Tim Whitmarsh

Tim Whitmarsh is professor of Greek culture at Cambridge. Dirty Love: The Genealogy of the Ancient Greek Novel is out now.

Ancient Greek ‘Religion’

Tim Whitmarsh, 20 December 2018

These days​, thanks to Google Books, it is possible to find out when people started paying attention to ‘Greek religion’. The phrase first appeared in print in English in 1654; it became more common in the middle of the 18th century, and reached a peak of popularity in the 19th. This is of course a crude index (and the picture is subtly different in other European languages), but...

‘How to Manage Your Slaves’

Tim Whitmarsh, 3 December 2015

I remember​ being mesmerised by a shackle displayed in Philadelphia’s Lest We Forget Black Holocaust Museum of Slavery. It was a terrible object, the bequest of a past that is still too close. There was nothing metaphorical in the cold, heavy iron. To be ‘shackled’ by that instrument of brutality was not to be constrained or inhibited. Iron shackles survive from...

Roman Education

Tim Whitmarsh, 7 June 2012

The ninth of the Crowns of the Martyrs by Prudentius, the great Christian poet of the fifth century, tells of his visit to the tomb in Rome of Cassian of Imola. Above the tomb hung a grisly portrait of a man surrounded by schoolchildren and perforated with scars. The tomb attendant explained that Cassian was an exacting schoolmaster whose demands on his students were not appreciated, for...


Tim Whitmarsh, 16 June 2011

Apollonius of Tyana was a miracle-working holy man, philosopher and, we’re told, confidant of emperors, whose ministry covered the later part of the first century AD. Later generations would see him as the ‘pagan Jesus’, an icon of traditional polytheism whose cult rivalled that of the upstart Christ. According to his biographer, Philostratus, among the many topics this...


Tim Whitmarsh, 25 February 2010

Lucian of Samosata, nicknamed ‘blasphemer’ or ‘slanderer’ – better, in fact, to call him ‘atheist’, because in his dialogues he went so far as to ridicule religious beliefs … The story goes that he was killed by dogs, because of his rabid attacks on the truth, for in his Life of Peregrinus he inveighed against Christianity, and (accursed man!)...

Atheism in the Ancient World

Barbara Graziosi, 27 July 2016

Zeus delivers​ the first speech in Homer’s Odyssey, and it soon transpires that he is in a petulant mood. ‘This is horrible!’ he thunders. ‘See how mortals blame us, the...

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