Emily Wilson interview

An interview with Emily Wilson, translator of Homer’s Odyssey – Part 1

Emily, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your book. What prompted you to tackle a work that has been translated so many times before? Was it your love of the Odyssey, the challenge, a desire to convey Homer’s message using a different voice, or a desire to remedy shortcomings in … Read moreAn interview with Emily Wilson, translator of Homer’s Odyssey – Part 1

An interview with Bettany Hughes, author of Istanbul: a Tale of Three Cities

Bettany, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about your book, Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities. What drove you to write about the city? Byzantion, Constantinople, Istanbul: why has the city always been such an important place? How did you go about researching it, and who is your book for? … Read moreAn interview with Bettany Hughes, author of Istanbul: a Tale of Three Cities

Bettany Hughes

An excerpt from Bettany Hughes’s entry, Istanbul: a Tale of Three Cities

INTRODUCTION

Though all other cities have their periods of government and are subject
to the decays of time, Constantinople alone seems to claim a kind of
immortality and will continue to be a city as long as humanity shall live
either to inhabit or rebuild it. Pierre Gilles, ad 1550

On 4 February 1939 the BBC transmitted an audio-recording of W. B. Yeats’s poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. This was the broadcaster’s tribute to the firebrand Irishman who had died seven days before. Crackling and hissing, the clipped, RP Queen’s English hangs somewhere between the sublime and the sinister, the recording itself a broken reminder of what the great city of Byzantium had and has become.

Read moreAn excerpt from Bettany Hughes’s entry, Istanbul: a Tale of Three Cities

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An interview with Matthew Simonton, author of Classical Greek Oligarchy: a Political History

Matt, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your book, Classical Greek Oligarchy: a Political History, which has a wide frame of reference. You not only cite a very wide range of ancient authors and sources, you also bring in modern political theorists and examples from modern political situations to support your analysis. But then you seem to have studied several different disciplines at university; not just classics and ancient history but modern politics and political theory, and theatre too. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you made these choices? Do you think perhaps the American university system gives more freedom to cross boundaries between academic disciplines than a British university would normally do?

I’ve always been interested in the “big picture” concerning politics and society. As an undergraduate, despite being a Classics major, I think it’s fair to say I was obsessed with political philosophy and political theory, and read them every chance I got.

Read moreAn interview with Matthew Simonton, author of Classical Greek Oligarchy: a Political History

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Matthew Simonton

An excerpt from Matthew Simonton’s entry, Classical Greek Oligarchy: a Political History

At least since the time of the poet Pindar in the mid-fifth century BCE, the ancient Greeks understood that  regimes could be classed according to rule by the one, the few, or the many. Twenty-five centuries later, if one were to press Classical historians on how much attention they have paid to each type, they might respond, with some sheepishness, that two out of three ain’t bad.

Read moreAn excerpt from Matthew Simonton’s entry, Classical Greek Oligarchy: a Political History

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