Word Rap with Patrik (Klingan) Klingborg

UNRV What sparked your interest in ancient history?
Patrik (Klingan) Klingborg: Well, that is of course a very interesting question, but also difficult to answer. My parents used to bring me and my siblings along on their holidays in the Mediterranean and visiting Roman ruins were a mandatory part of our trips. Iím sure that provided an early influence. Then again, it canít explain my interest completely as neither my sister, nor my brother, became classicists. Even so, I do think that a combination of my childhood and pure luck should be blamed Ė my university studies in classical art and archaeology were certainly nothing more than a fluke. I simply wanted half a year off and ended up getting stuck.

UNRV: What aspect of the Roman period do you like best/worst?
Klingan: I must admit that Iím boring enough to prefer the early empire. Late antiquity on the other hand, canít stand it and I donít even really know why as I very well understand how interesting the period is.

UNRV: What is the most underrated person in antiquity and why?
Klingan: Hmmm, the problems with underrated characters are that they donít get credit and well, we donít really know anything about them. Iím sure that all of the really big guys had legions of underrated persons under them that supported and actually to a large degree, were responsible for the greatness of the ancient protagonists. So, Iíd say anyone of the anonymous persons under the great heroes of antiquity.

UNRV: If you could meet one person of the Roman Empire, who would it be and what would you ask?
Klingan: Well, I was considering Plato to ask him not to write his ďdialogsĒ (I find them difficult in translation, not even to mention in Greek), but no, not really. In general, Iíd be happy to meet anyone who had a great impact and ask for their motives. Brutus and Cassius pop up in my mind, but any local leader rebelling against the might of the Empire would do as well. What did they really think they could achieve? Was their life terribly enough to motivate them? Was it worth the blood? The fire?

UNRV: If you had to live in the Roman Empire where and when would you like it to have been?
Klingan: Iím sure that a lot of people are going to say Rome, but I think the city would have been absolutely disgusting so Iím going to name the large villa I worked at 2010-2011. Itís situated near a spring in a beautiful southern Italian valley (in the region of Basilicata) far away from the mortal dangers of the senate and people of Rome. I could also have fancied something like Stabia, but well, we do have the obvious Volcano problem thereÖ

UNRV: What lost Classical work would you like to have survived and why?
Klingan: Is it allowed to name anything but the lost works of Livy here? But actually, there is so much that I can hardly make a pick. I actually hope that I never have to because it would be so frustrating. The other parts of the Homeric cycle would however be lovely Ė the fall of Troy etc.

UNRV: What aspect of Roman history would you like to flush out with the Cloaca Maxima (i.e. get rid of)?
Klingan: Terribly sad to say it, but most stuff after Constantine. Simply bores me, especially the art. No clue why however and I would like to become more interested in the late Roman Empire. Help?

UNRV: What do you think is the most important aspect of the Roman period that has survived?
Klingan: I guess most people would say law, not even thinking about it but there is so much more to the Roman period. I think that picking one aspect doesnít even make any sense, as they are all part of a big whole. The greatest legacy would thus be a conglomerate of everything Roman we still preserve in our society: languages, architecture, art, cultural references. Itís a lot.

UNRV: What are your plans for the future?
Klingan: To sleep a lot. But before that Iím going to have to finish my Ph.D. thesis on Greek water supply (specifically cisterns) and a couple of dozen articles! I would very much like to teach at a university.

UNRV: When you open your fridge we would be surprised to see...?
Klingan: A lobster. Surprised and very very happy. As you might guess, we donít get paid that much as classists!

UNRV: The title of your biography would be....?
Klingan: Ouch, though one. I really donít know. Any suggestions?

UNRV:: Thank you for your time!

"Klingan is a long time member of UNRV and has posted several reviews at the site. He is also a Ph.D. candidate at Uppsala university where he writes about ancient Greek water supply system and water storage."

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