My introduction to the classical world was like many others through the book D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, unlike others I’ve continued on that journey. As a child I devoured everything I could find about mythology, especially Greek and Norse mythology. It wasn’t until a few years later that my interest for Ancient Egyptian mythology developed and as embarrassing as this is to admit that introduction came through the Charlton Heston movie, “The Ten Commandments.” I suppose at a young age I missed the point of the film, instead of focusing on the plight of the Hebrews I was fascinated by the Egyptian faith in a panoply of gods and goddesses. It was much the same when I saw the movie “Ben-Hur” it wasn’t the story of Jesus that captivated me, but instead Roman society.
I began devouring more than just picture books on mythology and classical history. I was fascinated by the Ancient Greek culture and dichotomy between the city states of Athens and Sparta. I must confess I was a bit late to the Alexander the Great fascination, partly due to his short reign and the collapse of his empire. On the other hand the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage captivated my complete attention. I read, “The Decline and Fall Of the Roman Empire” at a relatively young age. To say it was eye opening would be an understatement. To view a society I had such fascination with not through the eyes of a child, but from an adult’s point of view. In retrospect I read it too early, but the damage had been done. My parents supported my interest in mythology purchasing the Time Life series, “The Enchanted World.”
Fast forwarding to high school I read Dante’s “inferno “ for the first time and while much of it was over my head I was equally fascinated. A dual love and fascination for the classical world and the medieval world developed. Entering college I double majored in Literature and Anthropology with a heavy dose of philosophy classes thrown in for good measure. I ended up with my degree in Literature, just a couple of classes shy of an additional degree in both Anthropology and Philosophy. Really though how many liberal arts degrees does one person need. In college I had grown fascinated with medieval women writers such as Marie de France, Christine de Pizan, Hildegard Of Bingen, and Catherine of Siena. My intentions was to graduate school focusing on medieval women writers. Finding a program that supports that interest is more difficult than one might imagine. I decided to take a year off and never returned to school, although my interests never faded.
This website is a combination of my study, my own interpretation and research into the Classical World. Don’t hold it against me if from time to time I take diversions into the medieval world and even the renaissance occasionally. The focus though will remain what this website was designed to help people learn about the classical world and perhaps if I do my work well nurture that seed inside each one of us into ancient history and make the figures of this time more human and not a stale statistic in a long discarded textbook.
Enjoy the ride I know I will. Any and all comments and criticism are greatly welcome
Mark Beré Peterson