MemorialDay, 2009

In General by Barry Strauss

A spring afternoon several years ago found me in Volterra, Italy. I was following in giant footsteps by coming to this town. Located in the hills of western Tuscany, Volterra sits on a steep rise that commands the route between Pisa and Florence. The town’s strategic location and wealth, derived from alabaster and iron ore, have attracted conquerors ranging from …

Barry StraussMemorialDay, 2009

Core Values

In Rowing, Spartacus by Barry Strauss

When I took up a rowing some years ago, I learned that things were not as they seemed. People speak of “pulling an oar,” but in fact, rowing is more about pressing than pulling. By pressing against the foot-stretcher, a rower’s legs do more to move the boat than his arms do by pulling the oars. If that seems counter-intuitive, …

Barry StraussCore Values


In Spartacus by Barry Strauss

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 Strauss

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 Strauss

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 Strauss

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 Strauss

“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

Roman Holiday

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss

Today’s post is a guest blog for The Historical Society.

Barry StraussRoman Holiday

Did Spartacus Torture?

In Spartacus by Barry Strauss

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 Strauss

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