Sunday, 31 December 2017

Top posts of 2017

A list drawn up purely for the sake of interest. Salt is popular, it seems. More strangely, so is Homeric textual criticism.
  1. Salt and salary: were Roman soldiers paid in salt? (11 January). Roman soldiers weren’t paid in salt (that’s daft); there’s no evidence they were given a salt allowance (that’s an 18th century conjecture); and salt wasn’t expensive.
  2. West’s Odyssey (20 November). A few notes on the new Teubner edition of the Odyssey, with a list of deleted and bracketed lines as compared with the two other most recent critical editions.
  3. ‘Odysseus is not a hero, he’s a douchebag’ (8 December). Odysseus vs. the Cyclops: weighing up bad behaviour.
  4. Caesar’s birth and death (29 September). Big Julie wasn’t born by C-section, and he didn’t say anything memorable when he was assassinated. It’s possible his supposed last words are a carefully chosen quotation from a Greek Hellenistic-era poem, meant to cast Brutus as wanting power for himself rather than as a tyrant-slayer.
  5. Seven wonders of the world (27 November). The lighthouse of Alexandria wasn’t one of the wonders -- not in antiquity, anyway. The Colossus of Rhodes wasn’t next to the sea. And the most impressive thing about the pyramids, for ancient tourists, may have been the view from the top at midday.
  6. Dying and rising gods: are they a thing? (17 February). No, no they aren’t.
  7. Christmas reminder 2017 (16 December). Christmas didn’t arise out of Saturnalia or Sol Invictus, it was supposed to be on the day of the solstice, and it’s fairly likely to be 200 years older than usually claimed.
  8. Roman plagiarism of Greek gods (30 August). Roman religion didn’t plagiarise Greek religion much. Roman poets did plunder Greek mythology, though. In a sense.
  9. Getting the Iliad right (1 Mar.). When Lindybeige is good, he’s good.
  10. The library of Alexandria: vox populi (7 March). People’s preconceptions about the library. Most of them are artefacts created by Carl Sagan’s reliance on Edward Gibbon.
Also for interest: around 38% of hits come from the USA, 13% UK, 5% Canada, and 4% New Zealand. Also regular visitors, but low-key, are Germany and Ukraine. The most popular OSes are iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod: 42%), followed by Windows (28%), Android (11%), and Mac OS (10%).

Not everything in the world has been insane this year: Internet Explorer users (2%) are heavily outnumbered by Linux users (8%). So there’s that.

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