Ancient and modern

The ancients knew politicians were powerless

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Why are cabinet ministers Liz Truss and Dominic Raab squabbling like children over access to grace-and-favour Chevening? Because they know…

Could Emma Raducanu be the new Marcus Rashford?

18 September 2021 9:00 am

The extraordinary sporting achievement of Emma Raducanu and the response it has received from royalty and politicians alike makes one…

Why trees mattered to the ancients

11 September 2021 9:00 am

A ‘State of the World’ report warns that a third of the world’s wild tree species are threatened with extinction.…

How the ancients showed their true colours

4 September 2021 9:00 am

In the 18th century, art historians’ admiration for the beauty of white-ish ancient Greek marble statuary led people to draw…

The Romans would not have made the same mistakes in Afghanistan

28 August 2021 9:00 am

‘No one is stupid enough to choose war over peace. In peace sons bury their fathers; in war, fathers bury…

The ancient Athenians knew how to soak the rich

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Oxfam is arguing that if all billionaires forked out 99 per cent of their profits made during the Covid pandemic,…

The timeless appeal of Latin

14 August 2021 9:00 am

The government’s promise to fund a pilot scheme promoting the teaching of Latin in secondary schools is music to the…

Simone Biles, Plutarch and an Olympic trial

7 August 2021 9:00 am

The outstanding gymnast Simone Biles has pulled out of several Olympic events, saying: ‘I just don’t trust myself as much…

The Greeks had their reservations about the Olympics

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Winners at the Olympics were thought to have come as close to a god as any man could. But that…

The ancient Greeks had no time for losers

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Every red-blooded Englishman has believed that exercise in the open air is the finest prophylactic against popery, adultery and the…

How the ancients kept people behaving responsibly

17 July 2021 9:00 am

The Prime Minister is urging citizens not to throw caution to the winds when lockdown ends on 19 July but…

What the Romans would have made of Diana’s statue

10 July 2021 9:00 am

The recently unveiled funerary monument of Princess Diana prompts comparison with Greek and Roman archetypes. To many, Diana was a…

Tacitus and the hypocrisy of cancel culture

3 July 2021 9:00 am

The delicious hypocrisy at the heart of today’s cancel fraternity is that it is strongly opposed to censorship. Romans grappled…

What the EU could learn from the Athenian Empire

26 June 2021 9:00 am

The EU has regularly been likened to the Roman Empire. But its current direction suggests that the Athenian Empire (478-404…

Roman cancel culture didn’t stop at statues

19 June 2021 9:00 am

The mob is at work again in Oxford, protesting against the existence of Oriel’s statue of Cecil Rhodes. But this…

What Dominic Cummings could learn from Xenophon

12 June 2021 9:00 am

On the subject of leadership, the Athenian soldier, historian, biographer and essayist Xenophon (c. 430-354 BC) had much to say,…

A sex education from Aristophanes

5 June 2021 9:00 am

The publication of the new Cambridge Greek Lexicon reminded the comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes of her frustrations at school,…

A Roman solution to Prince Charles’s ‘Harry problem’

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Charles, Prince of Wales, is having a little trouble with his son Harry. Romans knew about difficult offspring. They told…

Animal sentience law has finally caught up with Plutarch’s thinking

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Almost no ancients cared whether animals felt pain or not. The classical Stoic belief that man’s reasoning capacity elevated him…

Virgil understood the great power of nature

15 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Georgics’ are an ancient form of poetry about agriculture and the land. The term derives from Greek gê ‘land’ +…

The importance of gossip (according to the ancients)

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Gossip appears to be good for the mental health. That should make the females of the ancient world some of…

Do spelling and grammar still matter?

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Some universities have announced that spelling and grammar (i.e. morphology and syntax) are not all that important, but quality of…

The Greensill scandal wouldn’t have shocked the ancients

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Ex-prime minister David Cameron, ignoring official protocol, though not acting illegally, went directly to the chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask…

How to eulogise the Duke of Edinburgh

17 April 2021 9:00 am

The reason why Greeks and Romans would have found it difficult to eulogise the Duke of Edinburgh was that he…

Models of obedience: how to make people obey the law

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Protests are being staged against the proposed bill to change the laws on protest. But there is a bigger issue…