So in the course of her visit this weekend, @quelalexandradit managed to introduce me to Crash Course, which involves the YA author John Green (and apparently his biologist brother Hank sometime in the future) teaching 10 to 12-minute lessons on world history, with a much-needed counterbalance to the way history is taught in many schools in the United States. IT’S AWESOME. I’m so addicted! Thoroughly, thoroughly recommended, and especially neat for the parts of world history about which I know next to nothing, like the Indus Valley Civilization (includes discussion of why “civilization” is a problematic concept!).
So yes, this one on Rome and Caesars is the one I’m linking because it’s vaguely Innogen-related, but given that I’m basically spending my Memorial Day watching these and not marathoning Band of Brothers (yet) or cleaning my apartment (…), I definitely endorse all of them as a thing worth watching!
New forensic techniques in archaeology reveal existence of high status Africans living in 4th Century AD York
“A picture of multi-cultural Britain in 4th Century AD has been revealed using the latest forensic techniques in archaeology. The new research, published in the March issue of the journal Antiquity, demonstrates that Roman York of the period had individuals of North African descent moving in the highest social circles.
I love sneaking in world-building tidbits in things like place or character names. On their way to the Hall of Public Records this week, Imogen and Posthumus cross Via Mandubracius, which is the street on which the Minervan Exposition’s palace (the Pallas!) lives. Who’s the dude with the long, weird name? According to Wikipedia, someone the Romans can get behind:
Mandubracius was the son of a Trinovantian king, named Imanuentius in some manuscripts of Julius Caesar’s De Bello Gallico, who was overthrown and killed by the warlord Cassivellaunus some time before Caesar’s second expedition to Britain in 54 BC. Mandubracius fled to the protection of Caesar in Gaul. Cassivellaunus then led the British defence against the Romans, but the Trinovantes betrayed the location of his fortress to Caesar, who proceeded to besiege him there. As part of the terms of Cassivellaunus’s surrender, Mandubracius was installed as king of the Trinovantes, and Cassivellaunus undertook not to make war against him.
Cassivellaunus, of course, is Shakespearized as Cassibelan; he was uncle to Cunobelinus — Cymbeline, if you prefer — and in Innogen, he passed the throne on when he died of a broken heart over the surrender to Rome.
One thing I love most about undertaking a big project like Innogen is how much opportunity there is to learn about new things in really interesting, serendipitous ways. For instance, while on the prowl for a header image for To th’field, to th’field, the story’s second chapter, I discovered this piece of awesomeness, and the works of Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Give the chapter a read and see how fitting it is! I was bowled over — plus this Alma-Tadema guy painted some pretty neat stuff. You can see more of his work at alma-tadema.org!