Category Archives: Exploring the Past

Ben-Hur (2016) – a few first thoughts

Well, I could hardly not go and see the new movie version of Ben-Hur which opened today. Films set in the ancient world, if they are successful, such as Gladiator (2000) and 300 (2007), make a difference to how people think … Continue reading

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Caster Semenya and women at the Olympics

I just came across this excellent article about gender and Olympic disciplines or competitive sport more generally, starting with the case of gold-medal winning runner Caster Semenya who has faced so much controversy over whether she should be allowed to … Continue reading

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Olympic Superstars – ancient and modern

Some of yesterday’s papers (for example the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph) have a report that Michael Phelps has just beaten a 2167* year-old record which had been held, for all that time, by Leonidas of Rhodes, who … Continue reading

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What’s a person’s REAL name?

As Iceland is playing another game in the European championship we shall yet again see the international media struggle with Icelandic names. The typical newspaper article talks of say, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Sigþórsson) or Aron Gunnarsson, and then just call them Sigthorsson and … Continue reading

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How to make history historical…

Yesterday, an entirely farcical event took place on the Thames in London, as a stunt by the Brexit campaign, designed to highlight the concerns of fishermen, turned into a scuffle carried out with water hoses, sound systems and rude gestures. … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Current events, Exploring the Past, History, Inventing the Past, Remembering the Past | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why we should all get our roofs from Sparta*

Work on my Peloponnesian League book is finally starting to happen, so it’s time to dust off the blog again. I hope odd little things like today’s discovery will go here. At the moment I am working on what might … Continue reading

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On Pledges Carved in Stone

Yesterday, just four days before the election, the Leader of the UK Labour Party, Ed Miliband, unveiled an eight-foot limestone slab, carved with his six main election promises.  Reviews were mixed, but it was a delight to all  who regularly get … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Current events, Political Parties, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Call the Royal Baby Mohammed – here is why:

As everybody is still speculating about the names for the royal baby, there are two distinct approaches: one is to find the name that would seem silliest with the royal number I behind it, and the other is to speculate, … Continue reading

Posted in Current events, Exploring the Past, Inventing the Past, Life in the UK, Memory, Remembering the Past | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

London 2012 and the Pastoral Idyll

(Do shepherds dream of idyllic sheep?) Danny Boyle’s set for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony A few weeks ago, when the design for at least part of the Olympic opening ceremony was revealed, I was nothing short of appalled. … Continue reading

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Greek Treasures: ancient and modern

I just came across this opinion piece in the LA times of 26th February by James Romm, a scholar I admire greatly. But here he offers an example of  highly emotional rhetoric which is historically unjustified. At the same time, his article … Continue reading

Posted in Exploring the Past, History, Inventing the Past, Remembering the Past | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments