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Book Review: “How to Tell a Joke,” By Michael Fontaine

Written by Ben Potter, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom As Michael Fontaine’s latest book How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor comes hot on the heels of his fascinating How to Drink: A Classical Guide to the Art of Imbibing, one might reasonably expect the Cornell professor’s next installment to

Patriotism in the Ancient World

Written by Ed Whalen, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom While patriotism is associated with the modern world, scholars now believe that it was very common in the Classical world. Patriotism—which can be defined as a love of one’s country that conditions one’s behaviors and beliefs—played a major role in both Roman and Greek society. There, it

The Mysterious Eleusinian Mysteries: Part 1

Written by Mary Naples, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom Conjuring up mystical images of secret initiation rites held under cover of darkness, the Eleusinian Mysteries were reputedly a dark and dangerous festival. In fact, the rituals were surrounded by such an aura of deadly secrecy that the tragedian Aeschylus was nearly killed on stage just for referencing

Women’s Rights in Ancient Greece

Written by Angela J. Bryant, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom The issue of women’s rights is often considered unique to the modern era. However, it has been an issue as far back as Ancient Greece. Ancient Greece: Limited Rights Abound Perhaps unsurprisingly, women had few rights compared with men back in Ancient Greece. They weren’t able

From Roman Sarcophagi Comes The Gospel of Bacchus

Written by Barry Ferst, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom Serving as a “billboard” for the faithful, images sculpted on Roman-era marble coffins offer a visualization of the Gospel of Bacchus, a graphic stone bible especially meaningful to devotees contemplating death’s doorway. Since much about the cult of Bacchus remains a mystery, a beautifully-carved frieze on a

Rituals, Temples and Worship in the Ancient World

Written by Ben Potter, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom The importance of rituals and temples in the ancient world are hard to clearly differentiate from worship. At first glance this might seen a little odd to the modern reader. These days, it seems perfectly normal for a disinterested secularist to wander around the great cathedrals of the