the Phoenicians form a kind of shorthand for understanding the development of Cornish civilisation and technology.

The Cornish writers attribute improvements in the process of mining, the design of hill-forts and parts of the language to the interactions between the Cornish and the Phoenicians. This allows the writers to suggest that certain important  parts of Cornish culture had developed well before the Roman invasion and therefore that these Celts were somehow different to Caesar’s savage Britons. Like a number of historical writers of the period the writers tend to focus on the cultural legacy passed from the classical peoples to the natives rather than the existence or role of artefacts (rather handily when they are somewhat absent as in this case). In the texts that I have looked at there are some wild conjectures about the activities of the Phoenicians in Cornwall as well as more measured hypotheses but almost all of them are keen to describe the interactions as positive for the Cornish. I believe that in this way they  took their own ideas about the important parts of Cornish history and framed them into a local mythos.

Now I just need to find a way to argue that as a convincing conclusion before the end of the month.
(more SFF soon. honest.)