It is easy to overlook that nature itself has a history – or at least our thinking about it does. In the years since Henry Thoreau initiated the modern genre of return-to-nature literature in Walden (1854), his autobiographical account of a two-year stint in the woods, the view that the natural world is a sphere apart – a realm untouched by human intervention – has lost nothing of its entici ... (read more)
Julia Kindt is Professor of Ancient History in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. Her books include Rethinking Greek Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Revisiting Delphi: Religion and storytelling in Ancient Greece (Cambridge University Press, 2016). She is currently completing a book Trojan Pigs and Trojan Horses: Ten ancient creatures that make us human.
August 2019, no. 413 • 23 July 2019
It may be tempting to think we already know Socrates, the Athenian philosopher whose most famous dictum remains that he was wise only insofar as he was aware of his own ignorance. Although Socrates never published anything of his own, his student Plato presents him in numerous dialogues as a smart and talented (if somewhat pedantic) interrogator who never tired of examining the opinions of his fel ... (read more)
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 the way to aggravated assault – and worse. In short: rather than paragons of exemplary behaviour, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, and Aphrodite were quintessentially human. Like us, they loved, hated, and envied one another; ... (read more)