Death of a Slave Boy

Cymbals struck as festival performers wound their way through the village’s streets . But then tragedy struck. Leaning over the balcony to view the players below, a young slave boy Epaphroditos fell and died. Was it an accident? Was it murder?This tragic event took place in year 23 of the reign of the emperor Commodus (182 CE), … More Death of a Slave Boy

Music for the Masses

*Guest post by Mark de Kreij (read his bio here) In this time of social distancing, enjoying music in public seems a distant memory, and since social get-togethers and musical events are all currently off the table, the study of song and festival in the ancient world can at least provide us with vicarious cultural … More Music for the Masses

Jesus Christ before me, Iao Sabaoth Adonai behind me: A Prayer for Good Luck and Protection

Guest post by Ágnes Mihálykó (read her bio here). What would you ask from God in a morning prayer? Success for your business? No fights with your husband/wife/children/boss? Or, quite simply having God in front of you, behind you, by your left and by your right, to guide you and protect you throughout the day? … More Jesus Christ before me, Iao Sabaoth Adonai behind me: A Prayer for Good Luck and Protection

Kittens for Bastet

*Co-written with Luigi Prada; read his bio here. On 20th April, either 202 or 178 BCE, an embalmer named Onnophris wrote to Machatas, an official (epistates) in the village of Tanis in the Fayum semi-oasis, concerning kittens he had donated to the cat-goddess Bastet (also known by her Greek name of Boubastis), or at least … More Kittens for Bastet