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The Acharnians (Greek: Ἀχαρνεῖς) is the oldest surviving play by Aristophanes and thus the oldest extant comedy in the world. It satirises the plight of rural Athenians during the early Peloponnesian War, through its central character Dikaiopolis, who concludes his own private peace treaty with the Spartans. Continue reading
Posted 12 hours ago at Tom's Learning Notes
Rhesus (Greek: Ῥῆσος) is an Athenian tragedy transmitted in the corpus of Euripides, though its authorship has been disputed since ancient times. Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
In recent months, the conservative think-tank Policy Exchange has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that Brexit is not constrained by the Irish border issue. Just this week, it hosted a conference on the Union, accompanied by new,... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
Cyclops (Greek: Κύκλωψ) is a play by Euripides, probably first produced around 412 BC. It is the only fuly surviving example of a satyr drama, the plays which traditionally provided a comic coda to the tragic trilogies submitted in dramatic competitions at Athenian festivals. Its subject matter is taken from the encounter with Polyphemus in the Odyssey. Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Iphigenia in Aulis or at Aulis (Greek: Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Αὐλίδι) is a tragedy by Euripides, probably first produced at Athens after his death in 405 BC. It dramatises the story of the sacrifice of Iphigenia by her father Agamemnon, in order to ensure the success of the Trojan Expedition. Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Bacchae (Greek: Βάκχαι) is a tragedy by Euripides, found at his death in 406 BC, and produced in 406 BC. The play dramatises the introduction into Greece of the worship of the god Dionysus. Visting Thebes, he is rejected by king Pentheus, and takes his revenge by driving the women of the city into a frenzy of madness. Among them, is Pentheus' mother Agave, who tears her son to pieces before recovering her senses and realizing what she has done. The play ends with their family being banished from the city. Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
Orestes (Greek: Ὀρέστης) is a tragedy by Euripides, first produced in Athens in 408 BC. Based on similar legendary material to Aeschylus' Oresteia, it recounts the flight of Orestes and Electra from the vengeance of the Furies after killing their mother Clytemnestra, the intervention of their uncle Menelaus, and the resolution of matters by the god Apollo. Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Phoenician Women (Greek: Φοίνισσαι) by Euripides is the longest surviving tragedy in existence. It was originally produced sometime between 412 BC and 408 BC, and its retelling of the legendary struggle for the city of Thebes, seen through the eyes of chorus of innocent Phoenician bystanders, may reflect conditions in Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
Helen (Greek: Ἑλένη) is a play by Euripides based on a variant legend in which the real Helen never reached Troy but was taken to Egypt by the God Hermes, where she is rescued by Menelaus. Free online texts Internet Archive: Euripides I. Iphigeneia at Aulis, Rhesus, Hecuba, The daughters... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
Ion (Greek: Ἴων) is a play by Euripides, probably composed around 412BC. The title character is the son of Apollo, by Creusa daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens. Abandoned at birth, his recognition by his mother in adulthood provided a theme that would influence the later New Comedy. Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Iphigenia in Tauris (Greek: Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Ταύροις) is a tragedy by Euripides probably first performed in Athens some time around 412 BC. The play's usual English title is, strictly speaking, the Latin name meaning 'Iphigenia among the Taurians'. Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
Lewes Labour Party very kindly invited myself and Professor Mary Hickman to speak on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement this week. Below is the text of my prepared remarks, which I think bears some resemblance to what... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
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The Trojan Women is a tragedy by Euripides, originally produced in Athens in 415 BC, the same year in which the Athenians captured the island of Melos, an event of often thought to have influenced the play's theme. It centres on the fate of a series of captive women during... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
After being moved in the Lords by Lord Hayward on Tuesday, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Bill passed its first hurdle in the Commons yesterday. The bill secured first reading without objections after a powerful speech by St Helens North MP Conor McGinn Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
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Conservative peer Lord Hayward will introduce a bill on equal marriage in Northern Ireland in the House of Lords on Tuesday, with Labour MP Conor McGinn set to introduce an identical bill in the Commons on Wednesday. Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
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Do the Irish in Britain have a role to play in bring about a united Ireland? That was the theme of a one-day conference hosted by Sinn Fein at the TUC in London on Saturday. Such conferences have been a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
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The Description of Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις) by Pausanias is a guide to continental Greece written in about 160 CE. It focuses mainly on places and monuments of historical, religious and artistics interest, with observations on the natural world featuring only occasionally. Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Strabo's Geographica or Geography (Greek: Γεωγραφικά) is the most important work on its subject to survive from the ancient world, giving a comprehensive account of those parts of Europe, Asia and Africa known to the Romans. Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
Last year I wrote for the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) on documents which raised questions about the role of MI5 in the handling of internees in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s. Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
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Heracles or the Madness of Heracles (Greek: Ἡρακλῆς μαινόμενος, Latin Hercules Furens) is a tragedy by Euripides which may have been produced in about 417 BC. The play opens with Heracles' wife and children at the altar of Zeus in Thebes, where they are threatened with death by the tyrant Lycus. Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
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Euripides' Electra (Greek: Ἠλέκτρα) is sometimes thought to have been produced in around 413 BC, around the time of the Sicilian Expedition, but may be somewhat earlier. The play gives Euripides' version of the story of the Argive princess Electra and her long-lost brother Orestes, and their murder of their mother Clytemnestra in revenge for the death of their father, Agamemnon. Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
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The Suppliants or The Suppliant Women (Greek: Ἱκέτιδες; Latin Supplices) is a tragedy by Euripides produced in around 422 BCE, a time when it's portrayal of an alliance between Athens and Argos would have been of some contemporary relevance. Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes
The Electoral Commission has today released its first ever figures for party donations in Northern Ireland. Thanks to the DUP-Conservative alliance in the Commons, the figures do not cover the Brexit referendum. Despite an extensive investigation by openDemocracy, we still... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
Today's Independent carries some very worrying reporting about the British Government's latest Brexit plan for the Irish border Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2018 at The Green Ribbon
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The Moral Letters to Lucilius (Latin: Ad Lucilium epistulae morales) were composed by the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca ('The Younger'), during his retirement from the Imperial court in 62-65 AD, a period which ended with his suicide on the orders of the emperor Nero. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at Tom's Learning Notes