Voices

If he had been just a kindly chap, nobody outside his family would have noticed

Excavation reveals ancient site of slaughter: David Keys reports on gruesome discoveries under a Roman arena used for blood sports

The gruesome remains of prisoners slaughtered almost 2,000 years ago in the Roman Britain equivalent of the Colosseum have been discovered by archaeologists in central London.

Travel: Where history is hot stuff: Ancient Romans spring to life in Bath thanks to a museum programme that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Frank Barrett reports

PERSUADING children that history is interesting - or at least as interesting as level three of Sonic the Hedgehog - can be a little difficult.

Ancient Rome can work wonders for modern Britons: The language of ancient Rome can work wonders for the literacy skills of modern Britons, says Susan Elkin

THEY did not teach us English at my traditional grammar school. Or at least, not in the sense that it is now prescribed in the national curriculum, as 'knowledge about language', nor in the style of the national curriculum proposals for English, with their greater emphasis on spelling, punctuation and syntax. Our English lessons were spent almost entirely on literature and creative writing. Learning about English took place in Latin lessons, and what a sound basis it was.

BOOK REVIEW / Beware the Ides of March: Caesar - Allan Massie: Hodder & Stoughton pounds 14.99

FOR MOST of us Julius Caesar lives, as a schoolroom memory of Shakespeare, in the moment of his dying as he slumps in slow motion beneath the daggers of his assassins. Allan Massie's achievement in Caesar (as in Augustus, in particular, and in Tiberius), is to infuse the mythical emperor with blood, to press succulent marrow into the hollow of his bones.

Only connect: hoi polloi, Dracula, the Reichstag, kudos . . .

TEN PLURAL nouns that you never see used in the singular:

Special Report on Office Automation: Change of emphasis challenges managers: Purchasing decisions should focus on buying the right technology and involving staff where the decision affects them, writes Paul Gosling

STATE of the art office technology changes so fast it could be said to be frightening. Literally so, as a survey published last year by the Institute of Management showed that the majority of managers continue to be scared of computers.

BOOK REVIEW / Found guilty in world literature's blind alleys: 'After Babel' - George Steiner: Oxford University Press, 9.99

TRANSLATORS belong to a class of professionals whom the world takes pleasure in reviling. Like estate agents, solicitors and accountants, they enjoy a function similar to that performed by the 'sin-eaters' of certain primitive communities, whose job was to absorb others' sense of blame for wrongdoing through the consumption of a ritual meal. Should we fail to enjoy, let alone understand, a novel or a poem, we can always lay the guilt on a faulty rendering, with a swipe or two at syntax and vocabulary for good measure. Even the classic interpretations, Dryden's Virgil, Pope's Homer, North's Plutarch (itself a translation translated) are commended with a nudging indulgence normally reserved for the kind of eccentric concert pianist who manages a brilliant performance with only half the right notes.

Letter: The end of the Roman empire

YOUR map illustrates quite clearly the northernmost extent of the Roman Empire as Hadrian's Wall ('Civilisations', Review, 24 January). I live some 50 metres from the line of the wall of Antoninus Pius. To quote from the first chapter of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: 'This wall of Antoninus, at a small distance beyond the modern cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, was fixed as the limit of the Roman province.' This wall was occupied intermittently for most of the second century AD.

Lost their marbles

POMPEII (Reuter) - Thieves making off with huge pieces of marble from the ancient Roman city of Pompeii were thwarted when their overloaded getaway car ended up in a ditch, Italian police said.

Letter: Peace in his time

Sir: It seems a great pity that so much attention should be paid to 30 January as the date of Hitler's rise to power in 1933, rather than as the date of the Roman Emperor Augustus's consecration of the Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis) in 9BC. The altar marked the establishment of peace over a large area of the civilised world, including the land that used to be Yugoslavia and the whole of the Middle East. The peace lasted, virtually unbroken, for something like 200 years. Would this not be a better anniversary to celebrate?

Gentlemen always travel by bobsleigh: Rosie Millard meets a group of holidaymakers dedicated to winter sports, Twenties style

A YOUNG man saunters up to me, a large watch on a chain dangling from his tweed jacket. We are in Boisdale's, a small wine bar in central London. 'We always kick off from Boisdale's,' he announces. 'It's the tradition.'

On a fax and a prayer

'Fax your way to heaven' is Israel's new answer to modern prayer, writes Sarah Helm.

Travel: The New Grand Tour: The unholy Romans' empire: The Rome of the imagination, of Keats, Goethe and Gibbon, is as rich as ever, writes Godfrey Hodgson. You just have to accept that modern Romans have a claim on it too

WHICH is the best view of Rome? The cognoscenti cannot agree. From the Janiculum hill, which lies to the west of the city, says one school of thought, and by preference first thing in the morning. Then, says G M Trevelyan, you can look down on 'the city spread beneath our feet in all its mellow tints of white and red and brown, broken here and there by masses of dark green pine and cypress and by shining cupolas raised to the sun', and behind it the 'grander dome' of the Alban mount, from which, some time before 753BC, the first Romans came down to found the City.

Letter: Hebrew farewell to Dizzy Gillespie

Sir: Although I do not particularly like jazz, I was sad to read about the death of Dizzy Gillespie (Obituary, 7 January). When I was a kibbutz volunteer in Israel in 1975, I was fortunate to be present at his concert at the Cesarea Roman amphitheatre.

BOOK REVIEW / Fat Jesus and dancing Paul: 'Live From Golgotha' - Gore Vidal: Deutsch, 14.99

IT SOMETIMES happens that a critic will judge it incumbent on himself (or herself) to preface a review with a 'declaration of interest'. In a similar spirit, if with a slight shift in etymological emphasis, I feel duty- bound to declare a certain lack of interest: before being invited to review it, I was not too well disposed to Live from Golgotha.
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen