Ancient and modern

The Greeks had their reservations about the Olympics

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Winners at the Olympics were thought to have come as close to a god as any man could. But that…

The ancient Greeks had no time for losers

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Every red-blooded Englishman has believed that exercise in the open air is the finest prophylactic against popery, adultery and the…

How the ancients kept people behaving responsibly

17 July 2021 9:00 am

The Prime Minister is urging citizens not to throw caution to the winds when lockdown ends on 19 July but…

What the Romans would have made of Diana’s statue

10 July 2021 9:00 am

The recently unveiled funerary monument of Princess Diana prompts comparison with Greek and Roman archetypes. To many, Diana was a…

Tacitus and the hypocrisy of cancel culture

3 July 2021 9:00 am

The delicious hypocrisy at the heart of today’s cancel fraternity is that it is strongly opposed to censorship. Romans grappled…

What the EU could learn from the Athenian Empire

26 June 2021 9:00 am

The EU has regularly been likened to the Roman Empire. But its current direction suggests that the Athenian Empire (478-404…

Roman cancel culture didn’t stop at statues

19 June 2021 9:00 am

The mob is at work again in Oxford, protesting against the existence of Oriel’s statue of Cecil Rhodes. But this…

What Dominic Cummings could learn from Xenophon

12 June 2021 9:00 am

On the subject of leadership, the Athenian soldier, historian, biographer and essayist Xenophon (c. 430-354 BC) had much to say,…

A sex education from Aristophanes

5 June 2021 9:00 am

The publication of the new Cambridge Greek Lexicon reminded the comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes of her frustrations at school,…

A Roman solution to Prince Charles’s ‘Harry problem’

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Charles, Prince of Wales, is having a little trouble with his son Harry. Romans knew about difficult offspring. They told…

Animal sentience law has finally caught up with Plutarch’s thinking

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Almost no ancients cared whether animals felt pain or not. The classical Stoic belief that man’s reasoning capacity elevated him…

Virgil understood the great power of nature

15 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Georgics’ are an ancient form of poetry about agriculture and the land. The term derives from Greek gê ‘land’ +…

The importance of gossip (according to the ancients)

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Gossip appears to be good for the mental health. That should make the females of the ancient world some of…

Do spelling and grammar still matter?

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Some universities have announced that spelling and grammar (i.e. morphology and syntax) are not all that important, but quality of…

The Greensill scandal wouldn’t have shocked the ancients

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Ex-prime minister David Cameron, ignoring official protocol, though not acting illegally, went directly to the chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask…

How to eulogise the Duke of Edinburgh

17 April 2021 9:00 am

The reason why Greeks and Romans would have found it difficult to eulogise the Duke of Edinburgh was that he…

Models of obedience: how to make people obey the law

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Protests are being staged against the proposed bill to change the laws on protest. But there is a bigger issue…

The ancient Greek approach to mediation

3 April 2021 9:00 am

Divorcing couples are being given vouchers worth £500 to settle their problems by mediation rather than going to court. It…

Even Ancient Rome battled culture wars

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Identity politics empowers people to make all sorts of claims, not because they are true but because it makes them…

The Stoics would have had little sympathy for Meghan

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Meghan Markle seems to see herself as a ‘victim’. Had she called herself a victima in Rome, it would have…

Alex Salmond and the trouble with revenge

13 March 2021 9:00 am

Ancient Greeks were not slow to express their enthusiasm for taking revenge. Observing the recent proceedings in the Scottish parliament,…

Cicero knew that we should study the past, not cancel it

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Modern historians, excoriating the past evils of e.g. slavery and imperialism are taking the understanding of history back to its…

The Egyptians knew the value of accidental discoveries

27 February 2021 9:00 am

The government has plans to fund a new research agency to back ‘cutting-edge science’. Ptolemaios (Ptolemy) I (367-282 bc), the…

How a Roman emperor would handle Navalny

20 February 2021 9:00 am

A Roman emperor would consider the tyrant Putin’s treatment of Alexei Navalny’s supporters as foolish but, looking at Russia as…

What Pliny the Elder and David Attenborough have in common

13 February 2021 9:00 am

When it comes to natural history, Sir David Attenborough rules the airwaves. Pliny the Elder (d. ad 79) who, as…