From my diary

I’m still proofing the OCR of the English translation of Ibn Abi Usaibia, and reached p.639 last night.

The translation of Methodius De lepra is creeping forward.  I prompted the translator last night, and another couple of (short) pages arrived this morning, and I have just annotated them and sent them back.  These pages from the German need to be completed by a translation of a Greek fragment.  The translator has subcontracted that bit out, so it will need to be checked.  It will be interesting to see what that is like.

But great joy — a draft translation of John the Lydian’s section on December arrived this morning.  And in fact I had no comments on it, so it is pretty much done, and all I shall have to do is pay for it and upload it.

The translator of John also sent me a comment on the “cline” issue for the Sol Serapis post.

He’s also been working on the Origen Homilies on Ezechiel book, which I do hope we will manage to get out of the door sometime.  Most of it is done, and I think both of us will be glad to draw a line under it.

Meanwhile I’ve heard nothing from Chicago University since I accepted their price for digitising Loviagin’s Russian version of Methodius.  It’s hard to believe that any institution takes a week to answer an email.  I hesitate to nag them!

One of those winter viruses laid its cold hand on me at the weekend, so I’ve been a little under the weather since.  This morning the sun came out, and, feeling rather more normal, I drove up to Cambridge and visited the university library.  I think I got the very last free car parking space there!

It’s been a while since I’ve been — my pass ran out in June.  They will only issue me a pass for 6 months, which is tiresome.  There’s some noodle in the library administration with the fidgets — every time I turn up and reapply for another 6 months, there is some extra demand for evidence of this or that or the other.  But I got through the assault course OK.

I went to have a look at Vermaseren’s Mithras: the secret god.  I’ve only ever seen extracts of this, and I was looking to see whether he gave any sources for some of the line-drawings of reliefs.  And … he doesn’t!  I have a copy on order by ILL from my local library, so I will look at this some more then.  Curiously Cambridge did not have the original Dutch version of the book, nor the German translation.

Another item that I went to look for was the German original of Manfred Clauss’ The Roman cult of Mithras.  This was indeed present, but I couldn’t make much of it — I think the virus was trying to make a comeback at that point and my head grew fuzzy.

But what I did find was Reinhold Merkelbach’s Mithras; and I also found next to it the two volumes of Mithraic Studies edited by John R. Hinnells, Turcan’s book, and a few other items.  I was impressed with Merkelbach’s book — it looked very sound.  He surveys the data about Persian Mithra, and then starts a new section for Roman Mithras and states plainly that the latter was a new cult, using systematically elements borrowed from the Iranian mythology.  That seems to me to hit the nail on the head.

Finally, a bit of vanity: I went to the catalogue and searched for my own name, to see if the Eusebius book had been added to the library.  And it had!  Off I went, to find it next to all the other editions and translations of Patristic literature, but sadly minus its beautiful dustjacket.  I felt quite indignant for a moment at the loss of what had cost me so much time and labour; but then they do the same with all their books.  Nice to see it there, anyway.

I think I shall spend some time on the sofa now.  It’s been a busy day!

6 Responses to “From my diary”


  1. Maureen

    Hope you’re taking your vitamins and keep getting your rest. You need your strength back to keep doing all you do!

  2. Roger Pearse

    It’s funny how a tiny micro-organism can render so complex a creature as man helpless!

  3. Maureen

    Just like the end of the old War of the Worlds movie, except we’re the Martians. :)

    This will make you laugh. When I get a cold or feel one coming on, I like to drink chai tea with milk and honey (and possibly whiskey) because it’s good. Sometimes I add turmeric, because it’s an old home remedy from India, and I feel that everybody’s grandmas have good home remedies.

    Well, this magazine was touting the hot milk version with all the spices but without the tea (or whisky), which is called haldi doodh. So just as I was thinking how very Indian a name that was, the article announced that it was Native American.

    Apparently, somebody had a politically correct spellchecker….

  4. Maureen

    * Obviously, the whiskey version is better to take when the cold might only possibly be coming on, because afterward you’re probably taking something acetaminophen-based. And then if it turns out you weren’t sick yet, you just marvel at the amazing power of alcohol and spicy milky tea! :)

  5. Justin

    Chicago University will most likely be closed Thursday and Friday for the most part (Thanksgiving).

  6. Roger Pearse

    Ah, thanks! I didn’t know that.



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