Category Archives: Exploring the Past

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 , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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Vaclav Havel – Kim Jong-il – Christopher Hitchens

Sometimes history hands you odd juxtapositions, as has happened just now with the deaths, within a few days, of Christopher Hitchens, Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-il. Three deaths that make you think about conscience, freedom of speech and the choices … Continue reading

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The Word of Gove – or: a King James Bible for Every School?

On Friday, the Guardian reported that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has decided to send a King James Bible to every state school in England. This has triggered a strong critical reaction from some quarters, and I find that I disagree with Michael Gove … Continue reading

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A Bankers’ Gospel?

This morning at mass I experienced a remarkable example of how a well-known story can change its meaning when its historical context changes. This week’s Gospel was Matthew 25.13-30, the story of the talents. Here it is in full: 13 “Therefore … Continue reading

Posted in Bible as History, Exploring the Past, History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Building the Parthenon

It’s time to talk about the photograph at the top of my blog. It’s part of a picture I took on the Acropolis of Athens in summer 2007: let’s call it The Parthenon Under Construction (Again). Of course, ancient buildings … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Inventing the Past, Remembering the Past, Restoration | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments