Ukip donor Arron Banks has taken the bold step of challenging Cambridge University classicist Mary Beard on her knowledge of Roman history, citing his schoolboy studies and Russell Crowe Hollywood epic Gladiator as his sources.
Beard - a professor of classics and a fellow of Newnham College since 1984 who has produced multiple series on Rome for the BBC - is one of Britain’s best-known scholars.
The university don clearly felt she had to intervene on Twitter when Banks - the multi-millionaire diamond mine-owning insurance tycoon who has bankrolled Ukip and played a key role in Brexit - started to link the fall of the Roman Empire with troubles affecting the European Union.
It started with this pithy summary of his position.
Beard, whose last series was Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit, suggested Banks may not have a complete grasp of the subject.
It didn’t take long for the mansplaining to begin, served with a roll of the eyes.
Beard suggested, again, history might be a little more complicated than that.
Rather than defer to a respected historian’s perspective, the businessman doubled down.
““You don’t have a monopoly on history.””