Ancient Athens, Pericles, and the Alcmeonids

The career of Pericles and of the extension of Athenian democracy that took shape under his direction. Introduction In 432 B.C. , just prior to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, the Spartans escalated their diplomatic offensive against the Athenians by reminding them that their leader Pericles was polluted by a curse, and they demanded[…]

Prometheus and Tityus: Hepatic (Liver) Regeneration in Ancient Greek Mythology

Hepatic regeneration was well known to ancient Greeks, and this natural ability was established in the tales of Prometheus and the Giant Tityus. Abstract The accurate knowledge of surgical anatomy, the amelioration of post-operative processes and the continuously increasing experience of surgeons nowadays allow the performance of severe hepatic operations (e.g., wide liver resections, liver[…]

Ancient Greece, from the Peloponnesian War to Alexander the Great

Athens after the Peloponnesian War never regained the level of economic and military strength it once had. Introduction The tragic outcome of the Peloponnesian War did not stop the long-standing tendency of the prominent Greek city-states to battle for power over one other. In the fifty years following the war, Sparta, Thebes, and Athens struggled[…]

Ancient Greece, from the Persian Wars to the Athenian Empire

The most famous series of wars in ancient Greek history broke out with a revolt against Persian control by the Greek city-states of Ionia. Introduction An Athenian blunder in international diplomacy set in motion the greatest military threat that the ancient Greeks had ever faced and put the freedom of Greece at desperate risk from[…]

Cyclops: The One-Eyed Giant of Ancient Greek Mythology

Hesiod (c. 700 BCE), writing in his Theogony, tells us that the Cyclopes were the children of Earth (Gaia). By Mark CartwrightHistorian Historian A cyclops (meaning ‘circle-eyed’) is a one-eyed giant first appearing in the mythology of ancient Greece. The Greeks believed that there was an entire race of cyclopes who lived in a faraway[…]

The Battle of Hydaspes: Alexander the Great Meets Indian King Porus

At Hydaspes Alexander met a formidable opponent in King Porus. Introduction For almost a decade, Alexander the Great and his army swept across Western Asia and into Egypt, defeating King Darius III and the Persians at the battles of River Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela. Next, despite the objections of the loyal army who had been[…]

Rhetoric and Reality: Ancient Greece and the Clash of Civilizations

The opposition between East and West, Europe and Asia, Us and Them stretches back into antiquity. The ‘clash of civilisations’ is a popular theme in today’s political rhetoric, positing the idea of an unbridgeable gulf between the West and the Rest. In domestic politics, the theme is raised in debates over migration and minority integration;[…]

The Court System in Ancient Homeric Greece

Examining the main flaws in the court system in the days of Homer. By Dr. Alexandr LoginovProfessor of LawKutafin Moscow State Law University, Moscow Abstract The research investigates the court system in Homeric Greece. This period was characterized by a declining culture and scarce works that described those times. Hence, the court procedures of those[…]

Ancient Sicily

Sicily’s historical legacy today includes some of the most impressive and best-preserved ancient monuments in the Mediterranean. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Mediterranean island of Sicily, with its natural resources and strategic position on ancient trading routes, aroused the intense interest of successive empires from Carthage to Athens to Rome. Consequently, the island was never[…]

Rule of Law as the Measure of Political Legitimacy in the Ancient Greek City-States

The ideal was formulated in the Archaic period and became a feature of Greek identity. Abstract This paper explores how a conception of the rule of law (embodied in a variety of legal and political institutions) came to affirm itself in the world of the ancient Greek city states. It argues that such a conception,[…]

Ancient Greece: From Indo-Europeans to Mycenaeans

There are definite sources of influence on early Greek culture to be found in the history of the second millennium. Introduction When did the people living in and around the central Mediterranean Sea in the locations that make up Greece become Greeks? No simple answer is possible, because the concept of identity includes not just[…]

The Plague of Athens and the Cult of Asclepius

Social movements often arise in times of sudden changes and social unrest, becoming a source of spiritual and political empowerment. Abstract During the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, several waves of a plague killed an estimated one-third of the civilian Athenian population and one-fourth of its army. Thucydides account of the plague (430-426 BCE)[…]

Asclepius, Ancient Greek God of Medicine

By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Asclepius was the ancient Greek god of medicine and he was also credited with powers of prophecy. The god had several sanctuaries across Greece; the most famous was at Epidaurus which became an important centre of healing in both ancient Greek and Roman times and was the site of athletic, dramatic,[…]

Maenads: The ‘Raving Ones’ of the Ancient Greek Bacchanalia

These women were mythologized as the “mad women” who were nurses of Dionysus in Nysa. Introduction In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus and the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god’s retinue. Their name literally translates as “raving ones”. Maenads were known as Bassarids, Bacchae, or Bacchantes in Roman mythology[…]

Warrior Women of the World of Ancient Macedon

Amazons of legend and very real Scythian tribes were mentioned in the same breath in ancient Greece. By David GrantHistorian and Author Introduction The 8th November is celebrated as Archangels Day in Greece, but on that November day in 1977 CE something remarkable happened: an excavation team led by Professor Manolis Andronikos were roped down[…]

Hippolyte and the Amazons of Ancient Greece

In mythology, the Amazons were daughters of Ares, the god of war. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a race of warlike women noted for their riding skills, courage, and pride, who lived at the outer limits of the known world, sometimes specifically mentioned as the city of Themiskyra on the[…]

The Plague in Ancient Athens

The city-state of Sparta, and much of the eastern Mediterranean, was also struck by the disease. Introduction The Plague of Athens was a devastating epidemic that ravaged the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece in 430 B.C.E., during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.E.), when an Athenian victory still seemed within reach.[…]

The Oligarchic Coup in Athens, 411 BCE

The movement toward oligarchy was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians. Introduction The Athenian coup of 411 BC was the result of a revolution that took place during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. The coup overthrew the democratic government of ancient Athens and replaced it with a short-lived oligarchy known[…]

Demos and Kratos: People and Power in Ancient Athens

Athenian democracy was indeed a direct democracy, but not for everybody. By Georgios Mavropalias A sequence of events allowed the birth of democracy in ancient Athens; the reforms of Solon which weakened the aristocracy and redefined citizenship, their reinstatement by Cleisthenes after the oligarchy reemerged, and the shrinkage of the power of Areopagus by Ephialtes,[…]

A (Very) Brief History of Government since the Graeco-Roman World

One of the reasons humans prefer an organized government is that we’ve had them for thousands of years. Introduction For much of human history, people seem to prefer to live in organized groups. These groups took different forms in different times and places, but generally there seems always to have been a process by which[…]

Women’s Voice and Religious Utterances in Ancient Greece

Examining religious utterances such as curses, supplication, and prayer, as reflected in some passages from ancient Greek epic and tragedy. Introduction This paper tackles the issue of women and religion through a particular looking glass: religious utterances such as curses, supplication, and prayer, as reflected in some passages from ancient Greek epic and tragedy—pivotal literary[…]

The Priestess Pythia at the Ancient Delphic Oracle

The role of priestess at Delphi was enormously influential. She was consulted on everything from warfare to love to public policy. Introduction In a time and place that offered few career opportunities for women, the job of the priestess of Apollo at Delphi stands out. Her position was at the centre of one of the[…]

The Economy of Ancient Greece

Direct taxation was not well-developed in ancient Greece. Introduction The economy of ancient Greece was defined largely by the region’s dependence on imported goods. As a result of the poor quality of Greece’s soil, agricultural trade was of particular importance. The impact of limited crop production was somewhat offset by Greece’s paramount location, as its[…]

Tyranny as the Inevitable Outcome of Democracy in Ancient Athens

Power belonged to anyone who could harness the collective will of the citizens directly by appealing to their emotions. Introduction Plato, one of the earliest thinkers and writers about democracy, predicted that letting people govern themselves would eventually lead the masses to support the rule of tyrants. When I tell my college-level philosophy students that[…]

The Ancient Spartan Education

The apogee of one’s training was to comprehend the laws and to be a vital member of the Apella. By Antonios LoizidesHistorian According to the legend, the Spartan law was written by the great lawmaker (Greek : νομοθέτης, nomothetis) Lycurgus. Plutarch mentions that Lycurgus (literally “wolf-worker”) wrote the laws in order to make the city[…]

The Impact of the Eruption of Thera on Ancient Minoan Decline

The cataclysmic eruption of Thera split the island of Santorini into three smaller ones. By Jenna Frawley Introduction During the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1750-1450 BCE), the island of Crete emerged as a long-distance trading center. Modern scholarship characterizes this center as the Minoan civilization, which organized local production and trade in large regional structures[…]