This site is for students in my class A Brief History of Roman Britain. Links to articles, interesting websites and other blogs will be posted here. This site will also provide a forum for class members to interact outside of the classroom and share information they have found with the rest of the class.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Posting Comments

In response to the news today that students are having problems commenting to this blog, I attempted to make a comment to the "Council for British Archaeology Research Reports" post. At first the site asked me to sign in, so I used my 'WRICHS archivist' Gmail account, and it looked as if I was about to successfully post a comment when a little triangle with an exclamation point appeared with the words
Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.
I signed back in using the Gmail account with which I created this blog and changed the settings for comments, and I am no longer requiring "members only" to make comments. I think that after looking at all the options, the easiest way to go is to open it up to comments from anyone; otherwise some of you might be restricted from participating if you don't have an OpenID, Google or Twitter account. I also set the blog comments to allow me to moderate the comments after they have been posted, not before. This way, you will be able to comment and converse with each other without waiting for me to "moderate" them(i.e., review comments before they they are posted).

However, experience on other blogs and web forums suggests that "spammers" and "trolls" will eventually find this opportunity to promote whatever product they are selling or make inappropriate comments. I think this is a compromise I am willing to risk in the interest of the free exchange of speech and ideas; if a spam problem arises I can always change it back to allow 100% moderation. And please don't feed the trolls, should any appear.

The only "hoop" still in place is that you are required to complete a word verification before leaving a comment, but at least bots (computer programs that go on the web and post "spam") won't be able to spam up our comments. I also ask that if you do comment, please sign your posts (with either your first and last name or with your email address), just to make certain only students from class are posting comments.

Finally, I am considering offering this course again, perhaps in the Spring, as a six-week course. Whether I do that or not depends entirely on if OLLI has room in its in schedule and if the public history & civics ed. grants I am applying for go through. If they are all funded, I probably won't have time. But getting grant funding is p. tough, and it is more likely that most or all won't get approved, in which case I will have the time to teach this class in an extended format. And regardless of that, I have very much enjoyed 'dusting off' my Roman history chops for this "Brief HIstory of Roman History" class, and appreciate all the positive feedback I have received.

I will be posting some more "History of Roman Britain" content here for your perusal between now and next class.

Mark Gardner


  1. Some of our class members might be interested in the Time Team videos with are available at This is a British archaeological series which visits (principally) Roman Britain sites.

    Also there is a really interesting film about Boudicca at

  2. wondered about the frequent use of the word corn in Caesar 's chronicles discovered that in Europe the word corn refers to any grain while in; the states it refers only to "maize"

  3. Kathleen - "Corn" comes from the Latin word for grain (granum). Outside the US today (and in ancient and medieval sources) the term "corn" is used indiscriminately for whatever the predominant grain is in a particular region. So when the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth in 1620 and the Wampanoags gave them maize, the English called it "corn" and from there the name stuck. In England today corn typically refers to wheat; in Scotland and Ireland, it means oats. Biblical references are probably referring to either wheat or barley.

  4. Have you thought about a course in ancient Ireland history?

    1. I have not mainly because it is outside my areas of expertise. I have never studied the archaeology of ancient Ireland -- and a course on that topic would largely be an archaeological study since the the ancient Irish did not leave any written records. It could also explore the folklore that was passed down in the early medieval period, when Ireland suddenly catapulted into becoming one of the most literate places in Europe. But that specific literary history too, I have not studied in much depth; I know a little bit about the influence of Irish monks in converting the pagan Anglo-Saxons in Britain, but that isn't the topic you are looking for and what I could say about even that is hardly enough to base a conversation on, let alone a class. But if you would like to read about this topic, I would recommend McCaffrey & Eaton's _In Search of Ancient Ireland_ and Cahill's _How the Irish Saved Civilization_. Also, Joyce's 1903 _A Social History of Ancient Ireland_ has been recently reprinted, and is a go-to for a compilation of original source materials on ancient Ireland.