My flatmate is a medieval European historian, who reads original sources in Latin and he is usually accompanied by a Greek-Italian Egyptologist that he befriended at the school who lives nearby and can read, naturally, hieroglyphics.
Our dinner conversation this evening consisted of discussions on:
– the extent of Tamurlane’s empire and his brutality
– Charlemagne’s empire and his attempts to impose a uniform currency
– the comparative longevity of world empires
– just how much Lawrence disliked the Arabs
– the ages and development of Semitic languages
– the dominance of Franco-Teutonic epics in European history
– the utility of Farsi for writing poetry
– quotes from Team America
– the use of dialects in dubbing English speaking films for European audiences
– the varying use of Greek dialects in Homer’s writing
It is interesting to note that the topics of conversation amongst academics is not that much different than with geeks, other than the people contributing to the conversation have read much of the body of knowledge about various topics in the language of first hand sources rather than from Wikipedia.