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There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan war whose voice has been silent – until now. Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story? The Booker-winning novelist reimagines the greatest Greek myth of all – retold by the witness history forgot.
The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across the oceans and sky in between. These are the stories of the women embroiled in that legendary war and its terrible aftermath, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all. With wit and humour, stand-up comedian, Radio 4 broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes brings the story of the Trojan War to life from an all-female perspective, giving voices to the women, girls and goddesses who, for so long, have been silent.
Focusing on republican politics in ancient Rome, the speeches of Cicero and parallels between ancient and modern political speech, Van der Blom explores what the study of ancient rhetoric contributes to current debates about political communication. Van der Blom is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham, founding director of the Network for Oratory and Politics and the leader of a research project into the crisis of speech in modern British politics.
The launch of a new literary biography of the younger Pliny, who grew up to become a lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, curator of drains and personal representative of the emperor overseas. Counting the historian Tacitus, biographer Suetonius and poet Martial among his close friends, Pliny the Younger chronicled his experiences from the catastrophic eruption through the dark days of terror under Emperor Domitian to the gentler times of Emperor Trajan.
From the Greek island of Lesbos, Sappho presented one of the earliest forms of passionate literary subjectivity in the history of Western love poetry. As one of the first female love poets with verse embracing both men and women, her legacy in popular culture lives on and her persona has become etymologically attached to female homosexuality. What do we really know about Sappho? As a professional performer she wrote poems in various personae, yet scholars have persisted in regarding every fragment that survives as autobiographical.
The Comma Queen, the bestselling author of Between You & Me, delivers another wise and witty paean to the art of expressing oneself clearly and convincingly, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek. From convincing her New Yorker bosses to pay for Ancient Greek studies to travelling the sacred way in search of Persephone, Norris gives an unforgettable account of both her lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way she explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Chaired by Sameer Rahim of Prospect.
Socrates is the philosopher whose questioning gave birth to the ideas of Western thought, and whose execution marked the end of the Athenian Golden Age. Yet despite his pre-eminence among the great thinkers of history, little of his life story is known. What we know tends to begin in his middle age and end with his trial and death. But what turned the young Socrates into a philosopher? The Oxford classicist presents him as an heroic warrior, an athletic wrestler and dancer, and a passionate lover. D’Angour sheds new light on the formative journey of the philosopher, finally revealing the identity of the woman who Socrates claimed inspired him to develop ideas that have captivated thinkers for 2,500 years.
Why do humans form societies and what is needed for them to thrive? How can women’s potential be actualised? How can we protect ourselves from demagogues and tyrants? Immerse yourself in the strikingly relevant questions of Plato’s influential dialogue, exploring the age-old dilemma: Why should I be just? What is a just society, and how can it be created? The philosopher and classicist revisits the big questions from Plato’s influential 2,500-year-old masterwork of philosophy and political theory, as vital today as they were when first written.
Ben Jonson famously accused Shakespeare of having “small Latin and less Greek”. But he was exaggerating. Shakespeare was steeped in the classics. Shaped by his grammar school education in Roman literature, history and rhetoric, he moved to London, a city that modelled itself on ancient Rome. He worked in a theatrical profession that had inherited the conventions and forms of classical drama, and he read deeply in Ovid, Virgil and Seneca. Revealing in new depth the influence of Cicero and Horace on Shakespeare, Bate offers striking new readings of a wide array of the plays and poems. The heart of the argument is that Shakespeare’s supreme valuation of the force of imagination was honed by the classical tradition and designed as a defence of poetry and theatre in a hostile world of emergent Puritanism. Bate is the author of Soul of the Age: A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare and is co-editor of The RSC Shakespeare: Complete Works.