In Spartacus by Barry Strauss4 Comments

When American President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Washington, D.C. next week, the ghost of Rome will stalk the room. Although the Founders modeled themselves on the Roman Republic, Americans have long had an identity crisis: are they homebodies like Cincinnatus, who prefer the plow to politics, or tyrant-slayers like Brutus, who seek to strike …

Barry StraussFriends

Terrorists and Gladiators

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss2 Comments

Attorney General Eric Holder testified in the Senate Thursday that no terrorists would be released from Guantanamo Bay Prison into the United States – or anywhere else. Presumably, those Guantanamo prisoners whom he has earlier said would be released are not terrorists.

Barry StraussTerrorists and Gladiators

How to Succeed in a Recession

In Spartacus by Barry StraussLeave a Comment

Even in a recession, someone always makes money. You’ve just got to have the right product to sell. Today’s newspaper carried a report that antiques are doing well, especially at the high end. The rich, it seems, need someplace to put their money, and many distrust the stock market these days. So why not buy a Louis XV chair? Or …

Barry StraussHow to Succeed in a Recession

Vote for Spartacus

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss2 Comments

He’s running for office. Of all the details in various media reports about boxing champ, Manny Pacquiao, that’s the one that strikes me. Pacquiao will face Ricky Hatton in a sold-out fight in Las Vegas on Saturday. The bout is highly touted, and for good reason, since Hatton holds a world title (140-pounds) and Pacquiao is often thought to be …

Barry StraussVote for Spartacus

Giant Steps

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss2 Comments

“Pitiful, helpless giant,” anyone? Richard Nixon’s salty description of American impotence comes to mind at this week’s news. The Wall Street Journal reported that hackers broke into the Pentagon’s most expensive and confidential program – the Joint Strike Fighter – and made off with a treasure trove of data. So much for the security system of the F-35 Lightning, the …

Barry StraussGiant Steps

Did Spartacus Torture?

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss2 Comments

The question of whether the Bush Administration engaged in torture is in the news again. While others consider the matter, I found myself wondering whether Spartacus engaged in torture. Certainly, he tried to protect civilians. On an autumn day in 73 B.C., his troops fell on a farming town in an upland valley of southern Italy. The Thracian ordered his …

Barry StraussDid Spartacus Torture?


In Spartacus by Barry Strauss7 Comments

The reality of the Somali pirates hit home in much of America this past week with the kidnapping and release of an American merchant ship captain. Seizure on the high seas, Navy Seals – this was the real thing. But it had already hit home to me last year, when Somali pirates seized the French cruise ship, Le Ponant. My …

Barry StraussPirates

Holy Days

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss2 Comments

Christians and Jews will both celebrate major holidays this week, with the coming of Passover on Wednesday and Easter on Sunday (Orthodox Easter falls a week later). Spartacus may seem odd in this context: a man who followed the sword and was later idealized by an anti-religious movement, communism. But think again.

Barry StraussHoly Days

Lincoln and Spartacus

In Spartacus by Barry StraussLeave a Comment

Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial on a visit to Washington, D.C., I couldn’t help comparing the Rebel Gladiator and the Great Emancipator. The differences are legion, but one thing unites the two men: both freed slaves. In each case, emancipation was a means to an end. Spartacus aimed at hurting Rome, Lincoln, at weakening the Confederacy. But Lincoln …

Barry StraussLincoln and Spartacus