Some thoughts on reading

So I have a confession to make. My reading has slowed down drastically. After scorching up 50 books in the first six months of the year, I have only added a grand total of four more books to that number in the last two months. There’s been a number of reasons for this. First, I…

Conspicuous Commensuality

I was reading a book on Ancient Mesapotamia yesterday when for the first time in my life I came across the term ‘Conspicuous Commesuality’ in the context of exquisite pottery remains from the Chalcolithic age being found during excavations. Almost as if expecting some bafflement, the author explains that it is a “precursor to ‘conspicuous…

A storm is coming

If you are like me, the words ‘a storm is coming’ would have immediately transported you to Howard Shore’s brilliant opening track for the Return of the King (the third installment of the Lord of the Rings). Anybody who went ‘Game of Thrones’ can please get their coats and leave. However, my title today had…

2772 years ago

Legend has it that Rome was founded on 21 April 753 BCE. It is a legend. Nobody knows for sure when someone put a hut up on the Palatine Hill but we need a date to mark the anniversary of the Eternal city and 21st April it is. The four images below which I captured…

The Roman Theatre of Merida

The Roman theatre of Merida was built during the reign of Augustus. There is an inscription in the theatre which reads M. Agrippa L.F. cos III. trib. pot. III Roughly meaning that Marcus Agrippa, Son of Lucius, three times consul, in the third year of his tribunician powers (built this). With this information, historians have…

Reckoning Time

One of the biggest news stories that broke today was the announcement of the name of the new Japanese Imperial era (Reiwa). With the abdication of the current Emperor Akihito and the reign of the new Emperor Naruhito beginning, the way in which the Japanese reckon time also had to change. Of course, the people…

From haplogroups to Harappa: Ancient Indians by Tony Joseph

In these times of divisive and extreme discourse, any study that reinforces the fact that human beings anywhere in the world have more that is common between them than different needs to be lauded. After all, if you dig deep enough through the mists of time, we can find an ancestor, a mitochondrial eve, a woman…

Monday Pop Quiz: Water Pump

It’s the start of the working week for most of the world. For those of struggling with Monday blues I thought I’d make life interesting with a little pop quiz. Please look at the images below and choose the correct answer. (Apologies for all the reflection in the photograph- museum lighting is not always best…

Portraits of Augustus (from my 2018 visits)

Roman sculptural portraits (whether in bronze or in marble) existed long before Augustus. Republican time portraiture from Rome depicts a high level of realism. You see people shown with their frowns and wrinkles. This was quite unlike the Hellenistic style which was all idealised and smooth. With his consolidation of power in Rome, Augustus also…