"How do you know all this stuff?"

My boss’s 17 year old daughter, Blonde Slacker Girl, just came into the office complaining about having to do a school History project on Cleopatra, and the differing views of her throughout history. She needed to find original source material.  

I instantly went into “Ah well, Cicero met her when she came to Rome, and I don’t think he was impressed, so you could use his letter to Atticus about her.  Then there’s Plutarch, of course, not exactly contemporary, but pretty ancient really.  Oh and Cassius Dio, he’s bound to have had something to say, that’ll all be on the net.” 

*looking these things up on the net for her as she stood behind my chair* 

“Then we could look at The Bridgeman Art Library online, they’ll have loads of old paintings and sculptures of Cleopatra in their archive, and I bet they’ll show different aspects of her depending on when they were created.  Visual depictions of people can tell you alot about how that person was viewed at the time the art was made.  See, these Egyptian reliefs all show her looking big and powerful and not particularly beautiful.  Very traditionally Pharaonic and Egyptian, not remotely Greek.  Did I mention she was Greek?  Well, of Macedonian extraction at least, because of Ptolemy,  you know, after Alexander the Great died, Ptolemy got Egypt.  Anyway, then later Roman stuff is all about her as a beautiful seductress, that’ll be because she got her claws into both Caesar and Mark Anthony.  The renaissance stuff right up to the Victorian period is all showing her half-naked and with a snake on her boob, that’s an asp, a kind of viper, she committed suicide by snake bite, after Mark Anthony was defeated by Octavian.  So that’s all about her doomed love.  Very Gothic.  So, these things say a lot more about the people who created them than about her, per se…” 

*turns around to smile at stunned, open-mouthed Blonde Slacker Girl*  

BSG: “How do you know all this stuff?”

For which, read: “Why do you know all this stuff?” 

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11 Responses to "How do you know all this stuff?"

  1. Oh oh oh!

    My brain does those translations too — sort of like that anyway.

    I just discovered a blog (OK. I knew about it for a while and didn’t read it and then I did and decided it is wonderful) that given this post, you might quite. I put it on my blog roll: Anners Scribonia.

  2. piereth says:

    ‘How do you know all this stuff?’

    ‘Because I READ, idiot girl!’


  3. jiva says:

    wow, well you just edumacated me. I likes it when people tells me stuffs. 😉

    still I would have enjoyed doing similar, although I must admit I would not have had such a good repatoire on that subject.

  4. Ed says:

    “For which, read: ”Why do you know all this stuff?” ”

    Because you are Trucie. And you just do.

  5. truce says:

    ABS – I thought you might find a similarity there! I’ll go and check the site you recommend.

    piereth – Exactement! Ah but bless her, she’s only 17, that’s SOOOOO young, and she is so gauche and worried about being cool – but she still has to wear school uniform, poor thing!

    jiva – ah well, I just get carried away on topics that I find interesting – I mean, how could she not care about someone so fascinating and charismatic that she is still a household name 2000 years later? Having said that, there are plenty of topics I couldn’t care less about. I discovered yesterday that oil refinery reservoirs are one of those topics.

    Ed – yup. You know me well 🙂

  6. Jenny says:

    I need to read more (besides Bridget Jones Diary or Confessions of a Shopaholic) … I wish I was more like you!

  7. truce says:

    Don’t wish you were more like me, Jenny, you’re a star as you are 🙂

  8. I am thought of as ‘clever’. That’s not a boast – just how it is. I’m also thought of as ‘eccentric’ – but I feel perfectly normal to me. The truth is that my brain is full of shite. But can I remember to pay my bills on time?

    I’m not mad. I’ve just read different books. Ken Campbell

  9. OmbudsBen says:

    I have to admit my image of Cleo is now totally shaped by the protrayal of her in the BBC/HBO series Rome.
    And come on, admit it. You wrote a paper about her for school, yeah?

  10. truce says:

    Edward – My brain is full of shite, too. But its shite that I quite like. 🙂 Sod the bill paying…

    OOooooh, I LOVED that series Ombudsben. But no, sadly I never wrote about Cleopatra either at school or university. I can’t rememeber much of what I did write about, I just know that wasn’t among them…

  11. Yep. We know stuff because we read, because we pay attention, because we don’t spend 75% of our time texting our little teenage buddies and playing video games. Now, I have to get off the net forthwith and get busy doing something about the weeds in my garden before I can’t find the flowers.

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