The Ancient Guide to Modern Life

The Ancient Guide to Modern Life

  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781468300796
  • 288 Pages
  • Overlook Books
  • Adult


This revelatory book explores modern society while journeying back to the Greeks and Romans — "will have readers grabbing for the classics" (Kirkus).

In this thoroughly engaging book, Natalie Haynes brings her scholarship and wit to the most fascinating true stories of the ancient world. The Ancient Guide to Modern Life not only reveals the origins of our culture in areas including philosophy, politics, language, and art, it also draws illuminating connections between antiquity and our present time, to demonstrate that the Greeks and Romans were not so different from ourselves: is Bart Simpson the successor to Aristophanes? Do the Beckhams have parallel lives with The Satiricon’s Trimalchio?

Along the way Haynes debunks myths (gladiators didn’t salute the emperor before their deaths, and the last words of Julius Caesar weren’t "et tu, brute?") from Athens to Zeno’s paradox, this irresistible guide shows how the history and wisdom of the ancient world can inform and enrich our lives today.


"A romp through some of the best-known, and some of the more obscure, writers, thought, and stories of Greece and Rome." — Times Literary Supplement

"Delivered with wonderful energy, wit, zeal, expertise. Irresistible!" — Andrew Motion, former UK Poet Laureate

"A constantly amusing but quite serious book!" — Associated Press