Ancient History

Why We Read

Azar Nafisi— Reading is like Alice running after that white rabbit, because she is curious; she wants to know more about a talking rabbit. She is prepared to take the risk and jump down that hole without knowing what she will find at the bottom of the well. This is

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What happened after the Crusades?

Christopher Tyerman— We all know about the Crusades, don’t we? They were wars fought by western European Christians against Muslim control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land of Palestine. They began in 1095, when Pope Urban II summoned the knights of Christendom to undertake a war that would earn its

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On Easter and Resurrection

Candida Moss— At Easter, as almost everyone knows, Christians celebrate and think about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is a foundational moment in Christian history that is proclaimed as part of the Creed, but it is also the model for the afterlife expectations of everyone

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How Old is the Hebrew Bible?

Ronald Hendel and Jan Joosten— The age of the Hebrew Bible is a complicated and controversial topic. For traditionalists, the age of a book is the age of its author – Moses for the Pentateuch, David for the Psalms, Solomon for the Song of Songs, and so on. For modern

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The Shadow of the Present

Tony Spawforth— As I write about the remote past, I never feel that history has repeated itself. Even so, there are times when the Greek and Roman worlds seem to offer an eerie prefiguring of the present. Democracy In 415 BC the adult males who made up the politically empowered

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Reconstructing Seapower

Andrew Lambert— In the late 1880s, American strategist and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan coined the term “sea power” by purposefully splitting the word “seapower,” a direct translation of the Greek thalassokratia, to sustain his agenda. The Greek word had been used by Herodotus and Thucydides to describe states which were

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The Many Gods of Ancient Monotheism

Paula Fredriksen— How is the ancient Jew—and, later, the ancient Christian—distinguished from his contemporary neighbor, the pagan? Biblical communities were monotheist, many people will answer; pagan communities were polytheist. For majority culture, many divinities populated the heavens. Biblical religions, more austere, clung to belief in a single god. Belief that

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Against the “Ascent of Man”

James C. Scott— Historical humankind has been mesmerized by the narrative of progress and civilization as codified by the first great agrarian kingdoms. As new and powerful societies, they were determined to distinguish themselves as sharply as possible from the populations from which they sprang and that still beckoned and

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Young Men at War

Stephen Houston— A grievous feature of our age is the use of young men in combat. A recent film was made about this ongoing tragedy: Beasts of No Nation, based on the book of the same title by Uzodinma Iweala, and winner of numerous awards including the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the

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Ep. 50 – The Art of Libation in Classical Athens

Explore the prevalence and the significance of images of liquids being poured from vessels in the fascinating and beautiful artworks of 5th century Athens. Yale associate professor Milette Gaifman, with a joint appointment in the Departments of Classics and History of Art, is perfectly situated to discuss what it is the

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