Ancient Athens

How Socrates judged experts

11 February 2017 9:00 am

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, raises his growth forecasts and suddenly everyone believes the ‘expert’. So…

Ancient Greeks wouldn’t recognise George Osborne’s idea of democracy

7 January 2017 9:00 am

Ex-chancellor George Osborne is planning a book to be titled The Age of Unreason. He says that ‘it will be…

Aristophanes had Donald Trump’s number

3 December 2016 9:00 am

As self-important comics fantasise about unseating Donald Trump with their wit, they should remember the great Aristophanes. In 424 BC,…

A warning for Nigel Farage from ancient Athens

12 November 2016 9:00 am

Frenzied outrage from Leavers and comical paeans of praise from Remainers greeted the High Court’s decision to instruct government that Parliament…

Athenians understood public trust – even if we don’t

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Tony Blair has excused himself for the Iraq war by saying that he did what he believed was right. But…

Meet the Donald Trump of ancient Athens (he won)

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Why does the Republican party loathe Donald Trump? Because Trump is the ultimate loose cannon, beholden to no one. And…

There were no safe spaces at the dawn of democracy

19 March 2016 9:00 am

Brilliant Oxford undergraduates argue that it is right to prevent us saying things they object to, because speech they do…

Become like ancient Athens — leave the EU

13 February 2016 9:00 am

One feels that Sir Stuart Rose, leader of the EU referendum ‘In’ campaign, should really try a little harder. First…

How ancient Athens handled immigrants

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Among all the arguments about how many non-EU immigrants we should let in, campaigners are proposing a scheme for private…

Jeremy Corbyn and Pericles: spot the difference

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Whatever else one can say about Jeremy Corbyn, one thing is clear: he is a leader who does not believe…

Alexis Tsipras is just doing what an ancient Athenian would

11 July 2015 9:00 am

The EU finds it difficult to understand what drives the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Quite simply, he is a…

How Solon would have solved the Greek crisis

4 July 2015 9:00 am

The combination of terror and outrage with which Brussels has greeted Greek Prime Minister Tsipras’s referendum tells us everything we…

Why Hesiod would have gone for Grexit

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Why do Greeks want to keep the euro, or remain in the European Union? The combative, creative, competitive, mercantile classical…

Athenians didn’t need coalition negotiations. We should learn from them

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Whatever the result of the election, it has become clearer by the day that our ‘democracy’ is run by politicians…

Demosthenes vs Michael Fallon

18 April 2015 9:00 am

Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon’s claim that Ed Miliband, having practised on his brother, would also stab his…

When Rome’s 99 per cent stood up

28 March 2015 9:00 am

In the UK the richest 1 per cent — 300,000 — of the working population control 23 per cent of…

Today’s TV debates are pointless – here’s the real thing

28 February 2015 9:00 am

Ancients would have been astonished that parties never debate against each other in open, public forum except on the telly…

Socrates, Aristophanes and Charlie Hebdo

24 January 2015 9:00 am

What would the ancients have made of Charlie Hebdo? The First Amendment tolerates the expression of opinions, however offensive, but…

Nicky Morgan vs Socrates

29 November 2014 9:00 am

After the Philae space-lab’s triumph, one can see why Education Secretary Nicky Morgan should have hymned the ‘Stem’ subjects (science, technology, engineering…

Aristophanes on Mazher Mahmood

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Undercover journalist Mazher Mahmood, otherwise known as the Fake Sheikh, has been accused of dodgy dealing in luring the innocent…

The lesson of Athens: to make people care about politics, give them real power

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Voters explain their apathy about politics on the grounds that the politicians do not understand them. No surprise there, an…

Forget Ukip – what we need is some ostracisms

1 November 2014 9:00 am

For all Nigel Farage’s appealing bluster, he is never going to be in a position to get us out of…

Why the Ancient Greeks thought adultery was worse than rape

25 October 2014 9:00 am

A footballer serves his sentence for rape, insisting on his innocence. Debate rages whether he should play again. To us,…

Spectator letters: In defence of the EU, the Welsh and Mary Wakefield

20 September 2014 9:00 am

Breaking the unions Sir: By the time this letter appears we shall know whether the land of my birth has…

Would Alex Salmond give up his job to a heckler? It happened in Athens

6 September 2014 9:00 am

Alex Salmond claims to be thrilled that so many people in Scotland are suddenly gripped by politics. The importance of…