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

Modern Classics

THEATRE Kings Tricycle, London

Words: Hostess

Children taken to parties used to be told to behave and to be sure to say a nice thank you to the hostess, most likely remembered as a stately dame with what the French would call beaucoup de monde au balcon. Later, hostesses presided (always the word) over the afternoon teacakes and scones, and were gracious. Modern hostesses of this sort have little in common with the wide-eyed 17-year-old "Soho hostess" who, according to reports, befriended the Tory MP Piers Merchant, apart from the name they share.

words: Political

AS pre-election tempers get hotter and insults fly faster, we can expect to hear more and more politicians using one of the most insulting words they know. Political. A loyal backbencher threw it at the Opposition last week in defence of Douglas Hogg, who was in a bit of trouble over the state of our abattoirs. To attack Mr Hogg at this juncture was "blatant political opportunism", he cried. Mere opportunism, one felt, was one thing, but that sort ... To what further depths could an Opposition sink?

Dangerous days on the cyberfrontier

In the new world of the Internet, the best and the worst of American business is on view

How mystical seven gives a nod to big ears

From the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Wonders of the World to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and the Seven Dwarfs, the number seven has a significance denied to other, lesser (or greater) digits - and the human body is not exempt.

words Economy

Economy

How the Greeks got there first

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

Theatre: Comedy of Errors The Other Place, Stratford

The Comedy of Errors tempts most directors into a fit of camp evasion. The main part of the play is a farce in which Shakespeare shows off his youthful virtuosity by juggling two pairs of identical twins rather than the single pair of lookalikes he found in his Plautine source. Framing this action, though, is a story that looks forward to the shipwrecks, sunderings and miraculous reunions of the later romances.

The sound boxes of Aeschylus

THE BROADER PICTURE

Letter: Ancient tradition

Sir: Does it occur to Colin Campbell (Letters, 30 April) that the tradition of painting stone buildings goes back to the Ancient Greeks?

Arts: The bluffer's guide to Birtwistle

On the eve of a major South Bank retrospective of the composer's work, Malcolm Hayes constructs an acrostic portrait of the man the Hecklers love to hate

The Bacchae: The Library Theatre, Manchester and on tour

Euripides' The Bacchae is strong meat, literally. Its dominant image is of dismemberment, animal and then human flesh seized alive and devoured in the furthest reach of frenzy available to human kind.

Letter: Geocentric views in ancient Greece

From Mr Julian B. Barbour

LETTER:Oedipal rage

From Mr George MacDonald Ross
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine