Ancient History

A Maya Child’s Tale: The Origin of the Sun

Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos— In his field diary entry of October 30, 1960, ethnographer Marcelo Díaz de Salas wrote down a brief story that he’d been told by Miguelito, a young boy about 11 years old, in the Tzotzil Maya village of Venustiano Carranza (located in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico):

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Immortal Oracle: the Berlin Painter Speaks: An Interview with J. Michael Padgett by David Ebony

David Ebony — In dark times of social turmoil, political upset, and the seemingly perpetual war and violence that define our present era, it helps to consider the art of the far distant past for some solace, and a bit of elucidation, perhaps. Today, democracy seems as fragile as it

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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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