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The historian tells the story of the three-in-one great cities of Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul, which has long been the gateway between East and West. Archaeologists have measured 42 layers of human inhabitation here on the Bosphorus over the past 6,000 years. It has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman empires and, for many years, was known simply as The City.
The novelist launches his new book, a re-telling of the classic tales of the House of Atreus: the stories of Agamemnon and Iphigenia, of Clytemnestra, Orestes and Electra. It’s a masterpiece.
Writers and historians join New Generation Thinker Catherine Fletcher for a discussion recorded for Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme. Colm Tóibín’s new novel House of Names explores the story of Clytemnestra and the murder of her husband Agamemnon. Paul Cartledge is A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus at the University of Cambridge and the author of many books that look at the classical world including Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction; Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities and Democracy: A Life. Bettany Hughes has presented many TV and Radio programmes exploring the classical world. Her books include Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore; The Hemlock Cup and Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities.
To be broadcast on Tuesday 30 May at 10PM on BBC Radio 3 and available as an Arts and Ideas download
The classicist celebrates the spectacular anniversary of the birth of the ‘father of history’. Herodotus was a great, infinitely curious investigator and a digressive storyteller, whose Histories are the source of so much of what we know of the ancient world. Cartledge is AG Leventis Professor Emeritus of Greek Culture at Cambridge. His many books include The Greeks; Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed The World; After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars; The Spartans.
A celebration of the enduring tales and myths of Northern and Mediterranean Europe that ask, brutally and beautifully – what it means to be human. Gaiman’s newly published Norse Mythology reaches back to the source stories that have inspired Tolkien, the Marvel comics and many others. His gods are irascible, visceral, playful, and passionate. The tales carry us from the beginning of everything, to Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya through to Ragnarok and the twilight of the gods. Fry is reimagining versions of the Greek myths with their contrary Olympian gods, tragic human heroes and ruinous family curses.
The new Director of the V&A explores the role of culture and curation in a world turning on a new axis, where intelligence is artificial and some pots are still priceless; where a common wealth of resources and makers can fashion global treasures.
How did the human mind – and the uniquely human ability to devise and transmit culture – evolve from its roots in animal behaviour? The truly unique characteristics of our species – such as our intelligence, language, teaching, and co-operation – are not adaptive responses to predators, disease or other external conditions. Rather, humans are creatures of their own making. The evolutionary biologist traces our rise from scavenger apes in pre-history to modern humans able to design iPhones, dance the tango and send astronauts into space.
Francis’ re-telling of the first four stories of the Welsh classic is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world: a baby is kidnapped by a monstrous claw, a giant wades across the Irish Sea to do battle, a wizard makes a woman out of flowers, only to find she is less biddable than he expected. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
War, glory, despair and mourning: for 2,700 years Homer has gripped listeners and readers with the stories of Achilles’ anger and Hector’s death, and of Odysseus’ decade-long journey home from Troy. Verity discusses his vigorous and elegant new translations with Peter Florence.
The classicist and novelist reimagines the Oedipus and Antigone stories from the perspectives of two of the women who have often been overlooked, Jocasta and Ismene; re-telling the myth to reveal a new side of an ancient story.