How to know you’re an amateur Classicist.

You know you’re an amateur classicist when:

What are the things on your list?  

Rob Cain’s list

  1. When the TV show HBO’s Rome comes on TV and  you lecture your family on the historical inaccuracies until they tell you to, “SHUT UP!”
  1. When you are sitting in the balcony overlooking the floor of Congress with some students that are sitting behind you.  You can hear a questions being asked.  “Why is an there an image of an ax and rods on the wall?”  You immediately go into a lecture on what the fasces mean and its purpose in ancient culture before you realize that it’s not your students that you are talking too.

3.  When you visit the Library of Congress and the guide makes the mistake of saying, “One of the statues overlooking the main hall is Gibbon who wrote the ‘Fall of the Roman Catholic Church.’  You know he has got it wrong, and you announce to the crowd of strangers that it is the ‘Fall of the Roman Empire.’   The next day you send an email to the head librarian asking that they instruct their guides to know the works of each statue that is on display.

4. When you become excited on finding a book printed in the 1800’s on ancient Rome with illustrations that you have never seen before.  When you buy the book you wrap it in plastic wrap to keep it fresh, because one day the book will be either sitting on your really cool library shelf, or the great maps and illustrations will be preserved and framed on your future man cave.

5.  When your wife buys you a child’s Roman Galley and you are excited by it, and spend an afternoon building it and its now on display your bookcase.

6.  When meeting a true classicist is equal to meeting a ‘rock star.’

7.  When you walk down into the ‘Forum’ and you start to cry in public. ( I had dreamed about it all my life.  I was overcome…OK?  Give a guy a break.)

8.  When you regret not choosing the study of Ancient Rome as your career choice when in college.

9. When you begin to recognize plots of ancient plays in TV shows and movies.

10.  When you start a podcast called Ancient Rome Refocused and spend your weekends putting together episodes that speak of your love for the subject, and get excited to meet other amateur classicists that take the time to write you and tell you about their love of history.

Steven Saylor, author of Rosa Sub Rosa murder mysteries with Godianus the finder. 

RE item #6, I feel very much the groupie when I attend Classical lectures and events on the UC Berkeley campus. OMG, there’s Robert Knapp, author of Invisible Romans…and over there is Leslie Kurke, who wrote the blindingly brilliant Aesopic Conversations…and sometimes I even chat with the great Erich Gruen. If J.K. Rowling were to stroll through the room, I wouldn’t even notice.

Ruth Downie, author of the books of Medicus, the reluctant physician sleuth of an Roman Imperial Legio on the Island of Brittania.  

Oh, yes! Especially no. 5, except mine was a cardboard Roman fort and I had to buy it ‘for the children’. What an excellent wife you must have!

Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of the book:  Cleopatra’s Moon. 

This made me laugh, Rob. I could relate to every single one. I am going to Rome for the first time this fall and I am sure I will also make a fool of myself in public at many, many sites. And yes, I have the “rock star” response to classicists such as Mary Beard and Adrian Goldsworthy. And Barry Strauss…and…and…many more!  

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