Tag ancient history

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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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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Ep. 39 – The History of Fishing

A look at the history of fishing from ancient civilizations to modern times and the problems caused by overfishing

Ep. 37 – The Origin of Early Civilization

Early civilizations came about with the domestication of fire, plants, animals, and humans. James C. Scott gives us the history of these early states and the problems they faced.

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

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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

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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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Roman Architecture: An Interactive Guide and Vacation Planner

As the days grow warmer and the nights grow longer, some are on vacation and many more are wishing they were. The best trips provide opportunities to see new sights, learn about another culture, and return home enriched by the experience. All too often, though, travelers witness the attractions that

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London 2012: Ancient Olympic Boxing, A Sickening Spectacle

Were the ancient Olympic Games anything like the competitions we know today? Neil Faulkner’s A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics transports us to the games of 388 B.C., providing a lively guided tour of the ancient Greek Olympics and bringing to life the sights and sounds (and smells) of the competition—which were

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London Olympics 2012: Whose Games Are They Anyway?

Neil Faulkner is the author of A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics, now available from Yale University Press. With only 30 days left before the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games,  we thought to share some insight into the side of the Games you won’t see, even those as

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