Ancient greece

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…

The Delphic Oracle’s advice for Jeremy Corbyn

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Inscribed in the forecourt of the temple of Apollo in Delphi were the famous words gnôthi sauton (‘know yourself’) and…

Making a stand: Archibald Leitch’s drawing for Goodison Park

From mass spectatorship to mass murder: a history of stadiums

25 June 2016 8:00 am

When it comes to mass spectatorship, we’re still living in the world the Romans made. Tom Wilkinson on the history of stadiums

How Plato predicted the EU referendum campaign

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Our politicians, realising that the referendum campaign will be settled not by themselves under the usual parliamentary constraints but by…

How Aristotle would hire civil servants

4 June 2016 9:00 am

The civil service is to be allowed to find out what job applicants’ ‘socio-economic background’ is. What abject drivel is…

Buried treasure: an archaeologist diver brushes clear a bovid jaw discovered in Aboukir Bay

The treasures of Alexandria revealed: British Museum’s Sunken cities reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

It was not so unusual for someone to turn into a god in Egypt. It happened to the Emperor Hadrian’s…

The best guide to being an EU politician – from 1,900 years ago

28 May 2016 9:00 am

Boris Johnson argues that the current European Union is yet another failed attempt to replicate the golden age of a…