Tweed jackets and dusty classrooms

Did you soak up all the dates, remember all the Kings & Queens and generally swot up in your school history lessons?

I certainly didn’t and scarped through my exam with the lowest “Pass” rate.

Let’s be honest the best teachers were the ones who gave their topic some sort of context, and spoke with enthusiasm.

I mean who really wants to know the exact dates when X did this or Y did that?

Not me.

The story of Ravenna in the North East of Italy, just a shade off the Adriatic coast is a reflection of shenanigans of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Chuck in a few Goths, Franks stir gently and add various spices.

As I read Judith Herrin’s well researched book I found my mind wandering. A book with a 100 page appendix really doesn’t float my boat.

One section was so long winded, that I resorted to You Tube. A seven minute video gave me a far better understanding of the events than page upon page of text.

Does this mean the book isn’t any good?

Not at all.

It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

A visit to this historic city might ignite some sort of interest, but detailed text (for me) isn’t half as inspiring as say Robert Harris painting a picture on a key character (whilst letting his imagination run wild).

I learnt a fair bit, but I carry passages of Imperium, Lustrium, and Pompeii years after reading them.

Having finished this “doorstep” all I recall are the power struggles, and disputes about what exactly constitutes true Christianity.

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