Historical

Guide to the classics: Euripides’ Medea and her terrible revenge against the patriarchy

The Athenian poet Euripides was the last of the three great Greek tragedians (after Aeschylus and Sophocles) and also the least successful. Paul Salmond The Conversation Greek tragedies were performed competitively at religious festivals in Athens in honour of the god Dionysus. While 18 of his 90-odd plays have survived, Euripides claimed only four festival victories. One prize was awarded posthumously, indicating that at the Dionysia, as with the Oscars, death could be a handy avenue to success. It’s not ... Read More »

Wayne Johnston got lost in The Odyssey: 12-hour reading offers your chance

Actress Kate Kendall is among the high-profile Melburnians taking part in a 12-hour reading of Homer’s classic. John Bailey The Sydney Morning Herald Carlton football legend Wayne “The Dominator” Johnston would rather read the form guide than The Odyssey, but actor Kate Kendall noticed some similarities between her footy veteran husband and the leading man of Homer’s classic. Both are orphans. Both have lost a son. And while the footy field is far from the battleground, it left Johnston with enough ... Read More »

Why Norman Geras’s essay ‘Our Morals’ should be essential reading for politics students – not a subversive threat

Politics students at the University of Reading were reportedly told to “take care” when reading an essay by the late political theorist, Norman Geras. Stephen De Wijze The Conversation The Observer newspaper reported the students were warned about the essay – which was on their reading list – in order not to fall foul of Prevent, the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy. I worked closely with Geras, who was a professor at the University of Manchester for most of his career. The ... Read More »

Bibliotherapy: how reading and writing have been healing trauma since World War I

Bibliotherapy – the idea that reading can have a beneficial effect on mental health – has undergone a resurgence. Authors: The Conversation There is mounting clinical evidence that reading can, for example, help people overcome loneliness and social exclusion. One scheme in Coventry allows health professionals to prescribe books to their patients from a list drawn up by mental health experts. Even as public library services across Britain are cut back, the healing potential of books is increasingly recognised. The ... Read More »

Friday essay: turning up the level of civilisation

In October 2005 Stephen Colbert was just starting his eponymous show. It is somewhat chilling to realise that this was when he came up with the word truthiness: it seems so now. Julianne Schultz The Conversation It has taken a while to reach maturity and morphed into the even more menacing trumpiness. Truthiness captures the slippery world inhabited by those unencumbered by books, or facts, context or complexity – for those who just know with their heart rather than their ... Read More »

Why Hitler’s top SS man bought a farm in Co Kildare

Papers reveal exchanges between officials and ministers divided over Nazi Otto Skorzeny Stephen Collins The Irish Times Irish ministers and top civil servants were divided about whether Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s favourite SS commando, Otto Skorzeny, should be given permanent residence in Ireland in the… Skorzeny, who led the daring rescue of Mussolini from Allied hands, was a regular visitor to Ireland. He bought a farm in Co Kildare in 1959 and wanted to become a… The latest volume of Documents ... Read More »

Why the history of messianic Judaism is so fraught and complicated

When Loren Jacobs, member of the Shma Yisrael Congregation, offered a prayer for the victims of the Tree of Life congregation at a campaign rally attended by Mike Pence, it left many Jews feeling very upset. Ingrid Anderson The Conversation The vice president’s office later denied inviting Jacobs to the event. Jacobs is a messianic Jew and part of a group called Jews for Jesus. Here is why their relationship with Jews is so fraught. Messianic Jews Messianic Jews consider ... Read More »

A couple denied being neo-Nazis. Their photo of baby ‘Adolf’ proved otherwise

Claudia Patatas and Adam Thomas had long denied being leading members of the white power group National Action, which is banned in Britain. But their family photos suggested otherwise. Cleve R. Wootson Jr The Age / The Washington Post There is the one of Patatas holding their newborn while Thomas holds a flag emblazoned with the Nazi swastika. And there’s one of Thomas cradling the baby boy; the child is wearing polka-dot pyjamas, his father the sort of hooded robe ... Read More »

Palestine and Britain: forgotten legacy of World War I that devastated the Middle East

For those of us of an age to have known only peace in Western Europe, the centenary of the end of World War I is a an opportunity to learn something of the extreme consequences of the failure to… James Rodgers The Conversation And when the world marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, millions fell silent to remember the pain and sacrifice of that conflict. But another anniversary that fell this year – that of the end of the ... Read More »

World War I ended 100 years ago, but what if it happened now?

Meet James, he is 21 and a labourer. He loves the cricket, hopes to start his own business and hangs out with his mate Harry on weekends. Laura Gartry ABC He’s been dating his girlfriend Ashleigh for six months, and she’s told her best friend Lucy she’s pretty sure he’s the one. James has never considered joining the army and the closest he’s come to violence is seeing a fight at the pub. Then war breaks out on the other ... Read More »

German politicians remember Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom

Germany is marking the 80th anniversary of attacks on Jews that foreshadowed the Holocaust. November 9 has been a fateful date for Germany in other regards as well. Ben Knight DW German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for “democratic patriotism” as the country commemorated three fateful moments of German history that occurred on November 9. In a speech to the Bundestag on Friday morning, Steinmeier said the date was “marked by ambivalence” for Germany. “On November 9, we Germans remember both things — the light and the shadows ... Read More »

World War I: Europe and the politics of remembrance

Exactly 100 years ago, World War I came to an end. France and the UK will be holding major commemorative events, and high-ranking German leaders will be attending. What does this tell us about our respective cultures? Christoph Hasselbach DW On the morning of November 11, 1918, at 10:59, American soldier Henry Nicholas Gunther stormed towards a German machine gun position and was killed — exactly one minute before the armistice that ended World War I came into effect. Gunther was ... Read More »

A 1965 Novel About an Unhinged President Is Being Rereleased

A 1965 Times review of Fletcher Knebel’s “Night of Camp David” called the book “too plausible for comfort.” Alexandra Alter The New York Times A couple of months ago, prominent political pundits began buzzing about a provocative book by a Washington journalist. The book — which raised questions about what Congressional leaders should do if the president was mentally unstable and unfit for office — wasn’t a new expose about the Trump administration. It was a 1965 political thriller by Fletcher ... Read More »

“Maria by Callas”… New Documentary On The Legendary Opera Singer Told Her Own Words

Time magazine called her “a woman for whom the term prima donna could have been invented” and the “undisputed queen of the world’s opera”. WYSK This weekend, the life story of Maria Callas, one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century, is coming to the big screen. Maria by Callas is the first film to present the story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer, completely in her own words. Her remarkable journey through stardom is ... Read More »

Eerie recording reveals moment the guns fell silent at the end of WWI

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent. It brought an end to four years of war which crippled Europe, leaving 17 million dead including 888,246 British or Colonial servicemen. Jen Mills Metro As we approach the centenary of the Armistice on November 11, the Imperial War Museum has released a recording of the moment the war ended, patched together using recordings from their collections. The artillery activity it illustrates was recorded ... Read More »

The Possibility of US Withdrawal from the INF Treaty

It is no secret that the modern globalised world is increasingly dependent on the quality of states implementing international agreements that regulate relations between countries. ISF This is of particular importance in fields such as human rights, the environment, and, of course, disarmament and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) prohibition. On October 20 Donald Trump stated that the US decided to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to start developing weapons prohibited under the treaty. This ... Read More »