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Ancient History / 18.06.2019

(N.B. This story is dedicated to Hector and Wilbur Metcalfe.) Chapter 1. Lucius and Marcus wake up. One summer morning, in the year 3 B.C., that is seven hundred and fifty years after the foundation of Rome, twelve year old Lucius awakes in his bedroom in a comfortable mansion in the High Street, which runs through the north-west of the city towards the famous Colline Gate. It is still dark, but Lucius has woken in response to a gentle nudge from the family servant Daedalus, who is carrying...

Ancient History / 19.02.2017

Introduction. In Chapters 201-234 of Book VII of his "Histories", Herodotus gives an account of the heroic stand made by Leonidas, the King of Sparta, and three hundred of his fellow-countrymen against the huge Persian army of King Xerxes, which was invading Greece, at the narrow mountain pass of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. The self-sacrifice of Leonidas and his men is one of the most renowned military exploits of ancient history, and served to inspire future generations of Greeks to courageous deeds. A dramatic account of the events at...

Ancient History / 29.06.2014

Introduction. The mythology and literature of the Ancient Greeks contain many stories about the gods. The Greeks were polytheists, that is, they believed in many gods. They also adopted an anthromorphic approach to their gods, and built temples, in which they placed statues of the gods in human form. As a result Greeks felt that the gods were like them, and shared the same attributes and desires as humans, although on a grander scale of course. As the influence of Greek culture spread to Rome, the Romans began to...

Ancient Greek, Ancient History / 05.06.2010

In last year's magazine I wrote a light hearted article suggesting an argument, from which one might adduce Britain to have contributed to the legend of Atlantis. In doing this I had no intention of committing myself to any belief in the historical existence of Atlantis, but, perhaps because I did not express myself clearly enough, I have been misinterpreted. In writing this article I wish to clear myself from the charge of being an Atlantologist, and then to outline, as I see it, the way in which...

Ancient Greek, Ancient History / 04.06.2010

Of all the sunken civilisations of man, that of Atlantis is perhaps the most exciting. The question of whether Atlantis is only legendary or whether it is based on a certain amount of discoverable fact, was a bone of contention even in antiquity. Thus, the immediate question that presents itself is to decide whether the Atlantis so meticulously described by Plato was no more than a poetic fiction. Was his utopian island that ruled the world only a sympathetic refurbishing of myths handed down from the dawn of...

Ancient History / 16.02.2010

This year sees the sixteen hundredth anniversary of what was probably the second most famous Christian conversion in history. There can be little doubt that the most famous was that of St. Paul on the road to Damascus; the second may be said to be that of St. Augustine in a garden in Milan in the year 386 A.D. St. Augustine, not to be confused with our own St. Augustine of Canterbury, who reintroduced Christianity into Kent in 597, was a native of Roman North Africa, who lived from 354 to 430, during the declining years of the Roman Empire. He was to become Bishop of Hippo Regius, the second city and port of that province, in 396.
Ancient History / 11.02.2010

The long reign of the Emperor Honorius (395-423 A.D.) saw the beginning of the dismemberment of the Western provinces of the Roam Empire, that process which has both intrigued and haunted the minds of men. Almost exactly in the middle of this reign there occurred an event, which most contemporaries and generations of Romans before then had believed impossible.