Posts Tagged ‘water’

Extreme weather events and their consequences always offer an opportunity for reflecting on how humans think about risk and uncertainty, and the different techniques involved in attempts at the prediction or anticipation of future developments. My interest in this is twofold: partly, involvement in a Bristol research group and a conference in November on the new(ish) interdisciplinary field of anticipation, and partly my teaching and research on ancient environmental history – both of which I really need to find time to write about more. As far as the latter is concerned, my focus is less on the reconstruction of ancient environmental conditions (we have scientists for that sort of thing, and brilliant interdisciplinary researchers like Michael McCormick at Harvard) than on the human factor: how Roman culture and patterns of thought were shaped by, and in turn shaped, the different environments which the Romans colonised. (more…)

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Yes, it’s been quiet on here over the summer: desperate (and fruitless) attempt to get a paper written in July when really needing a holiday, actual holiday, return to get paper finished so that I can get on with all the things I should be getting on with if I’d got the paper finished earlier, so that I can get on with the book that I really should be writing now. Normal service will doubtless be resumed as I start needing a few displacement activities from the book, but in the meantime – since it’s being precirculated anyway – herewith the draft of my paper on conflicts over water in the Roman empire, to be delivered at a fascinating session on comparative approaches to water resources at the Deutsche Historikertag in Mainz next week (on which I will report in due course). Yes, the paper ended up in a very different place from where it started (der Weg ist das Ziel, oder?), with a great deal of introductory flannel from when it suddenly occurred to me that I wouldn’t just be talking to ancient historians, and, yes, the title is indeed a tribute to the great New Year’s tradition of Dinner For One


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