Classical Trek: Darmok

From meeting Apollo himself in The Original Series, to the Roman-inflected Terran Empire in Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek has always drawn heavily on ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. Since both Star Trek and Classics have been important parts of my life from a young age, I’ve decided to take a look at some... Continue Reading →

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Book Review: Classical Greek Oligarchy

My review of Classical Greek Oligarchy by Matthew Simonton has just been published by The Classical Review.  It can be found here: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/classical-review/article/politics-of-classical-greek-oligarchy-m-simonton-classical-greek-oligarchy-a-political-history-pp-xviii-355-map-princeton-and-oxford-princeton-university-press-2017-cased-3795-us45-isbn-9780691174976/8C42EAE0C76DD9D216796C7C6FB32E67 I'm also uploading a version here, for those who don't have access to the online version.  As you'll see, I'm ambivalent about this book:  I think it takes on a big challenge, but doesn't... Continue Reading →

Classical Trek: 4000 Years of Boldly Going

From meeting the god Apollo in The Original Series, to the Roman-inflected Terran Empire in Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek has always drawn heavily on ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. Since both Star Trek and Classics have been important parts of my life from a young age, I’ve decided to take a look at... Continue Reading →

The ‘Literary’ Statesman

So apparently Bill Clinton has written a novel (together with thriller-writer James Patterson).  Entitled "The President is Missing", it apparently chronicles the adventures of a heroic US President, who goes AWOL in hopes of defeating a sinister terrorist plot.  Reviews have been mixed;  while some media outlets have praised it as a fun read, a... Continue Reading →

Ancient Spookiness IV: Hauntings

And finally we come to what might be regarded as the archetypal form of spookiness: the spirits of the dead, returned to the world of the living.  In ancient literature, ghosts are everywhere.  Friendly, hostile, frightening or comforting, the souls of dead Greeks and Romans are shown popping back into the world all over the... Continue Reading →

Ancient Spookiness III: Demons

Content note: Depictions of violence In this third look at the dark and spooky side of the ancient world, we'll be looking at demons. What do I mean by demon? The word demon is derived from the Greek daemon, which, for most Greek and Roman times, was a generic term for god or spirit, with no... Continue Reading →

Ancient Spookiness II: Werewolves

Content note: Child death, cannibalism, animal death If vampire stories were few and far between in the ancient world, werewolves are pretty much everywhere. It was clear a pretty strong belief among the ancient Greeks and Romans that there were human beings who could transform themselves into wolves and prey on livestock and even other... Continue Reading →

Ancient Spookiness I: Vampires

Content note: Brief mentions of rape and child death As Halloween draws near, it seems a perfect time to look at some of the ancient equivalents of the various ghouls, ghosts and creatures of the night that have come to haunt the Western imagination.  First off, the hungry, sinister, and sometimes sexy devourers of the... Continue Reading →

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