Ancient History

Was There a Spartan Mirage?

Paul A. Rahe— It has always been hard for outsiders to get their minds around classical Lacedaemon, or Sparta as it is more commonly called today. Even in antiquity—as a glance at Xenophon’s Regime of the Lacedaemonians, at Plato’s Republic and Laws, and at Aristotle’s Politics will make clear—the Spartans

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The Olympians of Ancient Greece

Neil Faulkner— In the early days, the Olympics seem to have been an informal local festival with only aristocratic contestants. Athletes competed not so much as representatives of their cities – many of which were little more than villages, or at best hilltop strongholds – but on their own accounts,

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The Persian Wars: Why We Must Attend to Sparta

Paul A. Rahe— The study of ancient Greek history in modern times has always been Athenocentric. It could hardly have been otherwise. Much of what was written about Hellas in antiquity was composed by Athenians, and much of the rest was composed principally with the Athenian audience in mind. In

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Byzantium and the Rights of Women

Jonathan Harris— Ancient Greece and Rome are often seen as the origin of much that underpins the political systems of modern democracies such as the United States, from separation of powers to freedom of religious belief. It was these constitutional arrangements, wrote Alexander Hamilton in number thirty-five of The Federalist,

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Saving Civilization?

Robin Prior— I want to highlight the dangers to Western civilization if Britain had succumbed to Nazi Germany in 1940. But to do this, first I’ll make the point, illustrated over the course of history, that the side that wins the war does not necessarily represent all that is best

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How Well Did Jesus Know His Bible?

Michael Satlow— Imagine Jesus as a boy. Growing up with his brothers and sisters in a Jewish home in the sleepy town of Nazareth, in lower Galilee, he almost certainly would have been circumcised, followed Jewish dietary rules (kashrut), and observed the Jewish Sabbath and festivals. He would have grown

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Americanizing the Ten Commandments

Michael Coogan— In 2001, Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, installed a massive monument featuring the Ten Commandments in the courthouse rotunda. When ordered by a federal judge to have it taken away because it violated the establishment clause of the U. S. Constitution, Moore refused, and

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Hymnals and Haggadot: Six Books for Easter and Passover

This weekend is an important one for many as Jews give thanks for their freedom from slavery and Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you’re attending a Seder, going to church, enjoying both religions’ traditions, or skipping the observances entirely, you might enjoy reading up on the histories

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The Beginning of the Roman Empire

Adrian Goldsworthy— Names and dates mattered a lot for the Romans, and so did legal formalities and appearances. On the 16th of January 2,042 years ago Rome’s Senate convened. The leader of the house, the princeps senatus was present, and three days ago he had shocked everyone by announcing that

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David and Moses: The Men, the Myths, the Legends

David Wolpe— David represents one strand of the Jewish tradition, one that these days causes so much pride and angst and generates so much news. Jewish religious history is divided, in some senses, between Moses and David: Moses is the desert, wandering, and Mt Sinai. David is the land, government,

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