goodtimequesting asked: Do you have a tag for Roman PoC, specifically Septimus Severus? I'm trying to convince a friend of mine that he was a black man and that there was racial diversity in Rome beyond slaves and servants, but he keeps insisting otherwise, and doesn't believe me. Thank you so much for this blog!
medievalpoc: Uhhh yeah those people are literal, actual white supremacists extremely invested in debunking something they call “multicultural propaganda”. Although I did follow that link and found out about a very interesting series for British television on various multiracial and multinational sections of British armed forces during various armed conflicts. It made them extremely angry so I figured I would probably enjoy it, and that turned out to be true. I’ll be posting it in a bit.
I must admit I am VERY INTERESTED in those letters you mention…do you know of an online translation readily accessible?
Also I am really jealous of your job FYI.
The internet makes me sad :[ But Fronto makes me happy!
So, the letters have a bit of an interesting history. Basically, scholars knew of Fronto only by his reputation as one of the greatest Latin orators after Cicero, because none of his work survived. In the 19th century, however, a palimpsest containing copies of letters between Fronto and and the young Marcus Aurelius (at the time only known from his austere philosophical writings of his old age) was discovered. Everyone was really excited but then the letters turned out to be kind of bizarre, with Fronto seeming kind of like a neurotic weirdo and Marcus a young whippersnapper so different from his later writings, so everybody then just kind of ignored them! :( Fronto was also from Cirta, in Numidia, and describes himself as being a Numidian nomad (basically, a Berber).
You can read an older translation free here, but I really recommend my old professor’s translation (“Marcus Aurelius in Love”) which was written with lots of queer theory in mind and with the goal of making the letters accessible to a wider audience beyond just scholars, so they are really readable. You can read parts of it free on google books.
There is definitely a lot of scholarly controversy over the exact nature of the relationship between Fronto and Marcus, ranging basically from “ew gross Marcus was not gay” to “they were using the conceit of an erotic student-teacher relationship but probably not really doing it” to “they were deeply in beautiful sexual love.” My opinion is somewhere between the latter two. This article is a pretty good overview of the whole deal, if anyone is more interested.
Anyway sorry for hijacking Septimius Severus! But Fronto is awesome and really overlooked, even among scholars of Classics, and definitely deserves a read.
Oh wow! I love this whole story because people from history so often turn out a lot different that people imagine them to be.
I like how the reviewer talks about how some historians were like, “Oh, no way they were in love he just keeps complaining about his backaches” and of course I’m thinking “Uh what do you think people in long term relationships talk about?”
Also if you ever want to submit anything SERIOUSLY
jfc whenever i see this scene I laugh because I remember that IKEA post saying “how would otps react to building the furniture together”