Vexatious Velleity

Blog introspection challenge question two:  “What is the significance of your blog’s name?”

Ancient Armitage?  Well, it’s not very complicated…beyond the obvious, I seem prone to a certain vexatious velleity, a trying tendency, a perhaps provoking proclivity for annoying alliteration:

Ancient Armitage it is!

Introspectatus bloggus….

My thanks to Guylty for issuing the challenge at hand


I think it will be a fun activity for bloggers and readers alike.  So, here we go…

1. What made you start blogging?

Let’s see…I was about six months into my Armitage adventure when
a friend issued a joking challenge about Richard Armitage and the Greco-Roman profile.  I kind of laughed it of initially, but then I went to New York and immersed myself in the collection at the Metropolitan museum and guess what? 

I “saw” Richard Armitage EVERYWHERE!! A blog was born 🙂

I had originally planned to focus on the visual…vase paintings, sculpture, etc., but in the past two years I’ve also delved into Greco-Roman mythology, history, drama, virtue inter alia (among other things). I feel as if I’ve just scratched the surface, so I hope you’ll hang around for more 🙂

et alia: Forgotten Treasures

Today while I was in my office excavating through the remains of January – May, I “unearthed” visual proof of why, despite all my angst, I love my job…

Best Student Labeled Map of Roman Italy EVER!!!

Best Student Labeled Map of Roman Italy EVER!!!

I’ve had this for at least five years, and ever time it re-emerges it makes me smile and remember why I do what I do.  May we all have these little reminders more often!!  (I especially love the rivers…a different kind of vessel for each…who says geography and history stifle creativity?)

“For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb…”

I wanted to mark the day, but I’m just not up to cogent thoughts…here’s a reboot from the archives though…

Ancient Armitage

Today is Memorial Day in the US, a federal holiday to commemorate our military dead…specifically, those who died in service.  Across the nation there are public parades and speeches as well as countless personal remembrances for loved ones lost.   Despite how I might feel about the validity of any particular war, I would never dispute the sacrifices that have been made by tens of thousands of military members and their families.  Formal state remembrances of the supreme sacrifice of military members are not unique to the modern world – unfortunately, humankind has a long, long history of warfare.  Perhaps one of the most famously recorded episodes of commemoration of the fallen comes from The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.  In PericlesFuneral Oration, to the Athenians who had died in the initial battles of the war, Thucydides shows the Athenian leader lifting up the state as much as the deceased, and…

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RAPS for Charity – the DE-BRIEF


Guylty Pleasure

It has taken me a day to come down from the high that I felt yesterday in the final hours of and post-event. The RAPS for charity auctions, if I may say so myself, were a fantastic success. So much so that I found it impossible to put my gratitude, awe and general elation into words. You all have reinforced my continued happiness at being part of this community. The upshot is clear:

Armitage fan

All joking aside, I know that you would like to hear the tally of the project. Let me just precede that by saying that I had not in my wildest dreams thought that we would raise so much money together. And not even in my sleepless hours pre-event last Saturday night when I was wondering whether I’d be able to convince three people to pay 35 US$ each in order to reach my target of a three-figure…

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Virtutes Romanae: Richard Armitage and LIBERALITAS

When most people think of the ancient Romans, I suspect that one of the last things to come to mind is generosity – although the Romans were surely generous in “sharing” their culture with the entire Mediterranean basin!  In this context, we might be surprised to find that LIBERALITAS (generous giving) was included among the public virtues modeled by Roman society as a whole over the course of it’s nearly 1500 year cultural span (not including the Byzantines…quite a different variety of Roman).  

This time span is a concept that my students always struggle with…namely, the fact that it is difficult to make wide generalizations about the Romans because their culture, like all cultures, changes over time.  I wrapped up the ROME film class last week and will read final research papers this week.  Despite cautioning that they should be careful to include only info relating to the Late Republic, I’ve no doubt that I will read a good bit about Imperial Military tactics or the sexual mores of early Christian Rome.  It’s all Rome right?  Well, not exactly.  What LIBERALITAS meant to Julius Caesar is not precisely the same as what it meant to Constantine 350 years later…there are subtleties that vary over time as the culture evolved.  What does remain the same though is the primary definition of the term:

“Generosity, nobility, kindliness, magnanimity”

“Munificence, open-handedness, liberality”

which developed further to mean also,

“An instance of generosity, a gift, donation, contribution”

Interestingly (to me anyway 🙂  )  the majority of visual representations of LIBERALITAS come from the well into the Imperial Period of Rome.

The coin above dates to the Severan Dynasty (195-235 CE), specifically to the reign of the emperor Elagabalus (if you are looking for wild and woolly Imperial Roman hijinks, look no futher than Elagabalus)  The coin sports a portrait of the emperor on the obverse and a depiction of the personification of Liberalitas on the reverse.  The goddess is loaded up with all sorts of goodies to be distributed.  In her right hand she holds a coin shaker, in her left, an overflowing cornucopia.  I don’t see it in the descriptions of the coin, but it looks to me as if she has some variety of water fowl (looks goose-y to me) draped over her left arm as well.  The inscription describes her as “Liberalitas of Augustus,”  that is, the generosity of the emperor.

