Drinking in Ancient Greece

Archaic and classical Greek culture was steeped in spirit. Archaic and classical Greek culture was steeped in spirit. Drinking parties for the elite were a ritual that eventually filtered down to the man in the street. What went on at these gatherings and how were inebriation and public displays of drunkenness justified in cultural terms?[…]

The Expansion of the Ancient Graeco-Bactrian Kingdom (Modern Afghanistan)

The expansion of the Greco-Bactrians into present-day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan from 180 BC established the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was – along with the Indo-Greek Kingdom – the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC. It was centered on the north of present-day Afghanistan. The expansion of the Greco-Bactrians into present-day eastern Afghanistan[…]

Whose Odyssey Is It Anyway?

The only possible response can be that it is no one’s and everyone’s. The death of Martin Bernal in June attracted less media attention than one might have hoped for the man who brought an unprecedented attention to the contemporary study of classics. His 1987 work, Black Athena, was not the first to argue for[…]

The Rise of the Ancient Greek Polis (City-State)

Greek city-states developed different forms of governance with very different political structures and strengths. The Emergence of the Polis The territory of Greece is mountainous; as a result, ancient Greece consisted of many smaller regions, each with its own dialect, cultural peculiarities, and identity. Regionalism and regional conflicts were a prominent feature of ancient Greece.[…]

Cheating in the Ancient Olympics

Punishment for cheating and bribery in the Olympics of Ancient Greece could include fines, public flogging and statewide bans from competition. By Naomi Shavin Ancient Olympians didn’t have performance-enhancing drugs at their disposal, but according to those who know the era best, if the ancient Greeks could have doped, a number of athletes definitely would[…]

Cultural Links between Ancient India and the Graeco-Roman World

Long before the arrival of Alexander the Great on India’s north-western border, there are references in early Indian literature calling the Greeks Yavanas. Introduction Cyrus the Great (558-530 BCE) built the first universal empire, stretching from Greece to the Indus River. This was the famous Achaemenid Dynasty of Persia. An inscription at Naqsh-i-Rustam, the tomb of his able successor Darius I (521-486 BCE), near Persepolis, records Gadara[…]

‘The First Man of Greece’: Epaminondas and the End of Spartan Tyranny over Thebes

Epaminondas transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics. Introduction Epaminondas (Greek: Ἐπαμεινώνδας) (ca. 418 B.C.E.–362 B.C.E.) was a Theban general and statesman of the fourth century B.C.E. who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics. In the process he broke Spartan[…]

Aspasia of Miletus: The Art of Eloquence

Aspasia was a woman of formidable intelligence and eloquence who influenced many of the important writers, thinkers, and statesmen of her time. Aspasia of Miletus (470-410 BCE, approximately) is best known as the consort and close companion of the great Athenian statesman Pericles. She was a metic (a person not born in Athens) and, accordingly, was not allowed to marry[…]

Acoustics of Ancient Greek Theaters

The sound quality in ancient times was likely much better than it is today. By Brigit Katz It is often said that the acoustics of ancient Greek theaters were so sophisticated that spectators in the back row could hear the actors with perfect clarity, long before microphones came into the picture. In modern times, tour guides will[…]

Ptolemy I Soter: Greek Founder of Egypt’s Ptolemaic Dynasty

The synthesis of Greek and Egyptian customs, beliefs and practices created by Ptolemy I and his heirs remains a subject for study and research. Introduction Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaĩos Sōtḗr, i.e., Ptolemy the Savior, (ca. 367 B.C.E. — ca. 283 B.C.E.) was a Macedoniaian general under Alexander the Great who became ruler of Egypt (323 B.C.E. — 283 B.C.E.) and founder of Ptolemaic dynasty which ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest in 30 C.E. In[…]

Dividing the Spoils: The Babylon Conferences for the Empire of Alexander the Great

