A central convention of Greek mythological narratives called katabasis, the hero’s journey to the underworld or land of the dead.
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Journeys to the Underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety.
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Our new podcast, Essays On Air, features the most beautiful writing from Australian researchers. Today, classics expert Paul Salmond explores how modern cinema directors borrow from Greek legends.
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.
Nero: had a reputation as an arsonist even in antiquity.
The image of a crazed and capricious Emperor Nero is immortalised in popular culture: from fiddling while Rome burns to having a sexual relationship with his mother. The historical evidence, however, is rather different.
Carl Rahl’s Orestes Pursued by the Furies (1852).
The tale of a married woman who joins her lover in Paris, The Beauties and Furies is a modernist classic. Like Joyce's Ulysses, the action is concentrated in one city, but dreams are nightmarish in this city of night, not light.
The north-south divide of the education system.
If you happen to grow up in the south of England, you are more likely to actually study A-levels, and will probably end up with better results than if you go to school and study in the north.
© 2016 Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.
Films set in the ancient world can no longer adequately live up to the demands of the 'epic'. Instead, we should look to films set in space.
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.
Donald Trump and Adam Smith.
Gage Skidmore via Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
American democracy is in thrall to an aggressive demagogue – and Adam Smith and friends saw it coming more than 200 years ago.
William Etty’s Candaules, King of Lydia, Shews his Wife by Stealth to Gyges, One of his Ministers, as She Goes to Bed. The painting illustrates Herodotus’s version of the tale of Gyges.
Herodotus' Histories has it all: tales of war, eyewitness travel writing, notes on flora and fauna and accounts of fantastic creatures such as winged snakes. His stories share a common humanity that speaks to us, 2500 years on.
© Warner Brothers
The Amazons of Greek mythology usually were seduced or subdued by male heroes. Wonder Woman finally overcomes this legacy.
The heroes of the Iliad … or the Labour front bench?
The House of Commons' remarkable debate over air strikes really was a spectacle of heroic proportions.
The UK's approach to classics in school is a hangover from the days of selective education.
In Athenian spirit.
Berlin recently agreed to curb the number of migrants it welcomed after a backlash against Angela Merkel’s suspension of EU rules limiting numbers. It followed previous scenes of crowds welcoming new arrivals…
National Theatre of Wales
Classical epic can seem particularly alien in the instant gratification culture of Instagram and Twitter, yet there's a surge of interest in them.
What is Greece all about? Bearded philosophers? Caryatids? Spartans?
Our current turn towards ancient Greece touches on a fundamental nerve in modern society.
Arthur Conan Doyle himself was also poisoned by heartbreak grass – but this was self-inflicted, and not fatal.
There's much that Perepilichny could have learned from Arthur Conan Doyle, and him in turn from an ancient king called Mithradates.
Concern about international students displacing domestic ones, are misplaced.
Girl Image via www.shutterstock.com
The number of international students on American campuses has increased by 55%. Are they taking the place of American students ?
Which football team do I support again?
Ordinary bloke or posh twit? Meet the ancient Greek David Cameron.
Detail of head of Apoxyomenos. Bronze, Hellenistic or Roman replica after a bronze original.
© Tourism Board of Mali Losinj
The British Museum's exhibition is staunchly traditional. It didn't need bells and whistles, but some modern responses wouldn't have gone amiss.
The Muse allows us to avoid one of the great anxieties about the creative process.
Olivia Newton-John has a lot to answer for. Even now, after 35 years has passed, it is hard to forgive her for her role in Xanadu, a film consistently voted as the worst film of 1980. This is quite an…