Ancient History

What is Religion?

Richard Holloway— As with many useful words, symbol comes from Greek. It means to bring together things that had come apart, the way you might glue the bits of a broken plate together. Then a symbol became an object that stood for or represented something else. It still had the idea of

Continue reading…

The Paleo Diet in Ancient Civilization

James C. Scott— I am neither an advocate nor a practitioner of the Paleo diet. I love bread, pasta, butter, and yogurt far too much to forsake them altogether. On the other hand, I have made an effort to understand the dietary consequences of “civilization,” of the food ways typical

Continue reading…

The Limits of Tolerance

Emily Katz Anhalt— The ancient Greeks were open-minded without being tolerant. They didn’t devise the world’s first-ever democracy by tolerating everything. Their unprecedented transition from tribalism to civil society derived from their eagerness to ask questions and their determination to judge others and themselves critically. Open-mindedness and the desire to

Continue reading…

Pride Month Bookshelf: LGBTQIA+ History, Cultural Studies, and Literature Beyond June

Presenting our Yale University Press Pride Month reading list—because celebrating #Pride2017, learning from the history of the movement, championing stories and contributions of LGBTQIA+ individuals, and working each day to insist on equal and fair treatment of queer communities should extend far beyond June. Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World by Gregory

Continue reading…

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):

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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,

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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,

Continue reading…

  • 1 2 5