Hollywood and the Great Captains of Greece and Rome

(In honor of Oscar week, my ancient ghosts have turned the blog over to an unnamed Hollywood critic.) It is possible to make a great movie about the three greatest generals of the ancient world – Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar – but you would hardly know it from Hollywood’s record. With one exception, Hollywood has failed to rise to the …

Hannibal’s Path: Iran, Israel, and America

Hannibal’s Ghost came back from his sacrifice. He had such a fierce look about him that I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had just passed a child through fire to Moloch. But I didn’t ask. “Welcome back, oh Subjugator of Spain. Before you left, you were clearing up my misconceptions about the Middle East. Let’s return to that subject, …

Hannibal’s Path: is War Coming in the Middle East?

His bearded face had a weather-beaten look. His one good eye stared in scrutiny beside an aquiline nose. A man in his 60s, he still looked strong and unbowed–for a ghost. He was the shield of Carthage, the avatar of Hercules, the symbol of the one-eyed Celtic war god, the counselor of kings, the idol of the Army, and the …

Bread and circuses

With Super Bowl XLVI upon us, I summoned the ghost of the most victorious Roman of them all, Julius Caesar. “Hail, professor,” he said. “I see that you’ve got a cast on your left arm. Is that a football injury?” “No. I got it working out at the gym. I learned the hard way that I’m not 30 anymore.”