Introduce yourself!

Original topic subject: New members say hello!

ForumAncient History

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Introduce yourself!

1timspalding
Jan. 25, 11:05am

We get a new member every day or so, and I want to get this group back up into the air, so I thought I'd start a topic for new members to say hello.

So say hi, and tell us: A little about yourself and what period or topics of ancient history interest you.

I'll go first:

My name is Tim and I created LibraryThing. Before that I was a PhD student in Classics at the University of Michigan, focusing on history. My favorite topics are Hellenistic history, anything to do with Anatolia and Greek interaction with other cultures. I'm also interested in early church history and Byzantium. My real training is philological, but I did some archaeology work in Turkey, and have at least visited sites throughout Anatolia.

2Nicole_VanK
Jan. 25, 12:04pm

Not new, but hi all.

I'm Nicole from the Netherlands, and I'm an art historian and classical archaeologist by education. (MA from Leiden University in both). My work took me in other directions, and I merely dabble now. The advantage is that I can cast my net much wider now though. I have an amateur interest in Egyptology, and a growing fascination for early Central Asia. Also, because of heritage, I try learning more about early Southeast Asia and neighbouring parts.

3Synechist
Jan. 25, 12:06pm

Hello :)

I am Catherine. About me... The reason I joined this group is because I am very intrigued by human migration and its effects on cultural development. I am especially interested in 600 BCE through to the end of the Middle Ages. I realize that's a very big swath of time, but I'm ambitious in my pursuit of understanding. :) ..... My little niche of interest within that timeline is the Celts.

4kdweber
Jan. 25, 12:17pm

>1 timspalding: Hi Tim, my name is Ken. When I was a young teen my family moved to Ankara, Turkey for a year. We had a VW camper bus and every weekend we'd be off visiting ruins in different parts of the country - ruins from the earliest civilizations to Hittites, Greeks and Romans. Back around 1970, there weren't many tourists at most of these sites and we'd often have the site to ourselves with the exception of the lone guard who sold us tickets for admission. In Ankara, I'd wander the city on my own or with a friend. We'd go to the old Roman Baths and map and sketch the ruins. I remember visiting King Midas' tomb which was then being excavated by the University of Pennsylvania. Years later as an undergraduate at Penn I'd visit their wonderful museum and learn more about that work. As a result of these adventures, my older brother became an archeologist specializing in ethnobiology. Though I became an engineer, I never lost my interest in ancient cultures and civilizations.

My library sports books from Catalhoyuk, Troy (facsimiles of Schliemann's notes as well as later works), Nemrud Dag, Aphrodisias, and Pergamon to Greek and Roman Classics, Hadrian's Villa, the ruins of Pompeii including William Gell's 1819 and two volume follow up in 1832 write ups of his excavations. My brother's work in the Indus Valley has also attracted my interest. But really, I can be diverted by almost anything - the great Central and South American empires, or anything on China and Japan.

5timspalding
Jan. 27, 1:00am

>2 Nicole_VanK: Very cool.

The "ability to dabble" is indeed an advantage. I have personally decided to stop trying out new languages—my particular weakness. But I'd love to dabble far afield of my traditional grounds. So, for example, I am now convinced I have to visit Socotra some day ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socotra ). At the same time, I find it hard to get into something totally outside my ken, like China. I would feel like an imposter. I hate visiting countries I haven't studied and where I can't speak any of the language for the same reason. And, well, I know what a blinkered view of Turkey most tourists get. I don't want to be that tourist.

>3 Synechist: If you want to read about the Celts from a historiographic and comparative angle, I recommend the famous Momigliano's Alien Wisdom. As a kid I toured southern Brittany with my mother, including basically every dolmen and menhir around. We went there with my kid and, frankly, it was the worst trip we'd ever had, and any interest he had in that topic was thoroughly killed. Sigh.

>4 kdweber: Parts of Turkey are still like that, but it's changed in my span too. When I was a student at the American school in Alanya, Alanya was still a small town. Now it's… a horror. Disneyland for Germans. Utterly horrific. But I've spent a lot of time in upland Lycia visiting sites with a single guard or no official presence at all. The big ones are, of course, tourist traps now.

I've been over most of Anatolia, but I still haven't visited Troy, and Nemrud Dag seemed a little unsafe both times I could have gone. Aphrodisias and Pergamon are wonderful. Termessus is my personal favorite. Also Caunus, Arycanda and the underground cities of Cappadocia.

6genesisdiem
Jan. 27, 2:50am

Hi, I'm Amanda and one of my degrees is in anthropology. I love to read about all early cultures but I think I got my start on Egypt. I have worked dig sites in a few different countries and I'm always interested to hear how the locals tell the history vs what's been written.

I'm not overly fond of Roman and Greek bc I feel like there is so much focus on them but I do like to read about who they encountered, traded with, conquered, etc. I feel like it makes a very small world open up. There are so many cultures that we don't really know anything about yet and it keeps me curious!

7Nicole_VanK
Jan. 27, 3:23am

>5 timspalding: I find it hard to get into something totally outside my ken {...}. I would feel like an imposter.

I feel you. With my background, I'm more qualified to interpret material culture anyway. But having a very limited experience with either culture or language of a region definitely makes things very hard.

I'm Indo-Dutch (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo_people) which is culturally complex in itself. SE Asia isn't alien to me - and that region traditionally got influenced by both South Asia and East Asia (hence the word Indo-China, for part of it). Anyway, so I try to take notice of publications by people much more knowledgeable than me. But I wouldn't hazard to have an opinion myself.

P.s.: Socotra sounds absolutely fascinating.

