On the Spot: Shadi Bartsch

‘Classics is the playing field for some very important questions.’

Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, 1796. Art Institute of Chicago.

Why are you a Classicist?

I want to understand the conceptual roots of the way I think.

What’s the most important lesson history has taught you? 

That when it repeats itself, no one notices. 

Which history book has had greatest influence on you?

A History of Science in World Cultures by Scott Montgomery.

What book in your field should everyone read?

Virgil and the Moderns by Theodore Ziolkowski.

Which moment would you most like to go back to?

None look too good to me as a woman.

Which historian has had the greatest influence on you?

Herodotus, for showing the cultural side of morality.

Which person in history would you most like to have met? 

Paul of Tarsus, so I could steer him off the road to Damascus.

How many languages do you have?

Too many; when I speak Italian, Chinese comes out.

What historical topic have you changed your mind on?

The reign of Cyrus the Great. 

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