Tag Archives: thosecrazyromans

Friday Links is a Little Stir Crazy

As ever, the Hobart Show Weekend has settled on one of our two favourite weather extremes: it’s been chucking it down, and one day into a four day weekend, the children are climbing the walls. Pity me!

A cute reminder from Shakesville of what the original remit of Sesame Street was, and what it continues to do now for generations of children.

Hoyden About Town looks at the media response to the Gillard ‘sexism’ speech, and provides a little context. Funnily enough, not the kind of context we’ve been provided by the mainstream media. Annabel Crabbe, meanwhile, talks about the problematic idea that we are supposed to accept Abbott is either misogynist or stupid, and also that politicians are only just starting to realise that sexism is now considered a negative thing. It’s kind of embarrassing how long our society took to get to this point, you know.

Continue reading →

Friday Links has Great Role Models

Twelfth Planet Press is now 5 years old, and wow how far she’s come!

Alisa muses on the last five years here, and also talks about how she can find positive female role models in trashy reality TV shows.

Speaking of role models, I wrote a Friday Hoyden post for Hoyden About Town, about: who else? Joanna Russ!

Kirstyn McDermott talks about the false equivalence of male and female representation on book covers, as beautifully illustrated by Jim C Hines.

Ben Peek heralds the new Ditmar ballot as ammunition in his ongoing secret rivalry against Bill Wright. Best Ditmar response so far!

Continue reading →

Friday Links Didn’t Burn Any Bras

Eh, I’ve been trying and failing to write an essay about how often women (fictional and otherwise) end up being shamed, dismissed or hurt in the name of feminism, but it’s tangling me up in knots, so I’m going to stop now and do something productive instead.

Hoyden talk about the myth of the bra-burning feminists, an idea which has been used to try to make women look stupid for decades, and how the false story was spread.

The Moffat’s Women series continues on Tor, with a comparison between the main female character in this Christmas special and last year’s. I find it very interesting how quickly people have leaped to criticise Moffat for writing a story in which the mother is the hero, so this article made me happy.

Sarah Rees Brennan’s response
to the post we linked to in Galactic Suburbia about the wealth of positive girl heroes in YA right now.

One that I meant us to discuss on GS but forgot at the last minute (sorry, Sean!) – Sean the Blogonaut surveys his reading after a year of trying to change his reading habits, genderwise.

Linda Nagata talks about her rationale for self publishing rather than going back to big publishers.

The ever awesome Mary Beard comments on the latest salacious media drama about Ancient Romans and brothels. Yes, really. As ever, her pragmatism wins the day.

Continue reading →

Because Caesar Was Taken [Xena Rewatch 3.16-3.19]

3.16 – When in Rome

Pompey the Magnus. Oh my yes.

I was excited to see this was a Rome episode and even more excited to realise it features Crassus, a historical character who has always interested me. But then Caesar turned up, stealing all the oxygen in the room, except that which is pinched by his rival and “ally,” Pompey THE Magnus. And I really stopped caring about Crassus.

Jeremy Callaghan, who will always be Brian from Police Rescue for me (last seen in an earlier Xena episode as a thug who might possibly have a heart of gold under his grubby armour), does a good job of balancing out Karl Urban’s shall we say High Acting, and has good sinister chemistry with Xena, too. He takes it a bit too far at times with the grape sucking and furniture chewing, but that sort of thing is what Xena is all about.

“So why do they call you the Warrior Princess?”
“Because ‘Caesar’ was taken.”

Continue reading →

I, Friday Links

Kathleen Jennings’ excellent Dalek game continues apace, and she recently produced a new favourite for me – daleks rocking the romanpunk with an I, Claudius parody.

An eye-opening post about the kind of hardcore harassment experienced by women in tech industries, and those who blog about geek feminism.

Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray calls bullshit about the troubling behaviour of Amazon as they launch their new publishing imprints, and how the spin that publishers are “running scared” of Amazon’s attempt at a publishing monopoly serve to underplay some of the important author rights that are being eroded, and deliberately left out of the equation.

Sarah Rees Brennan goes Gothic
, and talks about how she stopped worrying and learned to love the spooky houses, plucky protagonists and turns her inimitable parody summary style on Gothic classic novel The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe.

YOUR BOYFRIEND: is tall, dark, sinister, looming, maybe trying to kill you, definitely has secrets
YOUR BOYFRIEND: is a house, which is just another of many problems in your relationship

Continue reading →

Matrons of Awesome Part XV – Saint Helena

I've been in this room! Check out the Flavian Lady in the background. Best room in the Musei Capitolini.

The end of the Severan dynasty pretty much concludes the period of Roman history that I know anything about. However, I promised 50, which means one more to go… and though there are many interesting women of the later Roman Empire, if you’re only going to choose one, then it’s fairly obvious whom that one should be.

