Ancient and modern

Do we need a Roman-style Water Czar?

6 August 2022 9:00 am

It is clear that the country will soon need a Water Czar. Augustus’s right-hand man Agrippa would be the one…

The unflattering truth about the battle for No. 10

30 July 2022 9:00 am

The battle to be PM raises the question: in a functioning democracy, how should arguments be won? Surely, by persuasion.…

The Roman roots of ‘colony’

16 July 2022 9:00 am

The word ‘colony’ meets with a sharp intake of breath these days, but ‘province’ raises no eyebrows. How very odd.…

The ancient Greek art of theatre criticism

2 July 2022 9:00 am

Last week Lloyd Evans was wondering whether it was about time audiences started booing dramatic productions of which they disapproved.…

The ancient art of love spells

25 June 2022 9:00 am

An Oxford don has raised the prospect of producing a cocktail of hormone pills that would help you to fall…

How the Romans dealt with mutineers

18 June 2022 9:00 am

The RMT union is threatening strikes to bring the country to a halt. Such activities have a long history in…

The true birth of communism

11 June 2022 9:00 am

Nostalgia wars are all the rage at the moment, but an extraordinary example appears to have been missed: a hammer…

30,000 gallons of wine, 2,000 golden bulls and a three-month party: how the ancients celebrated

4 June 2022 9:00 am

The ancients certainly knew how to put on a celebration. Let us hope the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee comes up to…

Putin is repeating Emperor Vitellius’s mistakes

28 May 2022 9:00 am

Given Putin’s less than triumphant operation in Chechnya, where the Russian army suffered catastrophic losses, it is hardly surprising that…

The ancient Greek ship that was too big for any harbour

21 May 2022 9:00 am

The biggest cruise ship yet builthas just been launched, but in like-for-like terms, it comes nowhere near the Syracusia,built c.…

Putin’s emperor complex

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Did Vladimir Putin ever use his infamous ‘historical’ account of Russia-Ukraine relations to consider how Ukrainians might react to his…

What Angela Rayner could learn from Hera

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Whatever one thinks of her politics, Angela Rayner is clearly a pretty sporting party, and the joke she made about…

What makes a ‘just’ war?

30 April 2022 9:00 am

What is a just war? Those who, from St Augustine onwards, have debated the question usually begin with Cicero, the…

Ukraine, the Roman army and why morale matters

23 April 2022 9:00 am

Commentators talk much about the morale of the Ukrainian troops and the edge that this has given them over the…

The rise and fall of the Tsarist legal system

16 April 2022 9:00 am

St. Petersburg University in Russia is (desperately?) inviting scholars worldwide to a conference in September celebrating Mikhail Speransky. It was…

The Russians aren’t the first to rewrite history

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Historians in Russia have a long and craven record, now going back centuries, of being economical with the truth about…

Could today’s Hollywood stars have made it in ancient Greece?

2 April 2022 9:00 am

The Oscar frenzy spent, it is worth reflecting on how easy writers and actors have it these days. The ancient…

Patriarch Kirill, Archbishop Ambrose and a lesson for Putin

26 March 2022 9:00 am

Patriarch Kirill is Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’ and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church; and one of his…

How John Bercow could have learned to control his temper

19 March 2022 9:00 am

The ex-Speaker John Bercow has been found to be a serial bully and serial liar. The ancients would have had…

What Tacitus knew about tyrants

12 March 2022 9:00 am

Last week Aristotle offered a lesson in tyrant theory. This week Tacitus (ad 56-c.120) offers one in tyrant practice. Tacitus…

Does Putin pass Aristotle’s tyrant test?

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Is Putin a tyrant? Aristotle (384-322 bc) might well have thought so. Seeing the turannos as a deviant type of…

What the ancients would have made of Virginia Giuffre

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Virginia Giuffre may well be a heroine among all those abused in their youth. Ancient reactions compare interestingly with ours.…

How the ancients approached the three Rs

19 February 2022 9:00 am

German archaeologists have found ancient Egyptian tablets covered in repetitive writing exercises and ask — were they pupil punishments? But…

The ancient problem of unscrupulous ‘doctors’

12 February 2022 9:00 am

Yet again ‘doctors’ with no qualifications have been found advertising dodgy but expensive products and treatments, in this case, injections…

Claudius, Messalina and how not to choose political advisers

5 February 2022 9:00 am

The Prime Minister has been having some trouble with his inner circle of advisers. Tacitus supplies fine examples of how…