‘Greek Style’ Painting in Renaissance Venice

Many painters in Venetian Crete worked in what was called the “Greek style” and thus retained traits that we can identify with earlier Byzantine icons. By Dr. Andrew CasperAssociate Professor of Art HistoryMiami University, Ohio Seven Hundred Icons, Two Styles The Republic of Venice was a maritime republic that incorporated the city of Venice and[…]

The Women of Athena’s Ancient Cult

The cult of Athena allowed women to fully participate in the life of the city from the time they were young girls. By Dr. Joshua J. MarkProfessor of PhilosophyMarist College Introduction In ancient Athens, women had no life outside the home unless they were prostitutes or were engaged in religious activities such as festivals. Every Greek deity in every city-state had their[…]

Pherenike, the Female Olympic Trainer in Ancient Greece

She dressed as a man to coach her son. After she was caught, all trainers had to enter the stadium naked to prove they were males. By Dr. Joshua J. MarkProfessor of PhilosophyMarist College Introduction Pherenike (l. c. 388 BCE, also known as Kallipateira) was an athlete from Rhodes who, because she was a woman, could not[…]

Hipparchia the Cynic: Wife, Mother, and Outspoken Ancient Greek Philosopher

Hipparchia turned the ancient Greek paradigm of women being homebound and serving men upside down. Introduction Cynic philosopher, wife of Crates of Thebes (l. c. 360 – 280 BCE), and mother of his children, Hipparchia of Maroneia (l. c. 350 – 280 BCE) defied social norms in order to live her beliefs. She is all the more impressive in[…]

Amazonomachy: A Nation of Women Warriors in Ancient Greek Mythology

Amazonomachy represents the Greek ideal of civilization. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction In Greek mythology, Amazonomachy (English translation: “Amazon battle”; plural, Amazonomachiai) was one of various mythical battles between the ancient Greeks and the Amazons, a nation of all-female warriors. Many of the myths portrayed were that of Heracles’ ninth labor, which was the retrieval of the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the[…]

Atlas: Titan of Ancient Greek Mythology with the World on His Shoulders

A common misconception today is that Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders, but he was actually holding the celestial spheres. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction In Greek mythology, Atlas is a Titan condemned to hold up the celestial heavens or sky for eternity after the Titanomachy. Atlas also plays a role in the myths[…]

The Grief of Demeter and Persephone in Ancient Greek Mythology

The story of Persephone’s descent into the realm of Hades, and her emergence from it, speaks to the notion of death and rebirth. By Dr. Chris MackieProfessor of ClassicsLa Trobe University Introduction The student of Greek mythology is often struck by the fact that some gods and goddesses have extensive roles in the mythical narratives,[…]

Shaping the Pain: Ancient Greek Lament and Its Therapeutic Aspect

Although tragedy belongs to literary tradition, it is a trustworthy source for ancient Greek ritual practice. By Dr. Đurđina ŠijakovićResearch AssociateInstitute of Ethnography, SASA, Belgrade Introduction In this paper, which is the first part of a wider research, I focus on different aspects of ancient Greek lament. One of its most important aspects is the[…]

Past and Present: The Sacred Band – A Legacy of Same-Sex Love from Ancient Thebes

This infantry regiment of 150 male couples defeated the Spartans in open battle. By Dr. James RommJames H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of ClassicsDirector, Classical Studies ProgramBard College Among the many roads leading up to the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision on same-sex marriage, one of the more significant routes passes through Boeotia in central Greece.  This[…]

Past and Present: Ancient Greek Mythology and Life in Modern Film and TV

How Hollywood tells ancient stories. Introduction Stories from Greek mythology are always fascinating. These timeless epic tales revolving around love, betrayal, loss, and vengeance have been adapted for TV and film since the beginning of the cinematic arts. We asked Getty Villa Museum antiquities curators to select TV shows and films based on classical Greek[…]

Ancient Greek Mythology in Medieval and Early Modern Western Art and Literature

Greek myth influenced medieval and Renaissance poets such as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Petrarch, Boccaccio and Dante. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate With the rediscovery of classical antiquity in the Renaissance, the poetry of Ovid became a major influence on the imagination of poets and artists, and remained a fundamental influence on the diffusion and perception of Greek mythology through subsequent centuries.[2] From[…]

Listen and Learn: Gods and Goddesses in Ancient Greek Mythology

Archaeological findings provide a principal source of detail about Greek mythology. Video Presentation Hosted by Joe Fielderman Greek Mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. It[…]

Atalanta: Ancient Greek Goddess of the Hunt

By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Atalanta is a figure from Greek mythology famed as a huntress, wrestler, and runner. The heroine was a key participant in the Calydonian boar hunt, striking the first wound in this fearsome beast with her bow. Long-determined to remain a virgin, Atalanta did finally bow to fatherly pressure and consent to marry but[…]

Featured Scholar: Donald Kagan and the ‘Tragic Spirit’ of Ancient Greece

Kagan’s best known work is his monumental four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Brief Biography Path to History “Throughout the human experience people have read history because they felt that it was a pleasure and that it was in some way instructive,” says Donald Kagan. “Without history, we are[…]

Who Was Homer, the Epic Recorder of Ancient Greek Mythology?

