News A statue of Alexander the Great in the northern Greek city of Salonica. Scientists believe they may have solved the 2000 year old mystery of how the ruler died

A leading toxicologist has said that Alexander the Great may have died after drinking wine made from a poisonous plant that would have cause a slow and painful death

Podium: Knut Vollebaek: Modern conflicts and the legacy of ancient Greece

Taken from the Fridtjof Nansen Memorial Lecture, delivered by the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Columns: A good idea from... Theophrastus

A FEW DAYS ago, I met a woman who told me, "I know someone just like you." "Really," I said (offended). "How do you mean, just like me?" "Well, you know, little hair, a bit gauche, into books. He even wears a big grey coat like yours in winter. It's uncanny." This kind of thing should make one happy. It should be lovely to hear that there is a near clone out there, a soulmate, someone to talk to and go clothes shopping with. But, in actuality, it can be quite horrible, given the strength of our desire to feel special, different, unique.

Numbers: 20

Bubble gum dispenser, Nottingham

Historical notes: The Elgin marbles were never whiter than white

"IN THE history of mankind, Greece will eternally remain the place where mankind experienced its fairest youth and bridal beauty . . . noble youth with fair anointed limbs, favourite of all the graces, victor in Olympia and all the other games, spirit and body together, one single flower in bloom."

Dance: Chaucer is jigging in his grave

Rambert: God's Plenty Palace Theatre, Manchester Sara Baras Sadler's Wells, London

Books: Nietzsche and Plato got it all wrong

In the Dark Places of Wisdom by Peter Kingsley Element pounds 12.99

Edinburgh Festival: Homer's where the art is

After 3,000, years the stories of the Trojan War are still gripping actors and audiences.

Edinburgh Festival `99: Fringe Theatre - The Cure at Troy

Oxford University Touring Company Over-Seas Hse, Venue 19, (0131-225 5105) 6.15pm, to 30 Aug

Theatre: No sex please, we're Ancient Greeks



Germaine Greer's comic skills were the toast of the Cambridge Footlights - and some would argue that feminism's gain has been the comedy world's great loss. Now she has managed to bring comedy and feminism together in her reworking of Aristophanes's Lysistrata, the play which shows women refusing to have sex with their men to stop them fighting a pointless war. Maybe if Monica Lewinsky had been brought up on this text, recent history would have been somewhat different. Remember, cynicism also started with the ancient Greeks.


Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble: Mnemosyne (ECM)

Football: Fame is all in the name


The treasure buried in ancient Acts

The idea that cultural treasure should be returned is not new. "We are the target, if that's the right word, of the most famous request of all," says Andrew Hamilton of the British Museum. He means the Elgin Marbles, a collection of ancient Greek sculptures and fragments brought from the Parthenon in 1801. They were the first authentic classical Greek sculpture to be displayed in London, where they caused a sensation. Unfortunately the Greek government does not accept that the original sale was legal, and has asked for them back. So far the answer has been a polite but firm refusal.
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