Sample Saturday: “Two Days in June”

Two Days in June V2Hi, everyone. Today’s sample is from Two Days in June, my two-part short story about the June Rebellion in Paris. The event started 189 years ago today and, honestly, if Victor Hugo had never been caught behind one of the barricades, we probably wouldn’t know much about it. Hugo commemorated the events in Les Miserables. In addition to Two Days in June, I touch on the events in Bayou Fire, as Evangeline is in Paris when they occur. I hope you enjoy this sample.

They called themselves the Friends of the Abaissé, an adjunct of the Society of the Rights of Man. To Grantaire’s cynical eyes, they were just another Sorbonne fraternity: wealthy young men playing at philosophy and high-flown ideals of revolution and war without having the slightest idea of the true cost of either. Each time they agreed to meet at the ABC Tavern (“I’ll see you at the Abaissé”), they reveled in their own cleverness at making a pun.

If Combeferre was the group’s guide and Courfeyrac its center, as they’d all often opined, Enjolras was its Chief. When the other men spoke of their mistresses, Enjolras claimed that la Patrie — the Republic — was his only woman.

Of course, Grantaire thought that was another glorious pun. Enjolras’ love was the plump, delightful Marianne, whose parents had named her for the spirit of the Republic. She shared a flat with Olympe, who had nearly as much a hold on Grantaire as his beloved wine.

Wine. Yes, he needed more wine. Perhaps a lengthy toast to the people’s general would be in order once he got to the tavern.

Want your own copy of Two Days in June? Here are the cover copy and purchase links:

Starvation. Fear.

Fighting in the streets.

It’s June 1832, and Paris is once again at war. The students of the Sorbonne rise up against those in power, believing that right and the people are on their side.

But King Louis-Philippe has other plans.

Read Two Days in June, the latest edition of Pocketful of Stories, and enter the world of Les Miserables.

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Marie Laveau’s husband disappeared 200 years ago, but an LSU student thinks she finally found him | Entertainment/Life |

For decades, Laveau was the city’s premier voodoo priestess, renowned as a healer and counselor. As Harrington explained, voodoo was an amalgam of ancestral beliefs brought to New Orleans by enslaved Africans. To chroniclers of the time, it was described as everything from “fake mumbo jumbo stuff” to “demonic orgies and blasphemy.” To members of the Crescent City’s European establishment, the singing, dancing and other aspects of voodoo ceremonies were perceived as a threat.

According to Harrington, Laveau and her fellow voodoo practitioners “may not have discouraged their fears.”

Marie Laveau’s husband disappeared 200 years ago, but an LSU student thinks she finally found him | Entertainment/Life |

Click through to read a fascinating article about an anthropoologist who may have solved the mystery of Marie Laveau’s missing husband, Jacques Paris. Marie is featured in two of my books: Bayou Fire, and Yellowjack and the River Man.

Reconstructing the Menu of a Pub in Ancient Pompeii – Gastro Obscura

As a classical archaeologist whose research centers on food and food preparation in the Roman Mediterranean, I am overjoyed by finds like these, as the information obtained from them shines a bright light on the daily lives of classes of Roman society that are poorly represented in ancient literary sources: slaves and average, working Romans. Spaces like this thermopolium provide archaeologists like me with a realistic portrayal of what Roman food culture was like in comparison to sensational portrayals of Roman food culture, such as those found in satirical literary sources like Petronius’s “Trimalchio’s Banquet” or portrayed in opulent frescoes like those adorning the dining-room walls of the House of the Vettii, an exceptionally well-preserved luxury domus.

In contrast, this thermopolium invites us into an archaeological environment that gives an indication of where many everyday Pompeiians enjoyed cooked meals. According to Dr. Anna Maria Sodo, director and archaeology officer of the Antiquarium of Boscoreale, in the Vesuvian area alone, only 40 percent of the urban dwellings of the working poor and 66 percent of the middle-class homes had fixed hearths for cooking. To meet this high demand, there were at least 80 food and beverage outlets at Pompeii (the site has yet to be fully excavated). But what types of foods did these thermopolia serve to the everyday citizens?

Reconstructing the Menu of a Pub in Ancient Pompeii – Gastro Obscura

Click through for a fascinating look at ancient Roman foodways, including two recipes!

2,000-year-old skeleton identified as senior Roman soldier on Vesuvius rescue mission

“When I arrived at Herculaneum in 2017 I realized that a lot of research went into the skeletons, but nobody thought of analyzing the tools found next to it,” Francesco Sirano, director of the archaeological site at Herculaneum, told NBC News. “So my team and I took a closer look, and what we found was astonishing.”

When the skeleton was discovered 30 years ago, several clues set it apart from the hundreds of others unearthed by archaeologists. It still had a leather belt around its waist, and by its side there were a sword with an ivory hilt, a decorated dagger and a bagful of coins. Still, the skeleton was put on permanent exhibition and identified as a generic soldier.

In-depth analysis revealed that the belt was once decorated with images of a lion and a cherub made of silver and gold. The sword’s scabbard was also decorated with the image of an oval shield.

“All these clues suggest that he was not a simple soldier, more likely a high-ranking officer, even a praetorian,” Sirano says, referring to the elite units who served as personal bodyguards to Roman emperors. “Praetorians wore oval shields. And the coins he had on him was coincidentally the same amount of a praetorian’s monthly wage.”

Whatever the rank of the officer, Sirano said there is no doubt that he was part of a rescue mission launched by a roman fleet following the eruption of the Vesuvius. Recommended

2,000-year-old skeleton identified as senior Roman soldier on Vesuvius rescue mission

Mary Beard: ‘The ancient world is a metaphor for us’ | Financial Times

Classics, the study of the literature, philosophy and history of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, long occupied a foremost place in the western cultural and political imagination. It encompasses everything from the Greek epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey and the philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, to the rise of Athenian democracy, the fall of the Roman republic and the theatres, baths and libraries that the Romans left from Scotland to the Sahara. Dante drew on Virgil, Karl Marx on Aristotle. Political scientists still bandy about the term “Thucydides Trap”, named after the Greek historian, to describe how rising powers come into conflict with established ones.

Beard, however, is far more than an advocate for the relevance of the ancient world. What has made her books and documentaries so refreshing is her scepticism: she is willing to demolish things long held as true about the ancients. She has also been part of the movement to expand Classics’ boundaries, leading early courses on women and the body, for example, when women — along with slaves, migrants and regions outside Italy and Greece — were marginalised by the mainstream. The Roman empire is a “history of people of colour”, she says. Another example is her focus on Rome’s evolving cosmopolitanism: she concludes SPQR, her history of Rome, with the grant of citizenship by the emperor Caracalla in AD212 to more than 30m people — men, of course — across the empire.

Mary Beard: ‘The ancient world is a metaphor for us’ | Financial Times