Julia Balbilla

I, Balbilla, heard, when he sang from the stone,
The divine voice of Memnon or Phamenoth.
I had come here with my beloved queen Sabina;
The sun was holding its course for the first hour.
In the fifteenth year of Emperor Hadrian,
When Hathyr was in his twenty-fourth day.
On the twenty-fifth day of Hathyr.

-Julia Balbilla, poem 4, 130 CE, Egypt

Julia Balbilla (d. after 130 CE), exiled Hellenistic princess and friend of the Roman Empress Vibia Sabina, is someone we mostly know from her poetry.  She was the granddaughter of both King Antiochos IV of Commagene,* who was accused of conspiring against the Romans  in 72 CE and was subsequently deprived of his kingdom and forced to move to Rome.  Her other grandfather was Tiberius Claudius Balbillus, astrologer and Prefect of Egypt.

Julia was born shortly after the move.  Her poetry shows that she was probably extremely well educated and had access to pretty much any luxury she might desire.  This may have been when she first met the future Empress Sabina.  It is likely that after the death of her grandfather she moved first to Athens and then to Alexandria with her mother, Claudia Capitolina.  At some point in her life, perhaps later on, she visited Sparta to dedicate a monument to her cousin Herculanus who had died there.

In 129-130, she accompanied Hadrian, Sabina, and Hadrian’s lover Antinous in their travels through Egypt.  It was during this time that she wrote the four poems we have of hers.  In late 130** the company visited the statue of Memnon near Thebes.  Julia’s poetry can still be seen inscribed there, three on the right, the fourth on the left.  In them, she praises Hadrian, Sabina, her own ancestors, and by extension, herself.

There are several significant things about these poems.  First, the lines about Hadrian in the first poem suggest that Hadrian commissioned her to write them.  Second, all four are written in Aeolic Greek, the same dialect used by Sappho, suggesting that Julia took the earlier poet as inspiration.  Third, the ways she talks about the Empress suggests a close relationship between the two of them.  How close the relationship might have been or what it’s nature was remains unknown, but her use of Sappho as a model is suggestive.

*Located in what is now south central Turkey.
**Only about a month after Antinous drowned.

Sources/Further Reading:
Plant, Ian Michael, ed. Women Writers of Ancient Greece and Rome: An Anthology. Oklahoma: Oklahoma University Press, 2004. [Note: this book may be found on Google Books here.]
Pomeroy, Sarah B. Spartan Women. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Julia Balbilla - Wikipedia

Mark Andreas Sheppard (born 30 May 1964) is an English actor and musician, born in London of an Irish-German background. He is often credited as “Mark A. Sheppard”. Sheppard is best known for his recurring roles as the demon Crowley on Supernatural, lawyer Romo Lampkin on the Battlestar Galactica reboot, Interpol investigator James Sterling on Leverage and small-time crime lord Badger on Joss Whedon’s Firefly.

Height: 5’ 8½” (1,74 m).

i just was realistic gay characters like some people are so secretly gay that you wouldn’t know unless they said and then there are people who are a freaking gay parade every say of their lives and i just wanna see that whole spectrum on my television


we have an official book coming out this October ! its all about how we got together and became a band. we’ve made it just for you, as a thank you for everything you’ve done for us :D if you like, you can preorder it now from http://smarturl.it/5SOSOfficialBook x


Polish art deco painter, glamorous socialite. Born to a wealthy family in Poland, she escaped to Paris with her husband in 1918, where she immediately began to pursue painting. Her style borrowed from the deconstructed forms of the cubists, combined with the sleek decadence of art deco. Well known for her scandalous sexual appetite along with her art, she was constantly having affairs with men and women, and fell into a circle of notable bisexual women including Vita Sackville-West and Colette. In 1939, she moved to America with her second husband to escape WWII, and became a favorite artist among the Hollywood set. Her work fell out of favor in the 1960s, only to find a new surge of popularity shortly before her death.


19th Century Author Biographies book cover series by Hilary Gaby

Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, & Mark Twain


The concept for this biographical book cover series was centered around the author’s place of origin, and features elements that directly reference those places. A papercraft technique was used to create a three dimensional landscape scene which would enforce the idea of the author’s setting and help achieve a sense of cohesiveness through out the series.

I chose to incorporate fences and other small icons to depict the author’s life and to help illustrate what kind of environment these literary legends were exposed to and how that had direct influence on  some of the most famous stories in history.

"I couldn’t stand musicians who looked so serious up on stage, like they were constipated. If you want to look that way, go get a fucking root canal. Playing music is a pleasure and a privilege."

