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Friday, December 30, 2016

027 - The Democracy of Cleisthenes

In this episode, we discuss Cleisthenes' political victory over Isagoras that allowed him to institute his overhaul of the Athenian constitution; the different democratic changes he instituted; and the consequences (both good and bad) from this new revolutionary government

508 BC - Cleisthenes' and Cleomenes' power-sharing agreement formally split when Cleomenes' backed Cleisthenes' rival, Isagoras, for the archonship
507 BC - Isagoras removed citizenship from those enfranchised by Solon and the Peisistratids; Cleisthenes convinced the people to elect Alcmeon for the following year's archonship, which caused Isagoras to seek the military support of Cleomenes, forcing Cleisthenes and the rest of the Alcmeonidai to flee Athens; when Isagoras began acting like a tyrant and threatened to dissolve the boule, the Athenians besieged Isagoras, Cleomenes, and the Spartans on the Acropolis; Isagoras fled the city and the humiliated Cleomenes, along with his army, was allowed safe passage back to Sparta; Cleisthenes was then recalled and through the archonship of Alcmeon, he implemented his democratic reforms of the Athenian constitution, while at the same time a delegation was sent to the court of Artapherenes at Sardis to seek an alliance with the Persians against further Spartan hostility
506 BC - Cleomenes orchestrated a three-prong attack of Attica (Peloponnesians from the southwest, the Thebans from the northwest, and the Chalcidians from the north) with the intent of installing Isagoras as tyrant of Athens; but due to differences with Corinth and between the two kings, the Spartans turned back, allowing the Athenians to defeat the Thebans and Chalcidians in succession and annexed some of their land
505 BC - The Thebans wanted revenge and so they enlisted the aid of Aegina against Athens; the Aeginetans thus laid waste to many demes on the coastline but the Athenians didn't respond because at the behest of an oracle from Delphi they were advised to wait thirty years
504 BC - Cleomenes tried once again to invade Attica, this time to install Hippias as tyrant, but once again was thwarted by the Corinthians


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

026 - The Tyranny of the Peisistratids

In this episode, we discuss the ascension and political happenings of the tyrannies of Peisistratos and his two sons, Hippias and Hipparchus, at Athens; the economic reforms that they undertook; their patronage of the arts and public works in the Agora and Acropolis, as well as at other religious sanctuaries in Attica; and their encouragement of religious festivals, especially the Greater Panathenaia and the Dionysia

565 BC - Peisistratos captured Nisaea, bringing an end to the wars with Megara, which ended the troublesome food blockage and enhanced his reputation
561 BC - Peisistratos seized the Acropolis and make himself tyrant, much to the chagrin of Solon
558 BC - Solon died of old age
556 BC - Resistance mounted against Peisistratos, leading the nobles to seek an alliance with the exiled Alcmeonidai; they were recalled to Athens and Peisistratos fled the city; the political alliance soon collapsed, so Megacles of the Alcmeonidai instead realigned with Peissistratos through a political marriage and thus he became tyrant of the city again; but this too was short-lived and Peisistratos was driven from the city a second time
547 BC - earthquake fells the temple of Apollo at Delphi; the Alcmeonidai were able to gain a special position of privilege thanks to their funding of the rebuilding of the temple
546 BC - After spending ten years cultivating powerful allies and a large personal army, Peisistratos invaded Attica; he crushed the Athenian army near Pallene, and became tyrant for the third and final time
540 BC - Miltiades the Elder established a colony in the Thracian Chersonese and ruled it as a tyrant, only subordinate to Peisistratos' overarching authority
534 BC - Thespis was first winner of tragedy competitions at the Dionysia
528/7 BC - Peisistratos died and the tyranny was passed to Hippias and Hipparchus
525/4 BC - archonship of Cleisthenes of the Alcmeonidai
524/3 BC - archonship of Miltiades the Younger of the Philaids
524 BC - Miltiades the Elder died and his eldest nephew, Stesagoras, replaced him as tyrant of the Thracian Chersonese
519 BC - the Athenians defended the Plataeans militarily against the Thebans
515 BC - Stesagoras was assassinated and replaced by his younger brother, Miltiades the Younger, who immediately quelled the uprising and formed an alliance with king Olorus of Thrace by marrying his daughter
515/4 BC - second archonship of Cleisthenes, but he tried to make it something more than titular (as the tyrants held the unofficial power), and for that he was banished from Athens
514 BC - Hipparchus was assassinated by the Tyrannicides, Harmodius and Aristogeiton; afterwards, Hippias' rule became oppressive
513 BC - Cleisthenes' mercenary army was defeated by Hippias' mercenary forces near Lypsidrion in northern Attica
511 BC - Cleisthenes' uses his families special privilege to get the Delphic oracle to coax Cleomenes and the Spartans to assist them in removing Hippias as tyrant; unfortunately, their first force was defeated near Phaleron
510 BC - Cleisthenes' second attempt was successful, though; Hippias was forced into exile, where he would eventually make his way to the Persian court of Darius; immediately after this the Thebans and Athenians engaged in hostilities again over Plataea, with the result of another Athenian victory

