A painting depicting a debate between Socrates and Aspasia, by Nicolas André Monsiaux, circa 1800.
In Athenian society, it appears some elite courtesans were better educated than traditional wives. Other sex workers were sold into the role as children.
The Fall of the Titans, Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem, circa 1590.
The dream of a "gay utopia" is a constant in gay and lesbian historical imaginings over the last 200 years. But the Greek attitude to same-sex attraction was not nearly as permissive as many have assumed.
A statue of Pericles outside Athens City Hall. Like Trump, Pericles used war to deflect from bad news.
Does ancient Greek war hawk Pericles provide clues to a besieged Donald Trump's next move? War has always been a helpful distraction for cornered world leaders.
The ancient Greeks knew what made a good leader. Why does it seem we have forgotten their lessons?
Odysseus and his crew escape the cyclops, as painted by Arnold Böcklin in 1896.
The story of the Odyssey is a quintessential quest that relates to the passage through life and the importance of love, family and home. Odysseus's adventures have influenced everyone from Batman to Bob Dylan.
The modern marathon distance comes from the 1908 London Olympics.
The story behind the marathon is more complicated than it seems.
The Greeks defend their ships from the Trojans in Alfred Churchill’s Story of the Iliad, 1911.
A central idea in the Iliad - a poetic work focused on the war for Troy - is the inevitability of death. The poem held a special place in antiquity, and has resonated in the millennia since.
Prometheus statue at Rockefeller Center, Manhattan. The inscription behind it is a paraphrase of Aeschylus that reads: “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends”.
How the idea of a hyper-connected society could quickly go from utopia to dystopia and why neither scenario is likely to last.
The fall of the Athenian army in Sicily during the Peloponnesian War in 413 BC as depicted in an 1893 illustration by J.G.Vogt.
As populism reemerges, Thucydides’s insights into the power of words to influence public sentiments remain acutely up-to-date.
A long time ago, in an empire far, far away ...
Yurri and Wanjel - the Gemini stars Castor and Pollux in the Wergaia traditions of western Victoria, Australia.
Stellarium/John Morieson and Alex Cherney
Many of the constellations we know in the night sky come from myths of the ancient Greeks. But similar stories are told by the oldest living cultures on Earth, including those of Australia.
Ostraka from classical Athens nominating the persons of Kallias and Megakles.
Cycladic Art Museum, Athens, Greece/Wikimedia Commons
For the first time in recent memory the possibility of imprisoning political rivals has entered the political discourse of a modern western election. But ostracism is an ancient democratic tradition that offers an alternative approach.
Terracotta warriors date from over 2,000 years ago and are considered to be one of the most important recent archaeological finds.
For centuries, historians have assumed that 'primitive societies' couldn’t have possibly come up with advanced techniques on their own.
Brodie castle, north Scotland.
Albert de Bruijn
How medieval spires and snarling gargoyles went out of fashion and then made a spectacular return under – you guessed it – the Victorians.
The dead wait to be ferried across the River Styx.
The Souls of Acheron (1898) by Adolf Hiremy Hirschl
These days they are scary, but for the ancients, ghosts could be quite useful.
Broken hearts: Helen and Menelaus on a vase, Louvre.
For over 2,800 years, audiences have grappled with the destructive powers of Helen of Troy – and the toxic legacy lives on.
In a world where few believed in an afterlife, this-worldly glory mattered immensely.
There's plenty of evidence to suggest that attempts to manipulate the outcome of the competitions are as old as the Games themselves.
Jim Thorpe and Ben Johnson were both banned from the Olympics. But if each had played at different points in history, they would have been allowed to compete.
Nick Lehr/The Conversation
In sports, what's considered fair play has changed throughout history. At one point, even looking 'too poor' was grounds for exclusion.
Is there a historical parallel to Donald Trump’s rise?
The Athenian politician Cleon was one of the earliest demagogues. An effective, if vulgar speaker, he made extravagant promises and delivered extravagant accusations.
Dig into the details of the ancient Olympics and you find a lot of misinformation, but also a surprising amount in common with the modern games.