John Houboldt: The Man Who Bucked the System to Get Us to the Moon

A fundamental decision that led to the successful lunar landings came largely as a result of one man’s determination to buck the system at NASA. By Scott Neuman The Apollo program conjures images of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon and the massive team effort involved in getting him there. But a fundamental decision[…]

The Messy Genius of W. H. Auden

A disheveled poet crafted verse of exquisite order. Thanks to the popular 1994 movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, thousands of people who had probably never read a word from poet W. H. Auden have been exposed to his work. In one scene, a character eulogizes his companion by reciting Auden’s “Funeral Blues” for the other mourners. The poem is[…]

Ellen N. La Motte: Hemingway before Hemingway

Ellen N. La Motte’s ‘The Backwash of War’ was praised for its clear-eyed portrayal of war, but was swiftly banned. Yet the similarities between her spare prose and Hemingway’s are unmistakable. Virtually everyone has heard of Ernest Hemingway. But you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knows of Ellen N. La Motte. People should. She[…]

The Pisonian Conspiracy: The Beginning of the End for Nero

The plot reflected the growing discontent among the ruling class of the Roman state with Nero’s increasingly despotic leadership. The conspiracy of Gaius Calpurnius Piso in AD 65 was a major turning point in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero (reign 54–68). The plot reflected the growing discontent among the ruling class of the[…]

The Crime of Desertion in Roman Law

Roman law provisions on desertion had features that were totally different from the common Roman criminal law. Introduction While watching –once again—the classic and broadly acclaimed movie Ben-Hur, I thought about the legal consequences of deserting from the Roman Army for Roman conscripts and soldiers. Desertion was a serious crime under Roman military law, as[…]