The Persian Wars and the Maritime Supremacy of Ancient Athens

Figure 1: Greek Colonization of western Asia Minor / Image by Alexikoua, Wikimedia Commons The development of naval supremacy and of democracy became interdependent. In the period of about 600–480 BCE, Ionian colonists emigrated from Attica to the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey [1]. There they inhabited a narrow coastal strip from[…]

What the World Can Learn from Greece’s Passion for the Arts

Despite its economic crises, Greece did not falter in its mission to support arts and culture. Rhodes, pictured here, has become a role model when it comes to promoting a visionary cultural policy and supporting a vibrant arts and culture community. Serhat Beyazkaya/Unsplash The Greek model of supporting the arts is both old and ongoing; it embraces difference and internationalism[…]

Hero Cults in Ancient Greece

Sacello Ipogeico (Heroon), Paestum, Italy / Photo by Berthold Werner, Wikimedia Commons Hero cults were one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.24.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Hero cults were one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. In Homeric Greek, “hero” (ἥρως, hḗrōs) refers to a man who[…]

Elements of Environmental Ethics in Ancient Greek Philosophy

Athens city walls / Photo by GreeceGuy, Wikimedia Commons Critically examining elements of both anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric environmentalism in ancient Greek thinking. By Dr. Munamato Chemhuru Professor of Philosophy University of Johannesburg Abstract In this article, I consider how ancient Greek philosophical thinking might be approached differently if the environmental ethical import that is salient in[…]

Xenophon’s Virtue Personified

Exploring Xenophon’s ideas of virtue in leadership, excellence, and happiness. By Dr. Nili Alon Amit / 12.31.2016 Humanities Department Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and Arts Some elements in man’s nature make for friendship. […] For thanks to their virtue (διὰ γὰρ τὴν ἀρετήν) these prize the untroubled security of moderate possessions above sovereignty won by[…]

Xenophon’s Anabasis: Historical Context

  A brief historical context of Xenophon’s Anabasis By Ian Joseph BA Cultural Anthropology, The University of Chicago MBA Pepperdine University The Anabasis by the Athenian soldier, historian and philosopher Xenophon, also known as The Anabasis of Cyrus, The March of the Ten Thousand and The March Up-Country, describes the events of 401 BCE when ten thousand Greek mercenaries joined the army[…]

The Long Walls of Ancient Athens

Part of Themistocles’s wall in Kerameikos / Wikimedia Commons Built in several phases, they provided a secure connection to the sea even during times of siege. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.08.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Although long walls were built at several locations in ancient Greece, notably Corinth and Megara,[1] the term Long Walls (Greek: Μακρὰ Τείχη) generally refers to[…]

Immigration and Empire in the Ancient Graeco-Roman World

Ancient Athens practically invented Western culture, but xenophobia led to the collapse of the Empire. Flickr/SantiMB The ancients knew that the key to a successful state was extending citizenship to those who need it. By Dr. Alastair Blanshard / 06.15.2011 Senior Lecture in Classics and Ancient History University of Sydney In the short period of its[…]

The Petrifying Gaze of Medusa: Ambivalence, Explexis, and the Sublime

Photo by bl3w, Flickr, Creative Commons Tracing the notion of ekplexis in Greek rhetoric and the connections in etymology, myth, and pictorial traditions, between the petrifying powers of art and the myth of Medusa. By Dr. Caroline van Eck Professor of Art History University of Cambridge Abstract The Dutch art theorists Junius and van Hoogstraten describe the sublime,[…]

Metics and Immigration in Ancient Athens

‘Metics’ in ancient Athens could also refer to immigrants invited by citizens and admitted on an otherwise non-discretionary basis, subject to a special poll tax. By Dr. Nathan Smith / 07.03.2012 Professor of Economics Fresno Pacific University Did ancient Greece have open borders? Yes, I think, in the limited sense that there was no passport regime.[…]

Voting and Civic Participation in Ancient Athens

The Acropolis of Athens. Dominating the acropolis is the Parthenon, built between 447 and 432 BCE in the Age of Pericles, and dedicated to the city’s patron deity Athena. / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons Ancient Athenians actively served in the institutions that governed them, and so they directly controlled all parts of the political process. By Mark Cartwright / 04.03.2018 Historian[…]

A Brief Overview of Law and Courts in Ancient Athens

The Athens Acropolis as seen from the Court of Cassation (Areopagus, i.e. the “Stone, or Hill, of Ares”) / Photo by Tilemahos Efthimiadis, Wikimedia Commons Focusing on Athenian law in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Introduction When we investigate how the law and the courts of Classical Greece worked, the law of ancient Athens provides most of[…]

Dogs in Ancient Greece

Photo by japiot, Wikimedia Commons Examining a few references in the Homeric epics and Herodotus. Kosmos Society Center for Hellenic Studies [1] Anger [mēnis], goddess, sing it, of Achilles, son of Peleus— 2disastrous [oulomenē] anger that made countless pains [algea] for the Achaeans, 3 and many steadfast lives [psūkhai] it drove down to Hādēs, 4 heroes’ lives, but their bodies[…]

Common Beliefs and Practices in Ancient Greek Religion

Aegeus at right consults the Pythia or oracle of Delphi. Vase 440-430 BC. He was told “Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athens, lest you die of grief”, which at first he did not understand. / Photo by Zde, Antikensammlung Berlin, Altes Museum, Wikimedia Commons We speak of Greek religions or “cults” in[…]

