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Ancient World

  • Sep 21 / 2017
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Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Phaedrus the Fabulist

Phaedrus, a fable writer

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

This article is one of a series of fictitious interviews with important figures from the ancient Roman and Greek worlds. The concept of made-up interviews first appeared in the writings of the Italian novelist Giuseppe Papini, though he “interviewed” people from more recent times. Today’s interview is with a man who once was a slave, but his talent for writing was so great that his master granted him his freedom. He was a fable writer living during the reign of Augustus, and in my opinion, his stories will live forever. That’s right…I’m talking about Phaedrus! Continue Reading

  • Sep 14 / 2017
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Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Caligula

Bust of Caligula

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

This series of fictitious interviews is based on the Italian writer Papini’s novel Gog. In it, the main character interviews contemporary celebrities, like Freud and Einstein. In this series I’ve done the same, but with well-known personalities from the ancient Greek and Roman world. Continue Reading

  • Sep 07 / 2017
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Ancient World

War Prisoners in Antiquity: The Epic of Gilgamesh

Chaos Monster and Sun God

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

This article is one in a series about the treatment of prisoners of war in Antiquity. I will also compare views on this topic in classical cultures to those in our supposedly enlightened modern age in order to see who comes out looking more “civilized”? In this first article I will discuss the Epic of Gilgamesh, which contains the first reference to prisoners of war in world literature, and demonstrate that five thousand years ago the Sumerians believed that prisoners of war should be treated with respect. Continue Reading

  • Sep 05 / 2017
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Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Tacitus

Modern statue representing Tacitus outside the Austrian Parliament Building

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

This is the third in a series of fictitious interviews with important characters of the ancient world. The idea of made-up interviews first appeared in the novel “Grog” by the Italian writer Giuseppe Papini, though his “interviews” were with people more contemporary. Today’s interview is with the famous Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus. Continue Reading

  • Aug 29 / 2017
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Ancient World

Classical Interviews: Cleopatra

“Cleopatra and Octavian” by Louis Gauffier

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Introduction

This is the second of a series of interviews with celebrities from classical times. This idea first appeared in the novel “Gog” by the Italian writer Giovanni Papini. In that work, the character Gog interviews people like Freud and Picasso. Today I will be interviewing Cleopatra, who was so kind enough to receive me for an interview at Caesar’s home. Continue Reading

  • Jan 24 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Comparative Mythology: Cosmic Wars
Ancient World

Comparative Mythology: Cosmic Wars

Zeus and Thetis by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Comparative mythology is the fascinating examination of myths from different cultures. One of the best aspects of analyzing the ancient Greeks, Hindus, and Nordic peoples is that they have many legends in common. Today we will discuss a myth which is present in three different cultures: cosmic wars! Continue Reading

  • Jan 05 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Io Saturnalia, Amici: Happy Saturnalia, Friends!
Ancient World

Io Saturnalia, Amici: Happy Saturnalia, Friends!

Etruscan dancers from the tomb of the Triclinium in the Necropolis of Monterozzi, c. 470 BCE

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

“During my week the serious is barred: no business allowed. Drinking and being drunk, noise and games of dice, appointing of kings and feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping … an occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water – such are the functions over which I preside.” Continue Reading

  • Oct 30 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Just in Time for Halloween…“Witchcraft, Magic, and Divination in Canaan and Ancient Israel”
Ancient World

Just in Time for Halloween…“Witchcraft, Magic, and Divination in Canaan and Ancient Israel”

Witches Sabbat by Francisco de Goya

 

by Rebecca Gove, M.A.T.

As All Hallow’s Eve quickly approaches, it is easy to mistake the ghouls and goblins that are associated with this holiday as a purely innocent and imaginary spectacle; however, it was not nearly as harmless or intangible to the cultures of the ancient Near East as it is to modern Western society. In fact, the Hebrew Bible is filled with instances of divination, magic, and witchcraft that were taken very seriously by the ancient Semitic world. Jean-Michael de Tarragon examines this supernatural phenomenon in his article entitled “Witchcraft, Magic, and Divination in Canaan and Ancient Israel,” a fascinating and enlightening look at the paranormal in the Old Testament. Not only does he demonstrate his points with remarkable examples from the text, but he also truly captures the importance of the supernatural in the eyes of ancient civilizations and religions. Continue Reading