Immediately after the death of Alexander the Great, the power play began. By Robin WaterfieldBritish Classics Scholar and Author Introduction Immediately after Alexander’s death, while the embalmers got busy with his body, those of his senior officers who were present in Babylon met and began to make arrangements for the future. The power play began.[…]

Freedom and Destiny in Ancient Greek Thought

Examining the ancient Greek interpretation of freedom and its collateral of responsibility. Scientific Deliberation and Practical Wisdom―Exclusive Skills? In the history of ancient Greek thought the question of how to live a livable life is the principal arouser of those who dedicate time to think about the meaning and sense of the human being and[…]

Punishment in Ancient Athens

Athenians preferred to memorialize punishments for eternity. By Dr. Danielle S. AllenJames Conant Bryan University Professor of Political TheoryUniversity of Harvard Here we can no longer avoid turning to the gory details. I will begin with a simple list of the penalties imposed in Athens, say a few words about the most interesting penalties, and[…]

The Hellenization of the Hasmoneans

Analyzing the Hasmonean rulers’ approach to Hellenistic culture. Abstract The archaeological excavations of the Hasmonean palaces in Jericho and the numismatic evidence on the Hasmoneans are examined in order to understand the Hasmonean rulers’ approach to Hellenistic culture. They enable us to see not only the extent of Hellenistic influence, but also how and why[…]

Greek Fire: A Byzantine Weapon Lost to the Ages

The weapon ceased to exist by the time the Ottoman Empire finally conquered Constantinople in 1453. September 1, 718. With the clear motivation to defend Constantinople, Byzantine ships filled with anxious soldiers were surrounding the mainland. On the horizon, Arab Muslim forces, bringing with them a fleet of large and robust wooden ships, started to[…]

Greek Fire: Byzantine Weapon of Mass Destruction

The napalm of ancient warfare. By Mark CartwrightHistor Introduction Greek Fire was an incendiary weapon first used in Byzantine warfare in 678 CE. The napalm of ancient warfare, the highly flammable liquid was made of secret ingredients and used both in catapulted incendiary bombs and sprayed under pressure so as to launch flames at enemy ships and fortifications.[…]

War Machines of Archimedes

One area in which Archimedes excelled was in the design and construction of great war machines. By Martyn ShuttleworthHistorian of Science Introduction Archimedes (c. 287 BCE – c. 212 BCE) was a truly great inventor, mathematician and philosopher, writing many insightful and extensive treatises on geometry and applied mathematics. His work on pulleys and levers[…]

From the “National” to the Political Consciousness in 6th Century BCE Athens

Constructing a “national” identity of the Athenian inhabitants during the tyrannical governance of Peisistratos and his sons. This paper addresses the construction of a “national” identity of the Athenian inhabitants during the tyrannical governance of Peisistratos and his sons (561/0-511/0 BCE)[1] mainly through a series of religious practices, such as the transfer of cults from[…]

A Medical-Historical Examination of the Death of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great’s cause of death has been contentious since antiquity.    By Nathan Gamble (left) and Dr. Edmund F. Bloedow (right)Gamble: Researcher in Bioethics and Law, University of TorontoBloedow: Professor of Classics, Augustine College Abstract Alexander the Great’s cause of death has been contentious since antiquity. Historians and physicians alike have proposed a multitude[…]

Ancient Greek Colonization of the Mediterranean

Following training and cooperation with the Phoenicians, the ancient Greeks launched a huge wave of colonization across the Mediterranean. By Dr. Polyxeni Adam-VeleniDirectorArchaeological Museum of Thessaloniki The borderline from the 8th to the 7th century BC marked by three very important events which determined the course of Western civilization and greatly affect our lives today.[…]

Archaic Greece and the Emergence of Tyranny

Terracotta kylix (drinking cup), attributed to the Amasis Painter, c.540 BCE / Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York By Dr. Nicholas K. Rauh Professor of Classics Purdue University Migrations during the Dark Age Era Reed College Similarities in dialect and cultural attributes indicate a pattern of small scale, gradual migration from the Greek mainland across[…]