• Recovering the Story of the Empress Messalina After a Roman Cancellation

    by Honor Cargill-Martin

    After the empress Valeria Messalina's fatal fall from favor with her husband Claudius, her name and image were stricken from public and private spheres, an episode that reveals the tightly-regulated dissemination of imperial women's images (and puts current "cancel culture" panic and whisper networks into perspective). 

  • Cleopatra's Daughter and Other Key Figures of the Multicultural Roman Empire

    by Mary Beard

    Jane Draycott relates the stories of figures like King Juba II of Mauretania in north Africa, who was reared in Rome as a captive and installed by Augustus to lead a puppet buffer state, which shed important light on the diversity within the empire and the multiple ways that Rome exercised power over its vast dominions. 

  • Are the Modern Stoics Really Epicureans?

    by Emily A. Austin

    The Modern Stoicism movement has embraced the classical philosophy, often as part of project of disciplining emotion with rationality. Perhaps adherents should consider the rival philosophy of Epicureanism, which is even more in line with the modern embrace of science. 

  • Adventures in Decoding Cicero's "Consolation"

    by Mike Fontaine

    After scholars argued inconclusively for centuries about whether a treatise on grief attributed to Cicero was a forgery, a computer program suggested it was. The author says the computer got it right, and expands on his own investigation. 

  • All History is Revisionist

    by James M. Banner Jr.

    "The collective noun for a group of historians is an “argumentation,” and for good reason. At the very dawn of historical inquiry in the West, historians were already wrestling over the past, attacking each other."

  • As an Island, Britain Became a Stage for Roman Politicians

    by Richard Hingley

    The conquest of Britain mattered to Roman emperors not for the island's strategic significance, but because it signaled a ruler's mastery of the ancient deity Oceanus and thus his worthiness in domestic politics. 

  • More War Crimes Will Follow in Ukraine

    by Fred Zilian

    To those who believed that war and war crimes in Europe in the 21st century had become unthinkable, Thucydides offers us a simple yet powerful statement: “War is a violent teacher.”

  • Sampling the Epic in Kendrick Lamar's "Mortal Man"

    by Justine McConnell

    Remembering the essential orality of classical epics can help to understand them as works that have been sampled and remixed, and to place contemporary popular culture in dialogue with that tradition. 

  • A Descent into Textual Paranoia

    by Christopher S. Celenza

    "Doing one's own research" in an environment of proliferating information and few gatekeepers isn't new to the internet age. 

  • What if Hannibal Had Won?

    by Philip Freeman

    Historians' dependence on the accounts of Roman historians has distorted modern understanding of Hannibal, the Carthaginians, and the different possibilities for the world if he had succeeded in defeating Rome.

  • Mapping Black Antiquity

    by Sarah Derbew

    Ancient Greek literature is full of depictions of African people that affirm their participation in classical antiquity. Why have these been submerged? 

  • Boris Johnson’s Roman Fantasies

    by Mateusz Fafinsky

    Boris Johnson's recent statements that the collapse of Rome was caused by open borders are well out of step with historical understanding of the fragmenting of the Roman empire, but in line with a long legacy of political misappropriation of Rome as an allegory for the danger of immigrants.

  • Why a Liberal Education is Worth Defending

    by Steve Mintz

    Roosevelt Montas’s forthcoming "Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation" makes a powerful case for engagment with the Great Books as a way to subvert hierarchies and promote equity. 

  • Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience (Thursday, 9/23)

    Nancy Sherman addresses the Washington History Seminar to discuss the maladaptation of Stoicism to the modern self-help industry and a fuller understanding of the lessons of the school. Zoom, September 23, 4:00 EDT.