Ancient greece

An easy way for the Tories to combat the Corbyn threat? Idleness

14 October 2017 9:00 am

As the Tories struggle to find a policy which might appeal to their traditional supporters and not simply ape those…

War horse: horse headdress made of felt, leather and wood, late 4th–early 3rd century BC

Pot-smoking warriors who attached enemy bodyparts to their horses: Scythians reviewed

23 September 2017 9:00 am

You wouldn’t want to stumble upon the Scythians. Armed with battle-axes, bows and daggers, and covered in fearsome tattoos, the…

Still life: ‘A Kiss’, 1891, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Victorian painter who shaped cinema

9 September 2017 9:00 am

On 15 September 1888 Vincent van Gogh was intrigued to read an account of an up-to-date artist’s house in the…

Property’s not theft

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Sir Trevor Nunn is directing a play called ‘Dessert’. It seems to be a virtue-signalling riff on the evil of…

The post-truth is out there

10 June 2017 9:00 am

In a political ‘post-truth’ world, currently the subject of a slew of books, emotions and personal belief are said to…

L’Orfeo is at its darkest and most painful outside the opera house: Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s concert staging reviewed

3 June 2017 9:00 am

The ancient Greeks had a word for it —katabasis, descending into the depths, to the underworld itself, in search of…

Thucydides had Martin McGuinness’s number

1 April 2017 9:00 am

When Gerry Adams rose to announce at his funeral that Martin McGuinness was no terrorist but a ‘freedom fighter’, the…

How ancient Athens made the rich love taxes

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Now that Philip Hammond is promising yet more tax hikes, he might consider how Athens managed it. During the whole…

Plutarch: the father of anti-democracy

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Hardly a week goes by without someone applauding Thomas Carlyle’s objection to democracy: ‘I do not believe in the collective…

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…

What Donald Trump doesn't get about rhetoric

28 January 2017 9:00 am

In his inaugural speech last week, the new President Trump said, among much else, the ‘American carnage’ of poverty, ignorance…

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,…

‘The Cheesemonger’ by Eric Ravilious.

Round and ripe: the role of cheese in global history

3 December 2016 9:00 am

‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.’ The line from Life of Brian is followed by: ‘It’s not meant to be taken literally.…

What Thucydides would have thought of Donald Trump

19 November 2016 9:00 am

‘America’s journey into the great unknown’, screamed a headline greeting Donald Trump’s election as next President of the United States.…

‘The Judgement of Paris’, 1933, by William Roberts

When the world falls apart, you go back to the start: Classicism in British Art reviewed

12 November 2016 9:00 am

The catalogue to Pallant House Gallery’s latest exhibition features a favourite anecdote. It is 1924 and a competition is being…

How Boris Johnson is like Socrates

22 October 2016 9:00 am

In writing an article that argued both for and against the European Union, Boris Johnson was following a solidly classical…

David Hockney and Martin Gayford on how pictures literally emerged from the shadows

22 October 2016 9:00 am

In an edited extract from their new book, David Hockney and Martin Gayford discuss how pictures emerged from the shadows

Plato and the problem with grammar school

17 September 2016 9:00 am

Theresa May wants to use grammar schools to create a meritocratic, ‘socially mobile’ society at a cost of £50 million.…

Aristotle on the collective wisdom of Brexit voters

10 September 2016 9:00 am

It comes as no surprise to find that there has recently been much talk among Brexit supporters about ‘the wisdom…

How Olympia beat the cheats

6 August 2016 9:00 am

What to do about today’s Olympic drug cheats? Since ancient Greeks did not do chemistry, drugs were not a problem.…

Ancient and modern: Corbyn’s Labour is stuck in Plato’s cave

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Wrapped in his fantasy world of a Labour party ruling the country in accordance with the diktats of those of…

One of the two bronze statues of Greek warriors found in the sea off Riace, on display for the first time at the presidential palace in Rome, 1981

My pilgrimage to see the world’s greatest male nudes

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Initially it must have been a nasty surprise. On 16 August 1972 an amateur scuba diver named Stefano Mariottini was…

Sophocles vs the luvvie Remainers

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Is the Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith, who longs to reverse the obviously undemocratic outcome of the recent referendum, aware…

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…