From Adrian Murdoch’s Bread and Circuses blog comes this….
Some light relief for a Friday. Rules for writing about late antiquity. Feel free to send in any more:
â€¢ Anything that happened in Britain, happened in AD 410.
â€¢ Any Western coin hoard must contain half a dozen bronzes of Honorius and Arcadius.
â€¢ If you are confused about why something happened on a certain date it is either Easter or the anniversary of an emperorâ€™s date of accession.
â€¢ Any bones discovered by archaeologists are that of a saint â€“ probably one youâ€™ve never heard of called Martin or Severus.
â€¢ Any natural disaster not otherwise attested caused untold damage â€“ there is no such thing as an earthquake that shook things up a bit but everyone came out of it just peachy.
â€¢ Any silverware without provenance came from Pannonia.
â€¢ When desperate for a pithy quote â€“ there is always Jerome.
â€¢ Any coin of an unknown emperor was a British or Gallic pretender who lasted for 20 minutes before his soldiers stabbed him in the back. Someone has already written a DPhil on him.
â€¢ The PLRE is always wrong.
â€¢ So is Seeck.
â€¢ When in doubt, Tim Barnes has written an article on it.
â€¢ Any Vita you need to look at has only been translated into a language you don’t read.
â€¢ Barbarians good, Romans bad.
â€¢ Say anything you want about him, no one has ever read Themistius… whatever they might claim.
â€¢ Whoever it is, Symmachus either wrote a letter to or about him.
â€¢ On the rare occasions he didnâ€™t, Sidonius Apollinaris did.
â€¢ Any unexplained building works are fortifications… a reaction to political upheaval in the fourth/fifth century.
â€¢ If you canâ€™t find a classical reference it is from Book II of the Aeneid.
â€¢ If you don’t recognise a Christian reference it is from the Book of Tobias.
â€¢ The Antonine Wall will get UNESCO status next year.
â€¢ When back in the real world, remember to stop counting inclusively.
â€¢ Any debate about a discrepancy in historical sources can be won by referring to the Enmannsche Kaisergeschichte.