So you’ve started a course or you want to find out more about ancient history and not sure where to go? There are several places that will offer you access to the top research in your field. This is my list of the best online free resources. Get stuck in and enjoy.
In Our Time
Lord Bragg (Baron of Wigton) discusses cutting edge research topics with three leading academics. Subjects range from St Augustine’s confessions to echolocation, from Gnosticism to Philosophical Scepticism. In Our Time was first broadcast on 15th October 1998 and the BBC have the entire archive available to listen to online. A treasure trove of information and academic disputes.
Ancient Warfare Podcast
Very similar to In Our Time, this spin off from the magazine of the same name brings together the magazine’s contributors and editors to discuss recent articles. Although episodes are based on ancient warfare the topics take on broader discussions around society, art and historiography. They discuss a topic in detail without exhausting it. Their recent 1:30 hour show on the first ten minutes of Gladiator is an example of this.
Religions of the ancient Mediterranean
Philip Harland’s podcast series is very academic and specialised, examining both ancient religions in general and New Testament and apocryphal texts generally. It’s worth listening to you with a pad and pencil in hand but you could probably jog to it as well.
Twitter has had a bad name of late for helping destroy Western democratic institutions but it is still a good tool to find out what top researchers are saying about their topics and wider subjects. Good follows are Christina Riggs, Eleanor Robson and Eyob Derillo.
Museum websites are great resources for finding out more about different artefacts from the ancient world. The bigger museums offer high quality photos and crucial information on provenance. Naukratis: Greeks in Egypt by the British Museum is a good example.
A lot of museums also manage blogs. The British Museum also has a particularly fine blog.
The British Library have recently digitised their ancient Greek manuscript collections. This is a major project and although not all subjects have been digitised in such depth you will find important manuscripts online in Latin, Coptic and Syriac.
Egyptian Exploration Fund Flickr
Founded in 1882 by Egyptologist and novelist Amelia Edwards, the EEF has funded several prominent excavations over the years. They received reports and documents from all these digs including several photographs. The photographs have been slowly digitised by a team of volunteers. Several items went to different collections and as a result the EEF’s flickr account is a great record of artefacts and a brilliant resource to draw upon for study or inspiration.
Looking for study resources to help learn an obscure ancient language? Head to Lexicity. They have compiled resources for several languages from the big ones like Coptic and Syriac to more obscure, Latin, Old Irish, Gaulish and Ugaritic amongst others.
Marginalia is a blog ran by the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB). Not specifically an ancient history resource, it’s full of well written articles covering topics as varied as provenance of manuscripts, politics of ancient history scholarship and modern reception and the geopolitical implications of scholarship. A high level read that is as invigorating as it is interesting.
One of the best blogs in the business, Rhakotis is the online magazine for Greco-Roman Egypt and beyond. You know you are in safe hands with this. Read, enjoy and expand.