50. Helena

After the death of Alexander, Rome fell into a time of chaos brought about by very short imperial reigns, assassination, political plotting and civil strife. No emperor since the Severans had managed to found a stable dynasty, which meant that the role of women had been quite limited in the public political sphere.

Helena was the daughter of a tavern-keeper, which in social terms put her somewhere between freedwomen and prostitutes. As a teenager, she fell in love far above her station, with an ambitious young soldier called Constantius Chlorus, and she lived with him as a common law wife, though legal marriage was impossible because of the gulf in status between them both.

Continue reading →

Matrons of Awesome Part XIV – A Surfeit of Julias

So those who have read the lead story in Love and Romanpunk know that the book has a fixation on the name ‘Julia.’ It’s not just because that name was attached to so many women of the first, Julio-Claudian era, or because, thanks to the various Caesars, it had a great many sacred and significant connotations in its own right.

There was another dynasty which cemented the importance of the name Julia, and it marked a huge change in the image that Roman imperial families showed to the world.

41. Julia Domna

When ambitious African-born Roman general Septimius Severus heard of a horoscope for a young woman named Julia that predicted she would marry a king, he hurried across country to court her. Julia Domna was the Syrian daughter (of Arab descent) of the high priest of a sun god. She not only married Septimius but also bore him two sons, Caracalla and Geta. She was a highly intelligent, educated woman who served as a valued advisor to her husband.

Some time later, Septimius brought the horoscope to fruition by using his military and political skills to make himself emperor of Rome. Which is… one way to do it. Ah, Romans. We say they were supersitious, but really they just used the supernatural as a ‘how to’ guide.

Continue reading →

Matrons of Awesome XIII: Between the Dynasties

This one’s short. This is all we have about these three, apart from a coin or two that just confirms the below information.

38. Manlia Scantilla

Wife of Didius Julianus, who came the throne suddenly and left equally suddenly, in a pool of blood. He ruled for 30 days or so, and took the time to give his wife and daughter the title Augusta.

39. Didia Clara

Daughter of Didius Julianus. When he died in the aforementioned pool of blood, the supporters of his successor Pertinax went after Manlia Scantilla and Didia Clara… and removed the title of Augusta from Didia Clara. Yep, that’s all they did.

A long way from murdering Caligula’s baby in her bed, to end his biological line…

Continue reading →

Matrons of Awesome Part XII – Good Wives and the Gladiators

When Antoninus Pius was adopted as Hadrian’s heir, he already had a wife and daughter, both called Faustina.

A condition of Antoninus’ adoption was that he in turn adopt two men chosen by Hadrian: Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. But Marcus Aurelius and Faustina also managed to break the adoptive tradition of the emperors by having a son of their own. And what a son! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

the apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina

33. Faustina Major

Antoninus’s wife Faustina didn’t make much of an impact on the imperial family, as she died within a couple of years of her husband’s reign. She is notable, however, for getting the title of Augusta almost immediately, making her the first imperial wife since Domitia who didn’t have to wait several years for this honour.

Faustina’s posthumous life is more memorable – she was deified by her husband, and became something of a patron goddess for the whole Antonine family, with an unprecedented number of coin types released in her honour.

Continue reading →

Matrons of Awesome Part XI – Trajan’s Matrons

(or: “disgustingly good women of the Adoptive Era.”)

(or: “of all the PR in all the world, these women had the best that money could buy”)

After the Flavians dynasty died with Domitian, elderly Nerva took the Empire. He didn’t have a wife or children, so he chose the ridiculously sensible route of just picking an adult male who he thought would do a good job, and making him the heir. That was Trajan, a childless forty-something general with a good head on his shoulders.

Sadly, without a focus on dynastic inheritance, there was no place for the public image of women in Nerva’s reign. Let’s move on to Trajan.

It was during the reign of Trajan that many of the historical sources about the Julio-Claudians were actually written. There’s a popular theory that the Julio-Claudian women were dealt with so atrociously in the sources as sluts, harridans and poisoners in order to show how modest, virtuous and generally wonderful the women of Trajan’s family were.

So if you’re looking for the juicy stuff, you might want to go back to some of the earlier entries…

29. Plotina

Plotina was middle aged when her husband Trajan became emperor. Luckily for her, he had no interest in siring a biological heir, so her marriage was not in danger from any wide-hipped young temptresses (for some reason I keep expecting this to happen, ala Henry VIII, but the adoption laws of Rome actually protected wives from being discarded in the name of fertility).

Plotina was a good woman. No, really. Modest, chaste. All those things. We have scads of information (well, compared to other Roman women) about how good she was, and what a non-slutty, non-poisonous, non-greedy wife she was when Trajan was alive.

However, as soon as Trajan died, Plotina’s literary portrayal changed quickly. In Dio in particular (one of our main historical sources) it’s like a switch has been thrown, and she goes overnight from a paragon of wifely virtue to a scheming, ambitious mother figure in the manner of Agrippina.

Continue reading →