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.
A bronze statue, ‘The Boxer of Quirinal.’ Sometimes ancient Greek boxers would bribe their opponents.
When fame and glory are at stake, human nature seems to dictate that some people will cheat.
National Olympic committees may not be good at explaining what the benefits of the Games are – but the Greeks were.
Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games/Flickr
In a time when war and sports are the primary means of competition, Olympic gold has never been so valuable – or expensive.
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi, where the wisdom of the oracle was dispensed.
Cicero asked: 'how to become famous?' Nero sought to know the timing of his death. The Oracle at Delphi offered pronouncements on all manner of topics - yet as with Google today, the question posed was as important as the answer.
Brian Halsey, 'Novem II,' 1981, 8 Color Silkscreen Serigraph
Many praise the internet as a democratizing force. But with online spaces replacing physical public squares as places for debate, what do we risk losing?