Veterans Day

In General by Barry Strauss

Soldiers suffer stress. That story, as old as Homer, has resurfaced after last week’s massacre at Fort Hood. An American soldier shot and killed other American soldiers. Perhaps the shooter was a victim who snapped under stress, as some now claim, or perhaps he was a terrorist whose warning statements the Army ignored. Investigators are currently working to cover people’s …

Barry StraussVeterans Day

From Troy to Afghanistan

In Troy by Barry Strauss

This week I revisited the Trojan War: I gave the John C. Rouman Classical Lecture at the University of New Hampshire. Although I’ve told that story before, it’s been a year or two, and I couldn’t help but feel how fresh it is. “The past is a foreign country,” as the saying goes – or is it? A long war, …

Barry StraussFrom Troy to Afghanistan

Fault Lines

In Troy by Barry Strauss

The sunny, summer scene deceives. In the foreground are swimmers and a beach. Look again and you will see a cemetery and a ruined fort. The place is Gallipoli, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. Beyond the fort lies one of history’s most fought-over waterways, the Dardanelles or Hellespont. On the other shore lie …

Barry StraussFault Lines

By the time I got to Woodstock

In General by Barry Strauss

Friday evening, August 15, 1969, found me in the traffic jam to end all traffic jams. I was on the Garden State Parkway in Northern New Jersey. The cars lined up bumper-to-bumper all around me were headed for Woodstock. I was not. I was sitting on a commuter bus, heading home. I worked a summer job as a clerk in …

Barry StraussBy the time I got to Woodstock

Autostradivarius

In General by Barry Strauss

There are worse places to drive than Italy. But for yours truly, a few thousand clicks up and down the roads of the boot, earlier this month, proved enough of a challenge to satisfy my urge for merit badges for a while. A search for Hannibal and Caesar took Marcia and me on a two-week driving trip from Milan to …

Barry StraussAutostradivarius

Fields and Dreams

In General by Barry Strauss

Some battlefields state their message plainly, like Gettysburg. Others cry out their pain, like Verdun. But most, I suspect, say absolutely nothing. They are just fields or groves or shopping malls, silent about their bloody past. Cannae is one of those. The site of the greatest battlefield of the ancient world, the place where Hannibal slaughtered 50,000 Romans in an …

Barry StraussFields and Dreams

Declarations

In General by Barry Strauss

My kids are past the age for family outings to the fireworks display. I’m not much for crowds myself, so this Fourth of July I stayed home and set off fireworks for the soul. I re-read the Declaration of Independence. I love the Declaration for many reasons, and not least because it declares. No “on the one hand, on the …

Barry StraussDeclarations

Freedoms

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss

It takes physical courage to demonstrate against an oppressive regime that is willing to kill you, as brave Iranians have done this month. Moral courage is less necessary. When someone holds you in chains, it is obvious that you should break them. All honor, even so, to those who risk their lives.

Barry StraussFreedoms

Speeches

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss

In spring 196 B.C. the Roman proconsul Flamininus gave a speech. The scene was the Isthmian Games, near Corinth. Rome was the new master of Greece, after having smashed the Macedonian army the year before. The Greeks were used to being pushed around by great powers like Macedon. From Rome, they expected more of the same.

Barry StraussSpeeches

New Gladiators

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss

In Spartacus’s day, gladiators advertised by parading through town, displaying their fierce physiques and touting their records of wins and losses. Nowadays, states advertise by testing missiles and nuclear bombs and then peddling the results to a global audience. So, Iran and North Korea in the past week. Their weapons make them winners; the implied loser is the United States, …

Barry StraussNew Gladiators