Tag Archives: rome

The Traditional Purpose of Marriage: Why Same-Sex Marriage is Rare in History

Roman Marriage

You’ve heard the claim ad nauseam at this point: homosexual marriage is not real marriage. It’s most commonly defended from a Judeo-Christian religious position declaring that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman (if one ignores the polygamous bits of the Old Testament). Others, understanding religious arguments have zero place in American debates of law, have pointed to history, where the vast majority of marriages are, indeed, between a man and a woman. While there’s some

Bathroom Customs; or, Everyone Poops

Roman bathroom habits

There’s talk of late of where transgender people should go to the bathroom.  If you’re physically male, but you consider yourself female, do you use the men’s room or the ladies’ room?  What if you have gender reassignment surgery, so you’re physically a different gender than you were at birth? Or, a question I’ve always asked, long before I had heard of transgenderism: why the heck do we care? The Modern Urinal Of course, the urinal poses some problem, since

The Long, Long Fall of the Roman Empire

Thomas Cole's painting "Fall of Rome"

As a medievalist, 476 C.E. is arguably the beginning date of my time period, the Middle Ages. That is the date we normally give for the fall of the Western Roman Empire, although it is chosen somewhat arbitrarily, as Rome was not really functioning as an empire by that point. Which, I think, is not how people understand the fall of the Roman Empire. The great and powerful empire didn’t just get overrun one day, It was a slow, steady

Art of the “Dark Age”

Sainte Chapelle, gothic architecture

One of the things I deal with is the continuing use of the term Dark Age to describe the Middle Ages. It wasn’t that dark, at least not overall. It did get pretty ugly at the beginning, however, and it was definitely different from what came before it, which was the Roman Empire. …with whom Renaissance writers were in love with, and they were the ones who decided to call everything I love the Dark Age, meaning the unfortunate time