By Alex Mullen

We’ve done our best in the LatinNow family to support one another and our colleagues through this strange period. We’ve had regular online research meetings, joined lots of virtual conferences, given talks, submitted papers and had G&T nights to keep our ‘spirits’ up. We have always supported flexible working and have team members in different countries so we were perhaps not hit as hard as some other projects given our already extensive online resources. But, frankly, we have struggled with anxieties, lack of changes of scenery and personal contact with colleagues, kitchen table work and the sometimes less than helpful input of small humans. There have been several disappointments: plans to head to Vindolanda for research and public outreach had to be shelved, along with an exciting summer outreach events programme; numerous in-person conferences and meetings have been postponed, including a London hook-up with the wonderful EAGLE people and Pieter’s lectures in China; and our work (especially on RTI) with museums in Switzerland and the Netherlands has hit the annoyingly constantly-moving buffers.

A LatinNow research meeting in the new COVID format

But we know that we have so much to be thankful for and there have been some restorative highlights. In the Autumn we welcomed our 7th ‘LatinNow baby’, a boy (for those keeping score it’s 4:3 to the girls), and I’ve been at home more so have caught the first words and steps of LatinNow baby no. 6. We’ve saved money and trees not traveling and have managed to extend the contracts of our two current post-docs, Pieter and Anna, so that we can, together, make up for lost time. We’ve finished several articles that had been long in progress due to the usually very busy LatinNow schedules and Anna, Alan Bowman and I have completed the manuscript for two volumes of the ‘Roman Everyday Writing Manual’ which should be out in 2021. Work is also underway on editing the social factors in Latinization volume – we’ll be releasing cutting-edge chapters in Open Access format as soon as we possibly can. We’ve been particularly delighted to work with early career researchers and others who are preparing projects using our data.

The participants of the LatinNow ‘Social factors in Latinization’ conference in pre-COVID times

We have blogs lined up for your delectation in the New Year on our fancy database and LatinNow insights into the TV series Die Barbaren.

Season’s greetings and our best anti-Granola (as LatinNow baby no. 1 calls it) wishes to you all.