~Steven Adler


Van Gogh’s biography as a graphic novel

Vincent van Gogh is arguably one of the world’s most popular artists and a man who led a turbulent, tragic life in pursuit of his dreams. 

A brief but tumultuous time in his life, the year or so the artist spent in Arles, south of France, is the focus for the graphic biographical novel by the Dutch writer and illustrator Barbara Stok. Her vibrant clear storytelling evokes the energy, colour and passion of Van Gogh’s work, reinterpreting some of his most acclaimed paintings.  

Barbara Stok’s drawing style has a unique quality – it is simple, almost childlike – and this very simplicity gives her the ability to distil a scene down into its root nature with an elegant clarity. 

An affectionate tribute to the “tortured artist” is merely a brief snapshot into his troubled life, but it’s more than enough to give us a clearer understanding of the drive behind some of the most admired works of all times. Behind every work of art there is a human being trying to make sense of the world and find their place in it.

"Vincent" was officially commissioned by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.


Roald Dahl
  • Roald Dahl
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcast: Roald Dahl, author of Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

By the end of his life Dahl was bitter at not receiving the knighthood that he felt he deserved, and he became increasingly self-important, ordering a Rolls-Royce from his publisher’s to collect manuscripts from his home. He was 6 feet 6 inches tall, a chain-smoker, a lover of fine wine, a collector of contemporary painting, a grower of roses and orchids, a picture restorer, and a gambler on horses. He looked after 100 budgerigars that flew wild around his garden. He was a chocaholic. In the garden hut where he wrote he kept a huge silver ball made by packing together the silver paper from all the chocolate bars he ate. He also kept there as a trophy to show visitors one of his arthritic hip bones which had been replaced.

The story of Roald Dahl is one of over 200 episodes available from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’s podcast archive. New episodes are released every second Wednesday.

Image: Roald Dahl, by the Library of Congress. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

"Even my grandmother made it out with Mom and Jamie one night to see me play at one of our shows at the Troubadur. […] The show was a sellout, and I remember looking down and seeing her with a big smile on her face pointing at me and telling anyone who would listen, "That’s my grandson, that’s my grandson". I never saw her looking so proud" ;D
~Steven Adler, “My Appetite For Destruction”

Study Tag -- from Med-Student Cranquis

So pequalsmd tagged me in this “study tips” thingy, specifically: I tag: cranquis (throwback tips lol)”… ??!

"Throw-back tips", eh, you young whippersnapper? Well then, let’s throw back this entire post to Younger Cranquis (since I’ve already figured out how to communicate with him at age 20), and see how he would’ve replied to this post during medical school… 

You ready to step in here, Med Student Cranquis?


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Happy Birthday George Orwell!

Did you know…

  • George Orwell’s birth name was Eric Arthur Blair. 
  • George Orwell was born in Motihari, Bengal, a British colony in what is now India but raised as an English citizen. 
  • In 1937, George Orwell spent six months fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the left-wing Republican government, which was under attack from General Francisco Franco’s fascists.
  • In August 1941, Orwell took a job with the BBC producing wartime propaganda broadcasts for India. He created cultural radio programs featuring English and Indian authors, while still writing essays and reviews for left-wing publications.
  • In September 1943 he left BBC and took a job as the literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly socialist newspaper. He wrote book reviews and a column entitled “As I Please.”
  • In Aug 17, 1945, Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in the United Kingdom, overcoming initial resistance from publishers who believe it is too critical of Britain’s wartime ally Russia. (A Soviet spy working in the British Ministry of Information also helps to delay publication.) The novel, an allegory of totalitarianism, gets a positive reception and goes on to become one of Orwell’s best-known works. It’s published a year later in the U.S. Orwell has by now quit his post at the Tribune and is working as a freelance correspondent for the Observer.
  • In June 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. The novel, portraying a creepy dystopia of total government control, was a huge hit with readers and critics.
  • In January 21, 1950, Orwell died of tuberculosis. He was buried in an Anglican ceremony in Oxfordshire, England, under a simple marker reading, Here lies Eric Arthur Blair.

So what have we learned about Orwell?

1. Pen names are awesome. 

2. He was a badass and a highly political writer; it all makes sense now.

3. He had an awesome mustache! Seriously, google a picture. LOL


Her personality dazzled or melted everyone. She could just as easily conduct a conversation with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as with visiting Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. A friend summed it up: ‘It broke my heart. Just the look of that girl. It’s one of those magic things.’
—  Audrey Hepburn’s biography (written by Barry Paris), New York, 1996.