Educational Philosophies

I’m teaching 320 students this coming semester in two mega sections.  This is double last semester.  I’m loving the way large classes are challenging my pedagogic approach and make the time I invest in teaching prep feel much more meaningful and important.

For other professional reasons I’m going to need  to produce a new Educational Philosophy this semester.  The problem is the one I first drafted back in 2007 (I think), has been so well received that it has never in the last nine years or so seemed worth my effort to substantially update it.  I never meant it to be static, programmatic statement, but it has become such.  I need to update my teaching portfolio.  I’ve leaned on this ‘original’ too long.

Original Educational Philosophy

My classes are prepped, the students divided into teams (8 students per team, 20 teams per class), the internal websites are up and running.  It’s time to give some attention to the mentoring program I’m running this year, think about applicants to our PhD program, figure out when I’m going to have time to tackle this educational philosophy task and my teaching portfolio in general, and then get back to writing that presentation for Boulder the first weekend in March.  (I shouldn’t have started thinking about my longer to do list. Arg…)

Anyway.  Why is all of this here? Well, this blog is about keeping me on target and loosening up my writing when I get stuck.  Academic writing is going really well these days, only limited by my other time commitments.  This damn ‘philosophy’ has been being avoided and kicked down the road.  So I’m going to start brain storming about it here.

A list of random things that should be in my new E.P.:

  • How I approach technology
  • Why I believe in ‘extra credit’
  • How I address issues of diversity and privilege (my last one is all meritocracy/stars in my eyes/warm fuzzies on this stuff)
  • How teaching intersects with my research
  • Why I like large sections
  • What my teaching challenges are and how I may address them
  • My obsession with transparent pedagogy, communicating WHY I do what I do.

Okay.  That gives me some stuff to kick around in my brain and ideas for individual posts.

Don’t worry we’ll be back to coins and Rome soon, but my life demands I work on some other stuff as well.



Chicken head, oh Chicken head

what are you really?!


When I’m trying to get a sense of what an engraver actually intended to represent, I collect little snippets of coin images to help focus my eye.  After a while I start seeing things; I swear this looks more like a chicken hat than anything else.


Anyway in all seriousness, the high helmet with streaming hair on this rider is the only real identifying attribute.  Crawford says the following:


Do you know what DS ii, 1448 stands for? If so, PLEASE leave me a note in the comments.  There’s been some recent discussion of the type, but not really about identifying the rider.  I don’t think it’s Tremulus’ equestrian statue… but the Marcii Philippi’s interest in equestrian themes is striking.

Links to CRRO type (RRC 259/1)

Update 2/15/2016:

Discovering Daremberg and Saglio has helped clarify things for me. It seems Crawford was drawing a comparison to this type of imperial iconography:


This cannot be right.  Given the lack of flowing plumage.  I may not have been too far off with my impression of feathers…  I think this earlier portion of DS, s.v. galea is better parallel.

They call this curieux, but then go on to compare it to the helmet of Mars on this coin type (RRC 400/1b):

links to acsearch entry


This helmet type has been linked to the concept of virtus in Republican Rome by Myles McDonnell (see esp. chapter 4; note also his connections between virtus at the equestrian representations!).

We can also draw into the conversation here the iconography of helmets on the so-called altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus:



On the iconography of the three-plumed helmet, consider the two Etruscan figurines on the left:

Links to JSTOR article

A Call for a wider Roman Citizenship?

links to entry

So this is the sort of thing some people say about this coin :

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(google book link)

And this as well:

links to preview page with discussion

I’m skeptical.  I think Marcius Ancus is there more as the founder of Ostia than as an advocate for integration.  Cf. my earlier discussion of the bronzes in this series, here and here.

CRRO entries on RRC 346.



