An Ancient Take on Bad Behavior


Theophrastus' Characters: An Ancient Take on Bad Behavior

"These Characters are people we know—they're our quirky neighbors, our creepy bosses, our blind dates from hell. Sharp-tongued Theophrastus, made sharper than ever in this fresh new edition, reminds us that Athenian weirdness is as ageless as Athenian wisdom."
–Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge University, presenter of BBC's Civilisations

The more things change, the more they stay the same: Theophrastus' Characters, a classical Greek text newly translated for a modern audience, is a joyful festival of fault-finding. The book outlines 30 characters, each crystallizing a human flaw all readers will immediately recognize, and is a humorous survey of failings, follies, and bad behavior taken straight off the streets of Athens and brought into our everyday fraught and divisive social and political scene. Brilliantly illustrated by acclaimed artist Andre Carrilho, this is an irresistible treasure of a book.

JAMES ROMM is an author, reviewer, and the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College in Annadale, New York. His reviews and essays have appeared in the London Review of Books and The New York Times Book Review, among other publications. His books include The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought (Princeton University Press, 1992), Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the Bloody Fight for His Empire (Vintage, 2012), Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero (Vintage, 2014), The Age of Caesar: Five Roman Lives (W. W. Norton, 2017), and How to Die: An Ancient Guide to the End of Life (Princeton University Press, 2018) .

PAMELA MENSCH is a translator of Herodotus, Plutarch, Arrian, and Diogenes Laertius. Her translated texts include Lives of the Eminent Philosophers: Diogenes Laertius (Oxford University Press, 2018), Alexander the Great: Selections from Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch, and Quintus Curtius (Hackett, 2005), The Landmark Arrian: The Campaign of Alexander (Anchor, 2012), Lives that Made Greek History: Plutarch (Hackett, 2012), and Histories: Herodotus (Hackett Classics, 2014). She lives in New York City.

ANDRÉ CARRILHO is a designer, illustrator, caricaturist, and animator from Lisbon, Portugal. He has shown his work in group and solo exhibitions in Brazil, China, France, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. His work has been published by Harper’s, New York, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, among other publications.


Trim Size: 5.0 in x 7.0 in

112 pp, Hardcover

ISBN 9780935112375

MSRP $24.95

James Romm
Illustrated by André Carrilho
Translated by Pamela Mensch