I am sometimes asked as to why I talk about recent events or about guitars rather than about history.

There are a couple of reasons for this.  One is that after I’ve spent my day researching and writing about history I usually don’t want to then spend my ‘free time’ writing about history again.  No matter how interesting it may seem to others.

The most obvious reason concerns the period of history on which I am currently focused.  Students of Ancient Greece can talk about amusing snippets from many ancient sources, including strange medical assumptions from Galen or insights by Homer or Herodotus.  They have thousands of years of work to choose from.  Those concentrating upon either late-Republican or early-Imperial Rome can quote from Caesar, Cicero, Tacitus or Pliny the Elder, among others.  All of these men wrote long discourses including either a wonderful comprehension of their subject or, especially in the medical or scientific field, they can amaze us with the knowledge that they had – or more often with the strange things they assume to be valid.

I study Late Antiquity.  The works of historians and medical practitioners from this period have almost completely been lost, preserved for the most part only in fragments quoted in much later works.  Even more importantly, the majority of the works that do survive from this era were written by men far more interested in religious debate than in analyzing political events or talking about their medical breakthroughs and beliefs.

Instead, my main reliance is on the fragments of the historical works and the many Chronicles which have survived.  And, to be completely frank, the chronicles aren’t exactly a barrel of laughs.  It is hard to make an interesting blog when what you are working with is a little short on information.  Take this excerpt from the Chronicle of Jerome:

Melania, noblest of Roman women, and daughter of the sometime consul Marcellinus, at that time having left behind her only son, the urban praetor, sailed to Jerusalem, where she was such a miracle of virtue and especially of humility, that she received the name of Thecla.                                                                                       Jerome, Chronicon, c.374.

It’s great for Melania that her name is still known by some people c.1,700 years after her death, but it’s not exactly something around which to build a blog entry.  (Yes, I accept the irony that Melania’s name IS being used for a blog entry.  My point still stands.)

So I’ll go on writing blog entries in a very irregular manner based upon anything that moves/interests/annoys me so much that I feel the urge to write it down.  It’s my blog and I’ll write if I want to!!