Peter Green

Peter Green has translated Greek epics including the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Argonautica, and has written books on Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic age. He worked as a journalist before becoming a professor of classics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Of​ the many enigmas bequeathed by the ancient world to its modern students, few are more tantalising than the seemingly indestructible charisma of Alcibiades (born c.453 bce). After a lifetime of personal scandal, political failure and multiple public betrayals, including that of his country to the Spartans, this enfant terrible still remained, even as a penniless exile, the subject (as...

In 413​ bce, outside Syracuse, the Athenian general Nicias, old and mortally ill, tried to rally the spirits of his defeated troops before their final retreat. A city, he told them, consists of its men, not of its walls or its empty ships. He had in mind their own city of Athens. In 480-79 bce, about a decade before Nicias was born, Athens had been systematically sacked and burned,...

At first sight​ – and indeed after careful investigation – ancient Athens looks anything but an ideal spot for the incubation and development of democracy, whether direct, representative, or the uneasy compromise that eventually emerged. Athens prided itself on having been the sole city not to fall to invaders during the general collapse of Mycenaean dynasties in Greece c.1200

What We Know: Sappho

Peter Green, 19 November 2015

For​ various reasons, many of them neither literary nor trustworthy, Sappho has always exerted a magnetic yet frustrating attraction on later generations. The frustration is due in part to the fact that her poetry is predominantly private, only a small amount of it has survived, and very little has ever been known about her. But it’s also safe to say we’re frustrated because a...

In​ the early sixth century bce the Persians occupied a small region known as Parsa (Persis to the Greeks), now Fars, in south-west Iran. They were allies, perhaps subordinate allies, of the Medes, and had no apparent ambition for greater power. Yet under Cyrus II (559-30) they conquered Lydia, Ionia, Media and Babylonia – most of what today is known as the Near and Middle East...

Should a translator try to shine a light through the fog or to replicate it? What makes that question so hard to answer is that fog isn’t all there is in The Odyssey. Wary manoeuvrings through the mists...

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The Empty Bath: ‘The Iliad’

Colin Burrow, 18 June 2015

Bathtubs play a small but significant role in the Iliad.

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I shall be read: Ovid’s Revenge

Denis Feeney, 17 August 2006

In the year 8 AD, at the age of 50, Publius Ovidius Naso stood at the height of poetic ambition. Fêted and continuously successful for almost thirty years, Ovid had been without a rival...

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Badmouthing City: Catullus

William Fitzgerald, 23 February 2006

Peter Green’s splendid new translation of Catullus makes quite a substantial volume: more than three hundred pages in all, with an introduction, parallel text in Latin and English, notes,...

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Himbo: Apollonios Rhodios

James Davidson, 5 March 1998

The story of Jason sounds like an over-excited pitch to a Hollywood producer, a tale full of sex and violence with a doomed romance at its heart and plenty of opportunity for exotic locations and...

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Old Flames

Peter Parsons, 10 January 1983

Time and philology turn dirt into dust. Housman had to veil Latin obscenity in Latin obscurity; Paul Brandt chose to publish under the speaking pseudonym of ‘Hans Licht’;...

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