I am an historian. I study heresy, freethought, the recovery of the classics after the Middle Ages, and their impact on science, religion and atheism. My research on the Renaissance often takes me to Rome, Florence and around Europe. I work at rare books libraries, especially the Vatican. At home, I am a professor of European History.
This is mainly a travel blog, mixing my adventures with historical tidbits from the ancient world, Renaissance and other eras, plus photos, restaurant reviews, and recipes.
I am also active in the sci-fi, fantasy and anime fan communities, so sometimes discuss genre fiction and fandom. As a secondary interest, I study comics and the history of manga, especially the first generation of post-war manga authors including Shigeru Mizuki and Osamu Tezuka. I compose folk, fantasy and myth-themed music, performed mainly at sci-fi conventions, and I also staff conventions.
“Ex Urbe” means “from the city”, and in the ancient world and the Renaissance, signing a letter “Ex Urbe” meant it was sent from Rome. While I am not always in Rome, for me “Ex Urbe” means that I am always writing in that cultural vein which emerged from Rome’s long history. Whether I’m discussing the scandals of the Borgia popes, fragments of Greek mystery cults preserved by Roman followers, or the hazards of the Italian post office, it’s all “from the city.”
A Note on Comment Decorum:
Comments are great and I always look forward to them. That said, this is a public blog, and I want to keep it comfortable for all comers. I post nothing here that I wouldn’t be comfortable having read by my friends, family, colleagues, bosses and publishers. Please exercise comparable restraint and confine private things to private spaces. Thank you.
A Note on Anonymity:
This blog is currently anonymous. While I will plan to change that eventually, for now I am doing it simply so it won’t turn up in Google searches for my name. Why? Because I am a young academic and tenure committees are unpredictable. While I consider everything on this blog to be respectable and, in fact, I consider it a service to the field by to present historical ideas to a broad audience this way, you never know how any given department or tenure committee will feel about unconventional activities. Many would probably think this blog was a great facet of my career as an historian, but others might be more distrustful. Thus, for the next couple years, I want to be retain the option of keeping this blog separate from my career identity, just in case. I know some of my readers know who I am (and if anyone else is particularly curious you can send me an e-mail). For those who do know, I don’t mind if you tell others in person, I simply request that you avoid putting my real name alongside “Ex Urbe” anywhere on the internet, so Google won’t connect the two. Thank you.
From April 2012 to Winter 2013, a good friend, Athan, joined me on Ex Urbe as an editor, researcher and web assistant. His help with editing, site maintenance, layout and illustration made things much easier for a time. For the best of reasons (a full time job at the #1 company in his dream profession) he has moved on and is now helping only very rarely. Many thanks for the help he gave.