Out & About rather a lot this month

On the verge of a Weekend of Geekery – we’re off to a model railway exhibition at a vintage vehicle museum tomorrow, and on Sunday we’ll be at RAF Museum Hendon (where the Sunderland is! I’ve been wanting to go there since I first decided to feature on Sunderland flying boats during my research for Under Leaden Skies, 3 years ago…). I’m fully expecting to come home full of enthusiasm & plot bunnies. Which is good! I need this! Still need to add lots of words to Under Leaden Skies before I send it in. It’s been a month, but it doesn’t feel like it… I have a feeling I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year…

Last week I was out & about in Chester. I grew up near there, and as with most places one grows up with, I rather took it for granted until I moved away. Haven’t really been back much since, and it must be getting on for 20 years since I wandered round there on my own. Oh, god do I need to set stories there… Definitely planning more trips back there for next year, including to the Military Museum.

Anyway, I was there for a lecture – “Romosexuality: Homosexuality in the Ancient World” by Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews. It was hosted by Chester Pride & Big Heritage, and was a fabulous event. Afraid I didn’t focus as much as I should have been on the speaker as he’d put together a powerpoint show of about a gazillion images which kept distracting me… However two things which stuck out:

  • Roman Marriage was a contract between a Roman citizen and another person (you had to be male to be a citizen), the gender of the other person was fairly inconsequential. Roman law continued to be used in further-flung parts of the empire long after it had collapsed. The last Roman Marriage contracted between two people of the same gender was in a desert town in what is now Egypt, sometime in the early decades of the 20th century. [This is one of the points where I thought “damn you, pictures, distracting me from important facts!”]
  • There have been at least two Roman burials found in Britain which are of men wearing “female” jewellery, i.e. rings & bracelets. Apparently one of them, the archeologists who found him preferred to hypothesise that the man had been a priest of a really obscure cult rather than just say “he’s a man who’s been buried in female attire”… Some people will go to all kinds of lengths, it seems, to ignore the LGBTQ+ history staring them in the face…

Wish I could remember more of the lecture, but it has definitely put me in the mood to learn more about the ancient world. Once I’ve finished expanding ULS, and written the next few things on my list, of course ;-)

Oh, and I’d recommend getting to any lectures by Mr Fitzpatrick-Matthews if you can. Brilliant speaker.