June 8, 2008

MODERN PROBLEMS OF THE ANCIENTS:

Ancient solutions to modern ills: a review of Vote For Caesar: How the Ancient Greeks and Romans Solved the Problems of Today by Peter Jones (Bettany Hughes, 6/08/08, Daily Telegraph)

The message is clear: there was a time when we remembered the greatness of Greece and Rome, and if we remember it once again we'll be able to sort out our own contemporary messes so much the better. [...]

Crisply, cleverly conjoined, Jones's subjects range from Byzantine intrigue and Cicero ('In battle, laws fall silent') to tyrants who poured molten lead down the throats of the treasonous.

This book follows a worthy tradition; the Alexandrian libraries, the House of Wisdom in Baghdad and the Sicilian Court all commissioned collections of 'ancient world' highlights: lessons and feats of the past that we forget at our peril.

Vote for Caesar is just such a compendium. But whereas the ancient scholiasts confined themselves to jotting the odd note in a margin or re-translating Homer to fit their own world-view, Peter Jones intersperses nuggets from antiquity with an astringent take on the 21st century.

Gordon Brown, The Guardian (often), debt, diets, even poor old Billy Bragg, all come in for a bashing. Jones's son asked whether this was a manifesto; it is certainly the child of a fulminating, pamphlet-producing British tradition. The author is honest: he wears his heart on his sleeve.

Zemanta Pixie

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 8, 2008 10:10 AM
Comments

oj,
Having read Goldsworthy's "Ceasar" and Fox's "The Classical World" I'm inclined to believe Jones's interpertation of history is somewhat biased to the Lefty revisionist view of actual history.

Posted by: Mike at June 8, 2008 9:14 PM

Except he's a Righty.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2008 9:36 PM
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