Were the Ancient Greeks shameless?

Last week Mary Wakefield discussed the virtues of her ‘Victorian’ education, designed to stiffen the upper lip of the young and to ensure they understood that they were in second place to their elders and betters. She avoided the word ‘guilt’ and its associations with ‘shame’, which were taken to be the aim of such education. Ancient Greeks would have applauded her. Their word for ‘shame’ – aidôs – had very different connotations. The word plays an important part in Europe’s first works of literature, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. For example, when Andromache, wife of the Trojan hero Hector, suggests he retreat from battle, he says he would feel aidôs

Shoplifters need to feel shame

This is my brother’s story and, like many telling stories, it’s small. Tim lives in Iowa, as our mother’s family did, a lightly populated state smack in the centre of the US, and breadbasket to the world. Its rolling hills, panoramic skies and cornfields stippling to the horizon exude what I can only call wholesomeness. This is a place that produces not simply words, ideas or transient technologies, but tangible commodities that keep the human race alive at scale. Historically, Iowans have been friendly, open and guileless; farmers have tended to look out for one another. However much coastal urbanites may disdain the rubes who raise the cattle feed for

The devastating effects of bigamy: Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones, reviewed

Conservative estimates place the number of those in America with more than one spouse as up to 100,000, but the figure is much higher. Bigamy, which is outlawed in 50 states, takes place in secret, with only a handful of people knowing about it. ‘It’s a shame that there isn’t a true name for a woman like my mother Gwendolyn,’ says Dana Lynn Yarboro, the ‘other’ daughter of her father’s ‘other’ wife, in Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow, a novel that examines the multitudinous effects of bigamy — how it can extend families, break them, confuse identity and damage lives. ‘There are other terms I know,’ Dana continues.‘When she is tipsy,