This seems to be a quite common coin reverse during the rule of a number emperors both before and after the Severan clan.  The emperor Constantine takes his display of imperial LIBERALITAS up a notch on the triumphal arch that bears his name…

This panel, on the NW corner of the arch, shows Constantine bestowing his generosity on his subjects…well actually, it shows Marcus Aurelius doing this – the Arch of Constantine is a really quirky example of imperial thrift as Constantine pillaged and retooled the monuments of his predecessors to quickly and cheaply construct his own massive celebration of self.  The panels depict scenes of the seated emperor passing out coins to his assembled subjects…Liberalitas Augustorum…

In this very cursory glance at imperial LIBERALITAS, it becomes pretty evident that such generosity might well be expected to have provided political returns for the munificent emperor.  In general, it does seem that the Roman ideal of LIBERALITAS usually did come with some strings attached…quid pro quo you know…

I think that it’s safe to say that as it relates to Richard Armitage, LIBERALITAS is more like quid pro no quo…shall we say, LibeRAlitas?  You know where I’m going now right?  Doodledom of course!

Brief recap:

Richard Armitage is asked and agrees to provide a doodle for the NF Network Celebrity Doodle auction, and then pledges to match the winning bid…


Bids on said doodle are vigorous from the start…

doodle snip

and finish at an impressive amount that elicits a generous response from the artist

finish doodle

LibeRAlitas indeed…and not just from the man himself but also from so many people in this fandom whose generosity is inspiring.  It’s one of my very favorite things about Richard Armitage…that he seems to possess a great spirit of generosity, and that it attracts a collection of people who are incredibly generous themselves.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  If you look back through the annals of the fandom, you’ll find a wide variety of fundraising efforts spearheaded and supported by Armitage fans from all over the world.  As I type there is fantastic auction (Here, Here and Here) and a special distribution of Amazon sales (Here) to raise funds for relief efforts in Nepal.  Generous giving at work.  I am proud to be among you!

LibeRAlitas for all!!   

Hellooo??? Anyone in there????

Swing over to SpReAd the Love for an update…

SpReAd The Love

Oh HI!!!  Yes, we’re definitely still here, but spring sprang all over Jazzbaby and I….

dusting off gif

I’ve just been dusting things off a bit to get ready to give SpReAd the Love a little jumpstart, since lots of things have been happening on the kindness front.  A little further housekeeping is in order though, before we get to some new things…

book donationThe Children’s Book Challenge exceeded the fifty books to max out our anonymous donor’s matching cash donation pledge.  The funds were donated to Richard Armitage’s Just Giving page for Young Minds all the way back in March.  It is such a great experience to hear so many people talk about books that touched them and their desire to share that with a child.  Maybe I should build a “virtual library” page here with links to all our SpReAd the Love Children’s Book Challenge titles…future projects  🙂

Now, back to current…

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et alia: S#$t my family says (and does)…Installment ??

It was cold and windy on Tuesday…a textbook Winnie the Pooh “blustery day”…and I was idly pondering if Richard Armitage pumps his own gas as I stood at the pump with my hair blowing in my face.  (I concluded that unless he has someone to do it for him, he must since “full service” gas stations are pretty much obsolete, in the US at least)  Fuel loaded and gas cap secured, I wandered into the mini market to stock up for Twelve Hour Tuesday.  The following is a post to my RL Facebook feed recounting the events…


Groucho Marx glasses avatar is me….

Good grief.  I probably should have been more mortified than I was – I can only imagine how my toilet paper tail must have been blowing about in all that wind at the gas pump!  I’d like to also point out the loving reactions of my family and friends…

Helicopter Beanie is a friend from school

Red Fez is my cousin (more like a sister)

Pink Heart is a dear friend

And it get’s better…as Red Fez Cousin points out…Pink Heart Pal is an inquiring mind…


I decided to tell the story myself to spare Red Fez Cousin the stomach cramps she would surely suffer as she laughs herself into spasms every time she tells this story…for the last three DECADES  😉

What can I say?  It’s a gift!!



inter alia: A belated Happy Mother’s day….REALLY belated!

I found this on my RL Facebook feed and almost died laughing…


This papyrus fragment records the remains of a letter sent from in the first century AD from one Hikane o her son Isidoros and it goes a little something like this:

The parentheses represent insertions of standard bits of text that are not actually present on the papyus, but can be easily inferred.

The parentheses represent insertions of standard bits of text that are not actually present on the papyus, but can be easily inferred.

Ahhh, a mother’s capacity for laying guilt LOVE is timeless!

(sounds like something I said yesterday after Mini Me woke me up from my Mother’s Day siesta for the third time in 45 minutes.)


I have maybe the coolest (or could be hottest) “Richard Armitage meets Classical Tradition” post cooking, but I can’t do it because…


Grading.  Five sections, 100 students times one too many assignments = ⇑See Above⇑

Now, the students in the crowd are now doubt saying something like, “You know, there is an easy solution to your current plight that you might have enacted in January.”  Yeah, I get it – assign less, grade less.  Freaking life long commitment to academic arete bites me again.

If you don’t hear from me by Tuesday…send in the cavalry….they should look like this:

guy a horse

Happy Weekending Armitageworld!