Alexander the Great, the King in Shining Armour

Examining the Macedonian king in combat. In his account of the preparations for the battle at Granicus, Arrian notes that the Persians could easily identify Alexander on the other bank of the river by his armour: “he was unmistakable ‒ Arrian (An. 1.14.4) says ‒ from the splendour of his equipment and the enthusiasm of[…]

Identity and Superiority in Ancient Greek and Egyptian Interactions

Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, Egypt was taken over by a Greco-Macedonian dynasty based in the new city of Alexandria. “You Greeks are children.” That’s what an Egyptian priest is supposed to have said to a visiting Greek in the 6th century BC. And in a sense he was right. We think of[…]

Culture and Identity in Classical Greece

Classical Greece saw a flourishing of philosophers, especially in Athens during its Golden Age. Philosophy Socrates Socrates, born in Athens in the 5th century BCE, marks a watershed in ancient Greek philosophy. Athens was a center of learning, with sophists and philosophers traveling from across Greece to teach rhetoric, astronomy, cosmology, geometry, and the like.[…]

Ten Noble and Notorious Women of Ancient Greece

Many women in ancient Greece led interesting lives and performed heroic acts and who remain lesser known in the modern day. Introduction There were, no doubt, many notable women in ancient Greece, but history books are usually silent on female accomplishments. According to the historian and novelist Helena P. Schrader, this is because, “Herodotus and[…]

The Last Tyrants of Ancient Athens

Economic crisis, impoverishment, and elite conflict led Athens to be managed by individual rulers, the last tyrants of Athens. Introduction The period of the first decades of the Ist Century BC was certainly one of the most conflictive and notable moments in the history of ancient Athens. Thus, since the excellent prosperity gained as a[…]

An Ill-Defined Rule: Cassander’s Consolidation of Power in Ancient Macedonia

Cassander embarked on an ambitious plan to control the region and solidify his power in Macedonia. Cassander’s implementation of power during the early stages of his rule of Macedonia was wide ranging and multifaceted. He employed numerous different strategies to gain support from a variety of influential groups within the Macedonian homeland and adjacent areas[…]

The Sanctuary at Ancient Keros: Materiality and Monumentality

A place for the perform­ance of rituals of congregation. Abstract The discovery of the early bronze age sanctuary on the Cycladic island of Keros is briefly described. Why islanders in the Aegean should establish the world’s first maritime sanctuary around 2500 bc is then considered, and other instances of early centres of congregation are briefly[…]

Coronation of the Diadochi: Monarchic Division after Alexander the Great

The Hellenistic world which had had no monarch for half a decade after Alexander suddenly had a plethora of them. The year 310 B.C. witnessed the extinction of the Argead line. Cassander had ordered the murder of Young Alexander IV and his mother Roxane, widow of Alexander the Great. The kingdom of Macedonia was now[…]

Crisis and Corruption: Bloody Consequences in Ancient Athens

Looking past a plague at how a massive government spending plan went badly awry 2,500 years ago. Introduction The jump in federal spending in response to the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic is not a new idea. Nearly 2,500 years ago, the people of ancient Athens had a similar plan – which succeeded in meeting[…]

Trade in Ancient Greece

The earliest written sources of Homer and Hesiod attest to the existence of trade (emporia) and merchants (emporoi) from the 8th century BCE. Introduction Trade was a fundamental aspect of the ancient Greek world and following territorial expansion, an increase in population movements, and innovations in transport, goods could be bought, sold, and exchanged in[…]

Twin-Born with Greatness: The Dual Kingship of Ancient Sparta

The Spartan myth of stranger-kings of divine descent was opposed to the Athenian ideology of autochthony. Introduction This article examines the comparative configurations of diarchy by means of an extended analysis of the Spartan dual kingship in ancient Greece. Twinned and inseparable, both human and divine, the Spartan kings were themselves descended from celestial twins,[…]

Medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome

The ‘Hippocratic’ four humours, Roman hygiene, the first hospitals, and home remedies. The Greeks combined dietetics, medicines, surgery and regulating the whole life-style in their treatment of ailments. Diet, or regimen – in the broad sense of the whole lifestyle – was the first resort. Individuals were advised on how to live in order to[…]

Eris: Chaos and Confusion in Ancient Greek Mythology

The most famous tale of Eris recounts her initiating the Trojan War by causing the Judgement of Paris. Introduction Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord. Her Roman equivalent is Discordia, which means “discord”. Eris’s Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Roman counterpart is Concordia.[1] Homer equated her with the war-goddess Enyo, whose Roman[…]

The Most Vulnerable Suffered when Ancient Greek City-States Purged during Times of Disease

The Greeks treated their city-states like bodies. To protect them from disasters, it was the poor that were often sacrificed. Introduction With the spread of the coronavirus, the world is becoming pointedly aware of the extent to which human beings are interconnected. The rapid spread of the virus has highlighted how much we are dependent[…]

Gossip: A Powerful Tool for the Powerless in Ancient Greece

Idle gossip or rumor is personified by the Ancient poets. At the heart of the greatest works of Ancient Greek literature are mighty acts of revenge. Revengers overcome their enemies through superior physical prowess, as when Achilles kills Hector in a single combat to avenge the death of his comrade Patroclus; or through their employment[…]

Menelaus of Alexandria and Science in Ancient Greece

Menelaus, and others like him, reduced the physical world to a purely geometric one. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Menelaus of Alexandria was a Greek astronomer, scientist, and mathematician who lived around 100 CE. Menelaus made a significant and lasting contribution to the fields of astronomy, geometry, and trigonometry. His major work, the Spherics survives and presents[…]

The Hippocratic Ideal: Health Care Practices in Ancient Greece

The Hippocratic philosophy on health care provision applied standards and ethical rules that are still valid today. By Dr. Chrisanthos SfakianakisProfessor, Nursing DepartmentTechnological Institute of Crete Abstract Asclepius and Hippocrates focused medical practice on the natural approach and treatment of diseases, highlighting the importance of understanding the patient’s health, independence of mind, and the need[…]

Sculptor Hiram Powers and His Representation of Slavery in Ancient Greece

His work catapulted Powers to international fame in the 19th century. Introduction They say Ideal beauty cannot enter The house of anguish. On the threshold stands An alien Image with enshackled hands, Called the Greek Slave! as if the artist meant her (That passionless perfection which he lent her, Shadowed not darkened where the sill[…]

Plagues Follow Bad Leadership in Ancient Greek Tales

Plagues functioned as a setup for an even more crucial theme in ancient myth: a leader’s intelligence. Introduction In the fifth century B.C., the playwright Sophocles begins “Oedipus Tyrannos” with the title character struggling to identify the cause of a plague striking his city, Thebes. (Spoiler alert: It’s his own bad leadership.) As someone who[…]

Pausanius’ Guide to Travel in Ancient Athens

Pausanius is best known for his ten-volume work, Description of Greece, detailing his travels through the country, city-by-city. Introduction Pausanius was a 2nd century CE writer who traveled extensively, taking notes on points of interest, and recorded his travels in `guide books’ which could be used by tourists visiting the sites described. Born in Lydia,[…]

The Long Walls of Ancient Athens

Many Ancient Greek fortifications connected a city to another site – a citadel or a port. The best known example is the Athenian wall to Piraeus. The Athenian “Long Walls” were built after Xerxes’ invasion of Greece (480-479); their construction was proposed by Themistocles, but the actual building started in 461, when Athens was at[…]

The Ancient Athenian Treasury at Delphi

The Athenian treasury was the first Panhellenic sanctuary that was dedicated by Athenians. Introduction The Athenian Treasury at Delphi was constructed by the Athenians to house dedications and votive offerings made by their city and citizens to the sanctuary of Apollo. The entire treasury including its sculptural decoration is built of Parian marble. The date[…]