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The Working-Classicists Christmas List

A series of Corinthian columns, lit at night, with blue fairy-lights hanging over

It’s that time again! (don’t tell me it isn’t, it is). It’s time to talk about Christmas. Even if you can’t bring yourself to start defrosting Mariah Carey and the thought of a mince pie in October turns your stomach, it is ALWAYS a good idea to get Christmas shopping out of the way before the mad rush (and price hikes) of late December. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll find something perfect at Tesco on Christmas Eve, instead, take a look at our wonderful selection of unusual goods for the history-lovers in your life. We’ve also avoided the usual suspects: no Amazon, no British Museum, nowhere we actively know has bad practices, nothing prohibitively expensive, and nothing glaringly obvious. We’re not sponsored by any of these and we don’t have affiliate links, so if you buy from this list we get shit all. You should still do it, though. If you fancy helping us run things here, you can always donate to us on for our eternal gratitude and some Christmas wishes. So without further ado, here’s part one of our Classicist Christmas List…

A pair of amphora-shaped earrings from Plato's Fire

Gift: Amphora Hoop Earrings Price: £26 Link: Who for?: Anyone with a hole in their ear. The fabulous. The snappy dresser. The classy classicist. Description: These gorgeous amphora earrings are a glam and subtle way to show your appreciation for the ancient world, lending a bit of mystery to your aura in a way that an SPQR tshirt just doesn’t manage. They’re handmade from gold mirrored acrylic and surprisingly lightweight, and they’ll arrive in a sweet little reusable bag.

A dog sitting on a blanket featuring the Cave Canem design

Gift: Cave Canem Pet Blanket Price: £25 Link: Who for?: Animals. Humans with animals. Humans who think they’re animals. Description: History buffs will be over the moon with this cute canine mosaic blanket, which will serve as a stylish home statement whilst also keeping dog hair off the furniture. What more could you want? Plus, when people ask what it means you can pretend you’re amazing at Latin.

An interior of the colouring book by GreekMythComix, featuring a sphinx and triton

Gift: Ancient Greek Mythical Creatures Colouring Book Price: £12 Link: Who for?: Parents. Younglings. Chaotic types prone to stress. Meditators. Description: Another wonderful collection of drawings from Greek Myth Comix, this time fashioned into a colouring compendium for kids and adults alike. Each outline is just begging to be coloured in, and features details and dates of the original historical figures. Educational, sure, but also super relaxing.

A black apron featuring four images of women from Greek myths

Gift: Art Deco Women of Greek Myth Apron Price: £16-20 Link: Who for?: Bakers. Movers. Shakers. Anyone who fancies themselves as a bit of a chef. Description: Okay, you’ve learned how to make some classical treats, and that’s impressive enough, but imagine if you also looked the part. This apron was designed by Cora Beth Fraser, who has a wide range of art deco inspired classical artworks for sale. It’s so pretty, you’ll be sad to get flour on it.

Three playing cards featuring Agamemnon, Helen and Menelaus

Gift: The Iliad Playing Cards Price: £20 Link: Who for?: I quite literally cannot think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this gift. Description: Look at them. Do you even need a description? They’re playing cards. Hand drawn. With characters and designs taken from ancient art and The Iliad. They are gorgeous and are sure to come in handy around Christmastime.

A screenshot from the video game, showing the Antigonid Kingdom

Gift: Imperator: Rome Videogame via Steam Price: Varies – currently £35 Link: Who for?: Logicians. Role-players. Gaming enthusiasts. Emperors. Description: If the above image looks terrifying to you, don’t worry. Imperator: Rome is a strategy game with unnerving amounts of detail, where you are able to navigate the dangerous waters of politics and diplomacy in the ancient Mediterranean. Gamers of all stripes will enjoy this one, it’s a challenge, but ultimately very rewarding.

The front cover of the book, featuring a bust of Sophocles (?)

Gift: The Tomb of Oedipus: Why Greek Tragedies Were Not Tragic by William Marx Price: £14 Link: Who for?: Voracious readers. Open-minded scholars. Armchair philosophers. Description: William Marx prefaces the book by saying “nearly everything we think we know about Greek Tragedy is wrong. Here’s why.” If that isn’t a strong proposition for a book, I don’t know what is. This lively and quite genuinely funny book takes an unusual route down the path of writing about lost tragedies.

The game board - a hexagon - covered in smaller Egyptian images

Gift: I Saw It First: Egypt Boardgame Price: £20 Link: Who for?: Kids. Families. Pharaohs. People with good eyesight. Description: I Saw It First is essentially Dobble, you have to find a specific image on a card covered in images before anyone else gets there. This lovely edition is detailed with Ancient Egyptian figures, artworks, and creatures, and learning their names to shout them out in triumph is a great way to get your daily dose of edutainment.

The cookie-cutters, and their impressions in some white icing

Gift: Greek Vase and Coin Cookie Cutters Price: £13 for one, £26 for both (or here’s a cheaper, smaller option at £6) Link: Who for?: People who need out of a baking rut. People you trust to make you cookies. Description: These cookie cutters might get a lot of use at Christmas, but they’re a lovely thing to have all year ‘round. These have enough detail in the cutter that you won’t need to add much decoration, but can embellish to your heart’s content if you so desire. Plus, if you gift this, it might inspire them to make YOU some cookies. Win/win.

A Thebes jar-candle

Gift: Thebes Scented Candle Price: £16 Link: Who for?: Dreamers. Musers. Writers. People who spend too much time in a musty study. Description: Ahh the scented candle. The staple of self-care. The freshener of spirits. The Instagrammer’s reading light of choice. This one is a bit special though, as the Classical Candle Co makes scents and labels that transport you back to the ancient world. This Thebes inspired candle smells of black fig and honey, but there are plenty of classical figures, tales, and cities to choose from.

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