A Short History of Roman Interactions with Kings by M. Tullius Cicero

From his Pro Sestio (Latin here):

57 King Ptolemaeus, who, if he had not as yet been himself styled an ally by the senate, was at all events the brother of that king, who, while his cause was identical with his, had long since received that honour from the senate; and was of the same family, sprung from the same ancestors as his brother, and had the same claims from the antiquity of his alliance; who, lastly, was a king, and if not yet an ally, still most certainly not an enemy; was enjoying the kingdom which had belonged to his father and his grandfather in peace and quiet, relying on the sovereign power of the Roman people in a condition of royal ease and tranquillity. While he was never thinking of any such thing, never suspecting any such thing, a motion was made and put to the vote of the same troop of labourers and artisans that he while sitting on his throne, with his purple and sceptre and all the other ensigns of royal authority, should be placed at the mercy of a public crier;—a motion was made, I say that the Roman people, which has been in the habit of restoring their kingdoms even to those kings whom they have subdued in war, should order that a king who was a friend of the nation, who was not even said to have done them any injury, who had never had any claim preferred against him or any demand for the restitution of anything, should have all his property confiscated and sold with his own person and liberty.

58 That year was a year of many cruel, of many shameful, of many turbulent proceedings, but I know not whether I ought not deservedly to call this the nearest in iniquity to that crime which their wickedness committed against me. Our ancestors determined that that celebrated Antiochus called the Great, after he had been subdued in a long and arduous struggle by land and seas, should be king over the districts within Mount Taurus. They gave Asia, of which they deprived him, to Attalus, that he should be king over that district. With Tigranes, king of the Armenians, we waged a serious war of very long duration; he having, I may almost say, challenged us, by inflicting wanton injuries on our allies. He was not truly a vigorous enemy on his own power and on his own account, but he also defended with all his resources and protected in his territory, that most active enemy of this empire, Mithridates, after he had been driven from Pontus; and after he had been defeated by Lucullus that most excellent man and most consummate general, he still remained in his former mind, and kept up a hostile feeling against us with the remainder of his army. And yet this man did Cnaeus Pompeius—after he had seen him in his camp as a suppliant and in an abject condition—raise up and placed on his head again the royal crown which he himself had taken off, and, having imposed certain conditions on him, ordered to continue king. And he thought it no less glorious for himself and for this empire, that the king should be known to he restored by him, than if he had kept him in bonds.

59 Therefore, Tigranes—who was himself an enemy of the Roman people, and who received our most active enemy in his territories, who struggled against us, who fought pitched battles with us, and who compelled us to combat almost for our very existence and supremacy—is a king to this day, and has obtained by his entreaties the name of a friend and ally, which he had previously forfeited by his hostile and warlike conduct.

That unhappy king of Cyprus—who was always our ally, always our friend, concerning whom no single unfavourable suspicion was ever reported to the senate or to our commanders in those parts—has now, as they say, while alive and beholding the light, been seized and sold with all his means of support, and all his royal apparel. Here is a good reason for other kings thinking their own fortunes stable, when by this example, handed down to recollection from that fatal year, they see that one tribune and six hundred journeymen have power to despoil them of all their fortunes, and strip them of their whole kingdom!

In sum, a kingdom for every king, a chicken it every pot, and whoa, oh whoa how much worse we are than our fore-bearers.  Damn Demagogues.


My 300th Post: So Many Types of Laurel

Pliny NH 15.40: the Delphic laurel is a uniform greener colour, and has very large berries of a reddish green; and that this laurel is used to make wreaths for the winners at Delphi, as it is for generals going in triumph at Rome. …  Another addition is the royal laurel, which has begun to be called the Augusta laurel, a very large tree with a very large leaf and berries without any rough taste. Some say that the royal laurel and the Augusta are not the same, and make out the royal to be a special kind, with longer and broader leaves. The same persons … much to my surprise give the name of triumphal laurel to one that has no berries, and say that this is the one used by persons celebrating a triumph—unless the use of it began with his late Majesty Augustus, as we shall show, as sprung from the laurel which was sent down to him from heaven, which was a very low growing tree with a short, crinkled leaf, and very rarely met with.

I thought I might save my 300th for something extra cool but this is just another note to self. 

Delphic Laurel = Triumphal Laurel, no problem just an agonistic type of symbolism

Royal Laurel = Augusta Laurel, so… that which is fit for kings is reserved for emperors?!

And the Divine Augustan Triumphal Laurel is something else entirely…