Classics

Marguerite Johnson reviews 'How to Die: An Ancient guide to the end of life' by Seneca, edited and translated by James S. Romm

Marguerite Johnson
27 June 2018

Studies of the ancient Mediterranean are increasingly popular. Once a privilege of the élite, whose schools prepared predominantly male students for tertiary study of Greek and Latin, Cla More

Julia Kindt reviews 'Mythos' by Stephen Fry

Julia Kindt
26 March 2018

The ancient Greek gods were a rowdy bunch. Adultery, theft, blackmail, and lies are all on the record, as are the usual confrontations between siblings, ranging from harmless banter all th More

Greta Hawes reviews 'Revisiting Delphi: Religion and storytelling in Ancient Greece' by Julia Kindt

Greta Hawes
22 February 2018

Re-visiting Delphi. The re-iteration is plain necessity: if Italo Calvino is correct and the classics can only ever be reread, then even a first-time visitor to Delphi is revisiti More

Peter Acton reviews 'The Classical Debt: Greek antiquity in an Era of austerity' by Johanna Hanink

Peter Acton
30 November 2017

‘They rose from nothing and changed everything.’  This fantastic, fawning, fallacious guff introduced a 2016 PBS documentary on ancient Greece, and the biography of the sentiment beh More

Christopher Allen reviews 'Palmyra: An irreplaceable treasure' by Paul Veyne, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan

Christopher Allen
30 November 2017

France’s higher education system can seem arcane to outsiders, especially those from the English-speaking world. Although the Sorbonne is coeval with Oxford and Cambridge, there is far g More

Christopher Allen reviews 'SPQR' by Mary Beard

Christopher Allen
24 February 2016

At the very bottom of Hell, Dante represents Satan with three mouths, each of which endlessly devours a figure personifying treachery and rebellion against God. One of these, predictably enough, is Judas. What may be surprising to the modern reader is that the other two are Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julius Caesar. In the medieval vision of the universe an ... More

The missing novels: our critics nominate some overlooked classics

Debra Adelaide et al.
24 August 2015

Early success is no guarantee of a book’s continued availability or circulation. Some major and/or once-fashionable authors recede from public consciousness, and in some cases go out of print. We invited some writers and critics to identity novelists who they feel should be better known.

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Peter Acton reviews 'Pericles of Athens' by Vincent Azoulay translated by Janet Lloyd

Peter Acton
30 April 2015

Father of democracy or nepotic would-be tyrant, corrupting the citizens with flattery and handouts? Brilliant orator, fearlessly committed to the truth, or dangerous sophist saying whatever the mob wanted to hear? Effective administrator of a complex and benevolent empire or cruel curtailer of the allies’ liberties? A model of sobriety and chastity or a lecherous ... More

Maria Takolander reviews 'Iphigenia Among the Taurians' by Euripides translated by Anne Carson

Maria Takolander
29 April 2015

Creativity is always an exercise in recycling. Vision comes from revision. In the ancient world, such wisdom was institutionalised; the task of the poet was to powerfully exploit a cultural storehouse of existing plots. Thus the early Greek playwrights reworked the same complex of myths. However, stories are inexhaustible, something that Scheherazade, in another anc ... More

Glyn Davis reviews 'Poiesis' by Peter Acton

Glyn Davis
02 March 2015

On what terms should we interrogate the past? Ancient life can seem essentially unknowable, a place where everything is different, glimpsed only in the words of those who lived then and surviving traces of material culture.

The Cambridge classical scholar Sir Moses Finley argued for an interpretation of ancient life bounded by then current civic and religiou ... More

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