Ancient Greek is a language like no other. It records an astonishing array of great works in different genres, stretching across a thousand years of history. Homer, the most influential poet ever, recited in the matchless cadences of the epic literary Greek dialect. The Apostle Paul, the Four Evangelists, and the other authors of the New Testament also left their accounts in Greek, using Koine, the beautifully clear conversational Greek spoken in the eastern Mediterranean of their day. Likewise, Sappho, Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Plato, Demosthenes, and many other ancient authors wrote in Greek, each with a distinct style that makes their individual voices live across the centuries.
How much do you know about the Etruscans? Many people, even those who are fascinated by ancient history, are less familiar with this intriguing culture than with the history of Greece and Rome—but the story of the Etruscans is equally captivating and far more important than you may have known. This ancient civilization prospered in the region of modern-day Tuscany, maintaining extensive trade networks, building impressive fortified cities, making exquisite art, and creating a culture that, while deeply connected to the Greeks and Romans, had striking contrasts.
“All battles are in some degree…disasters.” These words by military historian John Keegan are true in that military conflicts inevitably involve death and destruction. Yet despite their tragic cost, many battles are regarded as great triumphs, while others are nearly universally declared blunders. What qualifies such battles for special condemnation—or inquiry, for that matter? Why focus on failure at all?
You are a product of the Enlightenment. In fact, the philosophy behind so much that has created the modern concept of Self—politics, economics, psychology, science and technology, education, art—was invented as recently as the Enlightenment of the 18th century. In The Enlightenment Invention of the Modern Self, literary scholar Leo Damrosch of Harvard University considers the time when ideas about the self were first considered.
I never met a person who is not interested in language, wrote the bestselling author and psychologist Steven Pinker. There are good reasons that language fascinates us so. It not only defines humans as a species, placing us head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators, but it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries.