Sep 4, 2017

Dr. Jamie Wood on Isidore of Seville

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Let us know what you thought of Dr. Wood's interview and his work on Isidore of Seville.

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  • This is not directly related to a specific episode, but I thought this was an appropriate forum to elicit some discussion about a history that I am reading. Has anyone here read SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard? It's been a long time since I've taken a history course or studied anything "classical." I've just started the book and I am finding it to be incredibly well-written in terms of being readable for a lay-person. Easy to digest etc. I can comment more as I read more, but I thought the history buffs in this forum might be tickled to debate the quality and writing style of the book. If I get through this one, I may continue to make a hobby of easing back into the autodidact lazy "pop" version of a classical education.
  • I have yet another small post of half-formed thoughts. I very much enjoyed the most recent episode where you all covered a perspective on Anglo-Saxon conversion to Christianity. Full disclosure: I am neither an historian nor an academic. That being said, I found the proposal that the conversion of kingdoms was related to politicians/leaders making changes for expediency quite resonant for me when I think about history more broadly. There are numerous possible examples of political entities aligning themselves with religious leaders or movements to gain power (thinking the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The Holy Roman Empire, modern political parties who pull support from religious movements). It's almost a wonder to me that this wasn't the baseline assumption: Kings don't convert and then change their peoples beliefs (at least not in every instance). Rather, savvy leaders sniff out bases of power and align themselves accordingly. And THEN impose those rules/morals on their people in turn. Fascinating stuff. Great episode!
  • I've been interested in the history of the Islamic world since taking an intro class in undergrad. I just listened to Dr. Urban's episode of Agnus and found it to be absolutely fascinating. An interesting counterpoint to how I think of slavery (in a knee jerk way) as a white American male. Also an important reminder that the role of women in history can be different than we assume. I don't have a lot of smart discussion at this time, but I am hoping that Dr. Urban might return in the future to illuminate further topics on the history of Islam. In fact, I'd love to hear her discuss the structure of the royal court of the Caliph in the Umayyad vs. the Abbassid dynasties or something similar. Anyone else have interesting topics from the history of Islam that might be good Agnus episodes?

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