8setnahkt
Jan. 27, 3:13pm

Not new. Retired environmental geologist with an amateur's interest in Egyptology. Took advantage of my undergrad years at University of Chicago to take courses at the Oriental Institute. Can read hieroglyphs very slowly and with the aid of a good dictionary (Faulkner).

9CarltonC
Jan. 27, 4:26pm

Not a new member. A retired accountant with an interest in Mesopotamia, the development of the Mediterranean, Celtic culture and Central Asia. I probably read two or three generalist books about Ancient History each year, often based upon exhibitions at the British Museum.

10riskedom
Bearbeitet: Jan. 30, 9:04am

My name is Philip and I was a history major at the University of Illinois (Urban-Champaign) over 25 years ago (Ancient and Middle Eastern history). I didn't pursue it professionally but turned to horticulture and am currently the Curator of a Museum Garden in Norfolk Virginia. My interest in ancient history and history in general has never ceased and when I am not studying or playing with plants I am usually studying history. I also enjoy the history of philosophy and am slowly plodding my way through Peter Adamson's podcasts on the History of Philosophy without any gaps. Like Tim, I also have an interest in Byzantium although when I visit Dumbarton Oaks I end up in the garden and spent only a small amount of time inside the museum.

11timspalding
Feb. 9, 1:07pm

>8 setnahkt: Can read hieroglyphs very slowly and with the aid of a good dictionary (Faulkner).

That's awesome. I did most of How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs but with all the other languages I was working on, I never went farther. I wish languages were easier to learn!

Like Tim, I also have an interest in Byzantium although when I visit Dumbarton Oaks I end up in the garden and spent only a small amount of time inside the museum.

Ha! Well, it's all good there. I love that place.

12cemanuel
Feb. 12, 7:47am

>11 timspalding: I need to get there. I've been to DC quite a bit but for some reason have never convinced whatever group I'm with to visit it rather than someplace else. Think I may need to go AWOL next time.

13timspalding
Feb. 12, 2:45pm

>12 cemanuel:

It's off the beaten track for sure. When I go I go there, the Starbucks where the shooting happened (and the commemoration is), and the Turkish restaurant just up the block. I lived there for years, so it feels like home. But it's a small place, not a blockbuster.

14setnahkt
Feb. 13, 8:18pm

>11 timspalding: It was a little embarassing. The other students in the class were all graduate students in various ancient languages, while I was an undergrad geologist. They were making comparisions between - for example - Middle Egyptian and Old Elamite, while I was not sure if I realy understood adverbs. I bemused the professor, though, so I got "courtesy Cs".

15Betelgeuse
Feb. 13, 9:50pm

>1 timspalding: I'm Kevin, living in a suburb of Chicago. I am an English major, Colgate University (some 35 years ago), and amateur astronomer. I like to think of myself as continually learning. I don't have formal training in ancient history, I don't know a whit about the subject compared to all of you on this thread, but I am fascinated by the topic. I love ancient history, but also antebellum American history.

16AndreasJ
Feb. 14, 12:30pm

Not new, but that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone. Unlike various above, I have no formal background in classics or archaeology - the closest would be a half-semester of Latin at university - and my interests really swing more medieval anyway, but I do read a bit of ancient history, so I follow this group.

I guess my interest tends to focus on the Mediterranean and Chinese ends of the world, and on military-political history. Also an interest in ancient languages.

17timspalding
Feb. 18, 10:38am

>14 setnahkt:

I had something of the same experience in a Hittite and Anatolian-languages class. I was a grad student, but I didn't have the linguistics background the others did.

>15 Betelgeuse:

Ha. We share that, then. My undergrad majors were Classics and History. The latter was focused on the antebellum South.

18shikari
Bearbeitet: Mrz. 27, 2:02am

Yes, I'm not new either, but I don't think I've ever introduced myself. I'm John, based in Oxford. I finished an MA in Classics a dozen or so years ago, and am especially interested in the Late Antique period, especially in the east of the empire and in Sasanian Iran. I did Arabic and some Syriac and Persian at university before that. My lockdown project was to try to learn some Middle Egyptian and Akkadian.But it's not been very successful...

19cstebbins
Bearbeitet: Mrz. 21, 1:11pm

I'm not new, but I've not seen a prior opportunity to introduce myself. Having come from the Deep, small-town, South, I studied medieval history at Harvard College, then after being graduated spent a fellowship year in the Program in Medieval Studies at Yale. I got discouraged and bailed out to law school, so as to take up the practice of law back in provincial Georgia, specifically Augusta, far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife. I'm now semi-retired. I've always kept up my interest in the Late Antique.

Clay Stebbins

20timspalding
Mrz. 25, 10:43am

>18 shikari:

Very cool. As for your lockdown project, well, a global pandemic is a hard time to concentrate on anything! Worthy goals, though.

>18 shikari: >19 cstebbins:

Interesting that both of you are interested in Late Antiquity, which is usually the red-headed stepchild of Classics.

21ebeeb
Bearbeitet: Apr. 21, 4:22pm

Hi there everyone –– I am entirely new to this group and to LibraryThing and have just been poking around the last couple of days to see how this site works.

I have an undergraduate degree in history and went to graduate school in the history and philosophy of science. I'm interested in the history of ideas and it's mostly through the avenue of philosophy that I've become acquainted with the ancient world. Having grown up in the analytic tradition (both parents had Ph.D.s in philosophy), I avoided Plato for a very long time before I awoke from my dogmatic slumber and discovered The Republic. Since then my fascination with the ancient world has grown, and I've been slowly wending my way through the literature of ancient Greece; most recently I read the Theban plays. A dream would be to one day read The Iliad in the original.

I also am a great fan of art history and of Hellenistic art.