Ancient history

The famous cities of the ancient world were surprisingly small and fragile

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Greg Woolf didn’t know his book would come out during an urban crisis. Thanks to coronavirus, Venice’s population, for example,…

Lives of luxury for Sparta’s women

4 July 2020 9:00 am

History is full of ‘ifs’ and the Spartan story fuller than most. If the 300 had not made their famous…

The history of Thebes is as mysterious as its Sphinx

13 June 2020 9:00 am

The Spartans were not the only Greeks to die at Thermopylae. On the fateful final morning of the battle, when…

Greco-Roman civilisation has dominated ancient history for too long

6 June 2020 9:00 am

What have the Akkadians ever done for us? As it turns out, rather a lot, as Philip Matyszak reveals in…

King Solomon’s lost city will remain lost forever

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Armageddon began as Har Megiddo, the Hill of Megiddo in northern Israel. The theological aspect is Christian. For Jews, ancient…

Detail of Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens’, with Pythagoras in the foreground. Hypatia, the first great female mathematician, is in white, beside a figure thought to be Parmenides

What the Ancient Greeks did for us

23 February 2019 9:00 am

I am undoubtedly, alas, an example of what the Fowler brothers, H.W. and F.G., of The King’s English fame, would…

‘Pygmalion and Galatea’ by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904). The statue of Galatea poses issues about dolls sold for sex, according to Adrienne Mayor

The ancient Greeks would have loved Alexa

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Among the myths of Ancient Greece the Cyclops has become forever famous, the Talos not so much. While both were…

The most shocking sight in ancient Greece: men in trousers

12 May 2018 9:00 am

In his robust new biography of Alcibiades, David Stuttard describes how the mercurial Greek general shocked his contemporaries by adopting…

Did the fabled Phoenicians ever actually exist?

13 January 2018 9:00 am

So the Phoenicians never existed. Herodotus, that unreliable old fibber, made it all up in the Histories. Is this really…

The real reason for the fall of Rome? Climate change

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? It’s a question that’s been puzzling writers ever since Edward Gibbon wrote The History…

Britain’s fight with European law goes back 750 years

30 April 2016 9:00 am

It is no surprise that the laws imposed on the UK by a European parliament in Brussels should so infuriate…

If he’s lucky, Jeremy Corbyn might be as good on defence as Nero

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Houghton is worried that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will never use the existing…

The fall of the Roman republic – and the rise of the EU

29 October 2015 9:00 am

As both sides of the great EU debate line up their forces, it is worth reflecting on the implications of…

How ancient Rome turned immigrants into citizens

12 September 2015 9:00 am

In the migration crisis, the EU is currently acting just like the ancients, as if border controls did not exist,…

Meet the men taking up arms to protect the Middle East’s ancient treasures

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Syrians, Libyans and Malians are risking their lives to save ancient treasures from Islamists – with shamefully little help from us

How to tell if Jeremy Corbyn is a proper republican

29 August 2015 9:00 am

True to his antique, bearded ideology, guru Corbyn is a ‘republican’, a form of government invented 2,500 years ago. ‘Republic’…

Harry’s Homer — a humorous history

25 July 2015 9:00 am

It was a certain unforgettable ex-girlfriend, Harry Mount confesses — named only as ‘S’ in his dedication — who came…

For his supposed involvement in a conspiracy against Nero, Seneca is ordered to commit suicide — as depicted in The Nuremberg Chronicle , 1493

Men behaving badly: Nero, Claudius and even Seneca could be intensely cruel to women — and fish

21 March 2015 9:00 am

They lived in barrels, they camped on top of columns, or in caves: the lives of the sages are often…

Julius Caesar could teach Isis a thing or two

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Isis disseminates videos of beheaded captives to spread simple terror. Julius Caesar knew all about it. In his diaries of…