I recently finished reading a book on an aspect of the Classical world that neither I, nor many other Classicists likely have thought much about. The book is Anthony Kaldellis’ The Byzantine Republic, which deals with the Eastern Roman Empire (called by modern scholars “Byzantine”) which ruled a fluctuating area centred on Anatolia and the Balkans from the fall of Rome to the Goths in 476 CE until the final capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 CE. Kaldellis’ work represents an intriguing attempt to reconnect the Byzantines to their Roman heritage, something which he argues has all-too-often been ignored and/or denied by scholars.
[Note: This was first published a few years ago on Res Gerendae, the collaborative blog of the Cambridge Faculty of Classics’ graduate students; visit it at resgerendae.blogspot.com]
Like many of my colleagues, my engagement with this century’s pop culture is rather erratic. There are quite a few major crazes that have largely passed me by (wasn’t there something about a boy wizard a few years back?).
That especially applies to the explosion of young adult fiction that followed that boy wizard thing–I was already in my late teens when the first of those came out, so anything afterwards ended up being more or less off the radar.
Nevertheless, it did dimly come to my attention that there was a series of YA novels based on Greek mythology, which I thought I ought at some point to read. When I found the entire series on sale in the Cambridge market for two pounds each, it seemed reasonable to buy them. After all, it was a fair guess that my future students would have read it, so it was clearly a good pedagogical practice, by no means just an excuse to spend several weeks reading teen novels.