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People respond to crisis, not to say imminent apocalypse, in different ways. I’d been expecting to struggle through the final two weeks of term, staggering punch-drunk out of the maelstrom that was 150 Greek History essays into the need to write the final classes – an interesting exercise to view the expansion of Rome from […]

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One assumes that it’s something to do with the imminence of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Remortgage Wednesday and the rest of the run-up to Christmas, but in the last week or so a couple of very strange accounts have appeared on the Twitter. One (“Towoti Group”) has a profile picture of Ryan Gosling, the other […]

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Obviously my ongoing survey of modern literary receptions can’t just stick to works I like and admire. The recent death of novelist Herman Wouk, none of whose books I’ve ever read (but I have seen most of The Caine Mutiny), has naturally prompted a burst of quotations, including the revelation that Thucydides is referenced several […]

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Of course it’s an untestable, highly speculative hypothesis, if not downright wishful thinking, that the current unspeakable pantomime of stupidity, deranged ideology and blinkered short-term political self-interest that is the Brexit debate in Parliament – no, go on, Nevs, tell us what you really think – might have been slightly less awful if more people […]

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The Thucydides Paradox is the way that all the authority of a complex, ambiguous author is used to legitimise a simplistic, reductionist account of his work. The high reputation of Thucydides in historical, political and strategic thought was founded on the opinions of people like Thomas Hobbes or Leopold von Ranke who had meditated long […]

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A brief survey of recent British history as reflected in the changing title of my putative next Thucydides book… 2015: Thucydides and Modern Political Thought 2016: The Human Thing: Thucydides on Politics and its Failings 2017: Faction, Populism and the Politics of Truth; Hope, Danger’s Comforter 2018: It’s the Melian Dialogue, Stupid (And You’re the […]

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How should we imagine the Athenians at Melos – coldly rational technocrats, bombastic neocons, sardonic British imperialists..? (As I’ve mentioned before, one of my embryonic projects is to explore different ways of presenting the Melian Dialogue, to bring out different facets). One obvious – probably too obvious – possibility is the comic book supervillain, not […]

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Here is Donald. Here is Vladimir. Donald is scared. Donald is greedy. Donald wants everyone to admire his big red balloon. Vladimir has a ruthless, clear-sighted sense of his personal interests. What do you think is going to happen, children? Pat the dog is hiding under the duvet. Here is America. Here is China. America […]

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There’s a very peculiar article in today’s Observer, picking up on the predictably gormless comments earlier this week from Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons Select Committee on Education, about medieval history being fine for those who want to pay for such a luxury but undeserving of public support. To be precise, most of the […]

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A Thucydides Christmas Carol

No, not a heart-warming story about how the curmudgeonly old cynic came to be persuaded of the essential goodness of human nature and the unshakeable bonds of fellowship – okay, simply writing that out makes it seem like a really good idea, but probably not this year – but a reprise of @Thucydiocy’s little song […]

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