The Polish Nobility’s “Golden Freedom”: On the Ancient Roots of a Political Idea

The Republic at the Zenith of Its Power. Golden Liberty. The Royal Election of 1573, by Jan Matejko / Royal Castle, Wikimedia Commons This essay traces the Greek and Roman roots of Polish sixteenth- to eighteenth-century political thought by discussing the Polish nobility’s concept of the “Golden Freedom” (L. aurea libertas). By focusing on the Roman and the Greek[…]

Ostracism as a Political Process in Ancient Greece

Pottery ostraka identifying Themistocles, 482 BCE. These were used in Athens to vote a particular citizen to be ostracised from the polis. From a well on the north slope of the acropolis of Athens. (Museum of the Ancient Agora, Athens) / Photo by Mark Cartwright, Creative Commons Ostracism was the supreme example of the power of the ordinary people, the demos, to combat abuses of[…]

Private Speech, Public Pain: The Power of Women’s Laments in Ancient Greek Poetry and Tragedy

The Homeric Multitext, Creative Commons Women’s discourse in Greek society has been traditionally controlled and restricted by strict sociocultural codes. By Olivia Dunham Art Historian and Classical Archaeologist Introduction Women’s discourse in Greek society has been traditionally controlled and restricted by strict sociocultural codes. Barred from participating in the exclusively male public political scene, women[…]

The Function of Music in Ancient Greek Cults

Examining the important role of music in ancient Greek cult practices. By Dr. Jana Kubatzki Research Associate in Musicology Freie Universität Berlin Abstract This paper deals with the important role of music in ancient Greek cult practices. It will explore the types of music that were played and research the effect music may have had on[…]

Ancient Greek Women and Art: The Material Evidence

Discussing Ancient Greek women and their relationship to the visual arts solely on the evidence of the extant monuments. By Dr. Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway Professor Emeriti of Archaeology Bryn Mawr College Abstract Ancient Greek women and their relationship to the visual arts are here discussed solely on the evidence of the extant monuments, rather than on[…]

Uncovering Ancient Preparatory Drawings on Greek Ceramics

Detail of a cup currently on view in the new installation at the Getty Villa. The cup depicts a woman playing the drinking game kottabos. Attic Red-Figure Kylix, about 490 B.C., attributed to Onesimos. Terracotta, 3 3/8 × 14 1/2 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 82.AE.14. On the left is the painted image in normal light. On[…]

Hippolytus: Asexuality and Ancient Greece

“Phèdre et Hippolyte” (1802), by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin / Wikimedia Commons Classical discussions often get caught between that problematic binary of social constructionism vs essentialism. By Dr. Chris Mowat / 05.17.2018 Visiting Fellow in Classics Newcastle University Myth was a great tool with which the ancient Greeks were able to think about themselves and their place[…]

Linguistic Evidence Support for Dating the Homeric Epics

Linguistic dating is in close agreement with historians’ and classicists’ beliefs derived from historical and archaeological sources.        By (left-to-right) Dr. Eric Lewin Altschuler, Dr. Andreea S Calude, Dr. Andrew Meade, and Dr. Mark Pagel / 02.18.2013 Altschuler: Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, University Hospital[…]

Ancient Minoan Burial Rituals: ‘Reading’ the Hagia Triada Sarcophagus

The Hagia Triada sarcophagus at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (photo: C messier, CC BY-SA 3.0) This sarcophagus is among the best of narrative-style representations of religious customs in ancient Minoa. By Dr. Senta German / 08,17.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford A Coffin for Royalty? Hagia Triada sarcophagus, c. 1400[…]

Oligarchy, Tyranny, and Democracy in Ancient Greece

Ostraka for Ostracism / Museum of the Ancient Agora, Wikimedia Commons Although the Greek city-states differed in size and natural resources, they came to share certain fundamental political institutions and social traditions. By Dr. Thomas R. Martin Jeremiah W. O’Connor, Jr. Professor of  Classics College of the Holy Cross Introduction Although the Greek city-states differed in[…]

Health and Medicine in Ancient Greece: From Theology to Science

Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” / Public Domain By the 5th century BCE, there were attempts to identify the material causes for illnesses rather than spiritual ones. By Mark Cartwright / 04.11.2018 Historian Introduction In ancient Greek medicine illness was initally regarded as a divine punishment and healing as, quite literally, a gift from the gods. However, by[…]

The History of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Dated to the New Kingdom (c. 1570 – c. 1069 BCE), and specifically to c. 1200 BCE, the text is written in demotic script and is the oldest treatise on anorectal disease (affecting the anus and rectum) in history. / Photo by Ibolya Horvath, British Museum, Creative Commons The history of medicine is a long and distinguished one, as[…]

Social Norms in the Courts of Ancient Athens

Ancient Athens was a remarkably peaceful and well-ordered society by both ancient and contemporary standards. By Adriaan Lanni, J.D. Touroff-Glueck Professor of Law Harvard Law School Abstract Ancient Athens was a remarkably peaceful and well-ordered society by both ancient and contemporary standards. Scholars typically attribute Athens’ success to internalized norms and purely informal enforcement mechanisms.[…]