Black Sea letters

There are two mysteries about the Roman poet Ovid. The first one is political. After 30 years of fame in Rome as a wildly fashionable poet, Ovid, aged 50, was exiled to Tomis in present day Romania, a port on the western shore of the Black Sea, spent his last 10 years there, and died … More Black Sea letters

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Foot of clay

Akhenaten, the Pharaoh who introduced worship of the Aten, the one god, and banished the rites of other Egyptian gods, left a revolutionary legacy that undermined the role of Pharaoh and led to the end of his dynasty. Akhenaten and his chief wife Nefertiti. These portraits might be in a naturalistic style, and the two … More Foot of clay

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Too fond a friend

In May 1593 the famous playwright Thomas Kyd was arrested in London by officials of the Privy Council, the executive government body of Queen Elizabeth. Kyd was the author of The Spanish Tragedy, a revenge play of European wide fame and influence and he had also written versions of King Lear and of Hamlet, both … More Too fond a friend

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Famous then forgotten

I’ve been reading some of the detective novels of Freeman Wills Crofts (1879-1957), and found him almost completely unknown now other than by a brief biographical notice on Wikipedia. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s though Crofts was one of the best known writers of detective stories in the world, and his titles regularly outsold those … More Famous then forgotten

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Holy books

I’d like to begin this with an acknowledgment of the role of women religious leaders, who have influenced much of the world’s population. They were powerful in many early cultures, in which the deity was female. If they wrote any holy books though, these have not survived. All the more reason not to forget them. … More Holy books

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