Free Speech and Parrhesia

Not too long ago, my attention was brought to this article in the Atlantic magazine, which discusses current debates in the United States (and to a lesser degree, in other Western nations) over the right of controversial and indeed widely offensive speakers to speak at major universities. In the article, the writer traces the... 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 →

There goes the Sun

(photo credit: William Unruh) Something is happening to the Sun.  Though the sky is clear and cloudless, and the Sun far above the horizon, the light has been slowly dimming, until it seems as dark as a cloudy day in winter.  The air is feeling wintry too - it's been getting steadily colder for a... Continue Reading →

Words that Last: Clay, Papyrus, and Computers

Two articles recently published on the BBC website recently caught my eye. The first was a discussion of the earliest known writing on Earth, as part of a series on ‘50 things that made the modern economy’. These earliest written texts were economic texts: inventories of goods, sale contracts, IOUs, written in Sumerian Cuneiform more... Continue Reading →

The Byzantine Republic

I recently finished reading a book on an aspect of the Classical world that neither I, nor many other Classicists likely have thought much about. The book is Anthony Kaldellis’ The Byzantine Republic, which deals with the Eastern Roman Empire (called by modern scholars “Byzantine”) which ruled a fluctuating area centred on Anatolia and the... Continue Reading →

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