In the Classical tradition, deriving from ancient Greece and Rome, beauty was perceived as the means by which the artist captured the viewer's eye in order to engage the viewer with truth and so inspire goodness.
Life for women in ancient Greece was hard - you had to fight for every inch of ground you got. Both Thetis and Briseis are strong, passionate women and in another time and place their lives would have been very different. Part of the tragedy of their characters is how much they have to offer - and how little of that they get to realize. Thetis spends the whole novel fighting the limitations placed on her, desperately trying to eke out the best she can from a bad situation. This makes her fierce and terrifying.
In my Pantheon, Pan still reigns in his pristine glory, with his ruddy face, his flowing beard, and his shaggy body, his pipe and his crook, his nymph Echo, and his chosen daughter Iambe; for the great god Pan is not dead, as was rumored. No god ever dies. Perhaps of all the gods of New England and of ancient Greece, I am most constant at his shrine.
Christianity enhanced the notion of political and social accountability by providing a new model: that of servant leadership. In ancient Greece and Rome no one would have dreamed of considering political leaders anyone's servants. The job of the leader was to lead. But Christ invented the notion that the way to lead is by serving the needs of others, especially those who are the most needy.
All the plays that have ever been written, from ancient Greece to the present day, have never really been anything but thrillers... Drama's always been realistic and there's always been a detective about... Every play's an investigation brought to a successful conclusion.
I read mostly historical fiction - lots of stuff set in ancient Rome and ancient Greece. I also liked sci-fi and fantasy: David Gemmell, Raymond E. Feist. It's a nice escape from the world. As much as I do love real-life stories, they can often make you hurt in a way I'd rather not hurt.
I learned that along with the towering achievements of the cultures of ancient Greece and China there stood the culture of Africa, unseen and denied by the imperialist looters of Africa's material wealth.
Our modern world, though infinitely more complex than that of ancient Greece, is also far more superficial. Where the Greeks offered simple psychological training, we live in an age of style and spin in which perceptions of good and evil slither and shift with the political view of the moment.
We are living in the era of the busybody. In ancient Greece, if a person wanted guidance, it involved a long, arduous expensive journey to consult the oracle at Delphi. Today, if you want guidance, all you have to do is unplug your ears.