The Iliad and the Odyssey are two of the world’s most famous poems but very little is known about their creator. By Dr. Daisy DunnHistorian and Author The Greek hero Odysseus spent 10 long years striving to return home after the Trojan War. The stories of how he tricked the one-eyed Cyclops, evaded the flesh-eating[…]

Philolaus: Philosophy and Science in Classical Greece

Philolaus is said to have claimed that mathematical reason has a certain affinity with the nature of the universe, By Daniel CostaHistorian Introduction Philolaus of Croton (c. 470 – c. 385 BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher from Magna Graecia, in modern-day southern Italy. He shared the Pythagoreans’ interest in music, numbers and the soul, which shone through his output. He[…]

Past and Present: Lessons from Ancient Greece for Today’s Grieving

Loose threads: Life unravels when a loved one dies. By Bethany GreyAuthor Introduction According to Greek mythology, before we were born, high above the clouds, the three Moirai spun thread on a spindle to determine our fate. As the goddesses of life and death, ancient Greeks entrusted them with ensuring that a mortal’s destiny would[…]

Sacrilege!: The Desecration of Statues of Hermes in Ancient Athens

On the morning of June 7, 415 BCE, the denizens of Athens awoke to vandalism causing mass fear and outrage. By Philip Mathew Introduction On 7 June 415 BCE, various statues of the god Hermes were desecrated in Athens. The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE) had been raging for decades as one of the biggest civil wars in Ancient Greece, and the[…]

‘De Agri Cultura’: Agriculture in Ancient Greece

Agriculture was the foundation of the Ancient Greek economy. Nearly 80% of the population was involved in this activity.[1] Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Most Greek language agricultural texts are lost, except two botany texts by Theophrastus and a poem by Hesiod. The main texts are mostly from the Roman Agronomists: Cato the Elder’s De agri cultura, Columella’s De re rustica, Marcus Terentius Varro and Palladius. Varro mentions[…]

Charon: Boatman for the Dead in Ancient Greek Mythology

The idea which may well have been influenced by Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology. Introduction Charon is a figure from Greek mythology where he is the boatman who ferries the souls of the dead across the waters of Hades to the judgement which will determine their final resting place. The Greeks believed the dead needed a coin to pay Charon for his[…]

The River Styx: Path to the Underworld in Ancient Greek Mythology

The deities of the Greek pantheon swore all their oaths upon the river Styx. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction In Greek mythology, Styx is a deity and a river that forms the boundary between Earth and the Underworld. The rivers Acheron, Cocytus, Lethe, Phlegethon, and Styx all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which sometimes is also called the Styx. According to Herodotus,[…]

Hemp or Cannabis in Ancient Greece and Rome

The image of an intoxicated ancient world goes against the idea that moderation was the key to life. By Dr. Alan SumlerProfessor, Modern Languages DepartmentUniversity of Colorado Denver The ancient Greeks and Romans used hemp fiber for their boat sails, ropes, wicker-work, clothes, and shoes. Although no piece of Classical scholarship has focused on hemp[…]

Drugs and Medicine in the Graeco-Roman World

The best physicians were well schooled in pharmaceutical lore, with an armamentarium of drugs. By Dr. John ScarboroughProfessor of Medical HistoryUniversity of Madison-Wisconsin Introduction The doctor stepped softly out of the sickroom, where Licinius was breathing his last. Rattling, rasping, wheezing, gasping for air, the senator had accepted death and requested that his friend and[…]

Agora: The Marketplace in Ancient Athens

The agora was a political and a commercial space in Athens and other ancient Greek city-states. Introduction The agora was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states. It is the best representation of a city-state’s response to accommodate the social and political order of the polis.[1] The literal meaning of the word “agora” is “gathering place” or “assembly”. The[…]

Philia: An Overview of Friendship in Ancient Greece

Aristotle divides friendships into three types, based on the motive for forming them: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure and friendships of the good. Philia, often translated “brotherly love”, is one of the four ancient Greek words for love: philia, storge, agape and eros. In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, philia is usually translated as “friendship” or affection.[1] The complete opposite is called a phobia. Aristotle’s View As[…]

An Historical Overview of the Three Periods of Ancient Athenian Comedy

The Alexandrine grammarians seem to have been the first to divide Greek comedy into what became the canonical three periods. Introduction Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the theatre of classical Greece (the others being tragedy and the satyr play). Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods: Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New Comedy. Old Comedy survives today[…]

Lessons from Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ about Reentering the World after a Period of Isolation

A scholar of Greek literature writes why we need to turn to the past to understand the present – and the lessons that Homer’s hero, Odysseus, holds for us. Introduction In the ancient Greek epic “The Odyssey,” Homer’s hero, Odysseus, describes the wild land of the Cyclops as a place where people don’t gather together[…]

Diogenes: Making a Virtue of Poverty in Ancient Greece

He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar, or pithos, in the marketplace. Introduction Diogenes, also known as Diogenes the Cynic, was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Turkey,[1] in 412 or 404 BC and died at Corinth in 323 BC.[2] Diogenes was a[…]

Love, Sex, and Marriage in Ancient Greece

Marriage traditions in ancient Greece differed depending on the city-state, and majority of the sources are about the upper classes. By Ollie WellsHistorian and Journalist Introduction Love, sex, and marriage in ancient Greece are portrayed in Greek literature as distinct, yet closely intertwined, elements of life. For many upper-class men, marriages did not take place for love, and other[…]

Beauty in the Bronze Age: Minoan and Mycenaean Fashion

Mycenaean fashion was heavily influenced by its Minoan predecessor. By Georgia McDonnell Introduction Dress and appearance in Bronze Age Greece (c. 3100 BCE – c. 1100 BCE) played a part in defining gender roles and emphasising idealized beauty that planted the seed for modern-day standards. The Minoans turned the island of Crete into a Mediterranean powerhouse and dominated Aegean culture until around 1450 BCE[…]