Ever wondered why ancient prostitutes used to smear vinegar on the organs of prospective clients? Or where Roman generals sourced their underwear? Or what the Praepositus Camelorum did for kicks? Or why the Greeks had a verb for ‘to stick a radish up the fundament’? Chances are, probably not. The study of Classics, as a recent Education Secretary declared, is as outdated as the ancient universities that still bother to serve it up for a degree. The days of pipe-smoking, sex-starved dons peppering their conversation with Ciceronian bon mots are mercifully over. The very notion of the ‘classical’ has been debunked by decades of post-structuralism in the academy and cultural relativism in society. Who needs Sophocles when you can have Eminem? Why learn Greek when you can take Urdu?
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What's the worth of being zen when the icecaps are melting and populism looms? The world's leading thinkers including @ronpurser will assess the 'mindfulness' craze at the world's largest philosophy and music festival, @HTLGIFestival, this May. Learn more: http://ow.ly/STu650ywARQ
'Feminists have been caricatured so often that it’s worth recalling the many obstacles placed in the path of women campaigning for equal rights.'
@polblonde on @helenlewis's new book about difficult women throughout history.
'Too many historians sneer at our forbears; scolding them if they follow the customs of their own day ... tut-tutting if the poor things are detected having a little fun.'
From the archive, Mary Clive on medieval travellers.