Gossip was a powerful tool for the powerless in Ancient Greece

Through calculated use of gossip, women, non-citizens, or slaves wielded a potent weapon against those who wronged them.

Photo credit: Nicholas Tsikourias / Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

At the heart of the greatest works of Ancient Greek literature are mighty acts of revenge. Revengers overcome their enemies through superior physical prowess, as when Achilles kills Hector in a single combat to avenge the death of his comrade Patroclus; or through their employment of trickery and deceit, as when Medea slays Creon and his daughter by using poisoned clothing in revenge against Jason, her unfaithful husband. But how could a person lacking in physical strength, magical abilities or supportive friends take revenge?

Keep reading Show less

Oil execs should be tried for crimes against humanity, essayist Kate Aronoff argues

Climate change is a dire threat, perhaps it is time to put the people who created and denied the problem on trial?

Photo credit: SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP / Getty Images
  • A new essay published in Jacobin argues that the time has come to try the executives of oil companies for crimes against humanity as a result of their actions promoting climate change.
  • There is a legal precedent, as the heads of several German companies were tired for such crimes after WWII.
  • Even if it never comes to pass, discussing the idea could give us a sense of what steps to make the world a greener place are possible.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less

I worked in the prison system for 5 years. Here’s what it does to a person.

Bishop Jahwar saw first-hand that prison often doesn't work as intended.

  • Most people who go to prison are not incorrigible criminals — just normal people who made mistakes.
  • The prison system can become breeding ground for antisocial behaviors.
  • Bishop Jahwar worked with prisoners to help them retain the core of who they were and "take masks off".
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less