"Greek tragedy sometimes seems to be a depressing meditation on the cliche'd "cycle of violence" between the Hatfields and McCoys (except that the two gangs are often married to each other). This is precisely the problem Aeschylus tries to break free of in the second two parts of this great triology, which doubles as a statement on the origins of civilization."
"Part travelogue, journalism, rumor-mongering, fabrication, ethnography and anthropology, and war story. Herodotus is charmingly omnivorous in his interests and curiosities. The last three books are the best."
"An unholy bloodbath precedes the founding of Rome and Caesar's greatness. At least Virgil is honest about it. The Aeneid is the Song of Roland minus the Catholicism, chivalry, and elan. It is the Odyssey and the Iliad, combined and slicked over and made into a dictator's propoganda. And still there are moments of touching nobility."