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

025 - The Reforms of Solon

In this episode, we discuss the life of the great Athenian statesman, Solon, who from his position of sole archonship, enacted various economic, political, and legal reforms that would later form the backbone for Athenian democracy in the Classical Period

ca. 625 BC - severe agrarian crisis causes the Athenians to look for new land--their solution was to establish a cleruchy on Salamis; this led to continuous war with Megara, who also held claims to the island
ca. 605 BC - in order to defend their trade routes into the Black Sea, Athens challenges Mytilene for control of Sigeion in the Troad, an event which was arbitrated by Periander in favor of Athens (thanks to Solon's argument)
595 BC - Solon and Peisistratos led forces that defeated the Megarians
594/3 BC - Solon appointed as sole archon to reform the constitution, which (among many other things) eliminated debt slavery and helped ease the land crisis; though wildly successful, his reforms' immediate aftermath led to increased competition amongst the elite for political offices
593-583 BC - Solon's self-imposed exile for 10 years following his reforms so that he couldn't be persuaded to change anything, during which he visited Egypt, Cyprus, Lydia, and Ionia
591/0 BC - political strife led to anarchia as they were unable to elect the three archons; eventually restored
580s-560s BC - The three dominant political factions (Pediakoi, Peralioi, and Diakrioi) competed for control
586/5 BC - second bout of anarchia; once again was eventually restored
582/1 BC - archonship of Damasias, at the end of which he refused to step down
579 BC - after two and half years, Damasias was driven out of the archonship; afterwards, a board of 10 archons were appointed to govern Athens
578 BC - three traditional offices of the archons were re-established
575 BC - great ramp built up the Acropolis; noble families competed for prestige through the funding of the construction of new buildings and statues on the Acropolis, such as the Temple of Athena Poleis, the precursor to the Parthenon, and a statue of Athena Promachos 
566 BC - the Great Panathenaia was instituted by the archon, Hippocleides
ca. 565 BC - Solon recognized that Peisistratos was harboring feelings for a revolution to end the political strife of the three dominant political factions

Sunday, December 4, 2016

024 - Early Athens

In this episode, we discuss the early history of Athens from the mythical kings to the abolishment of the monarchy in the Dark Ages to the rise of the oligarchic constitution and finally to the social and economic crises at the end of the 7th century BC

ca. 900 BC - Medontidai archon/basileus of Athens was pre-eminent in Attica
ca. 900-750 BC - the synoecism of Attica took place
752 BC - length of Medontidai archonship changed from life to ten years
681 BC - three annually elected archons (eponymous, basileus, polemarch) was introduced
ca. 650 BC - six more archons were introduced (called the Thesmothetai); collectively together with the other three they are known as the College of Nine Archons; full aristocratic revolution of Athens has taken hold
632 BC - Cylon unsuccessfully attempted to establish an Athenian tyranny
621 BC - Draco enacted first written constitution in Athenian history

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

022 - Sparta Ascendant

In this episode, we discuss the early history of Sparta and its growing pains that ultimately led to its rise to hegemony over what modern scholars called the Peloponnesian League

ca. 900-800 BC - the syncoecism of the four villages on the west bank of the Eurotas River resulted in the polis of Lacadaemon (Sparta)
ca 800-750 BC - a fifth village found three miles from the other villages is incorporated into Sparta, the old Mycenaean town of Amyclae
ca. 780-750 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Charilaus (the nephew of the semi-mythical lawgiver Lykurgas who supposedly reformed Sparta)
ca. 760-740 BC - reign of Agiad king, Teleklos
ca. 750-725 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Nicander
ca. 740-720 BC - the First Messenian War brought about the annexation of Messenia and the formation of the helot system that transformed Sparta into a slave-holding state like no other Greek poleis
ca. 740-700 BC - reign of Agiad king, Alkamenes
ca. 725-675 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Theopompos
706 BC - illegitimate Spartans, known as "Parthenai", were exiled to Italy where they founded Taras
ca. 700-665 BC - reign of Agiad king, Polydoros
ca. 675-650 BC - the poets Alcman and Tyrtaeus flourished at Sparta
ca. 675-645 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Anaxandridas
669 BC - the Spartans were defeated by Pheidon and the Argives at Hysiae
ca. 668-650 BC - thanks to their defeat at the hands of Argos, the helots revolted with the backing of Argos, resulting in the Second Messenian War; the Spartans, though, were able to put the revolt down thanks to the martial vigor of Tyrtaeus
ca. 665-640 BC - reign of Agiad king, Eurycrates
ca. 645-625 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Zeuxidamas
ca. 640-615 BC - reign of Agiad king, Anaximander I
ca. 625-600 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Anaxidamos
ca. 615-590 BC - reign of Agiad king, Eurycratides
ca. 600-575 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Archidamos I
ca. 590-560 BC - reign of Agiad king, Leon
583 BC - Sparta may have assisted with the overthrow of the Kypselid tyranny at Corinth
ca. 575-550 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Agasicles
572 BC - Sparta may have helped Elis regain control over the sanctuary of Olympia again from Pisa
ca. 560 BC - the "Battle of the Fetters" resulted in a devastating Spartan loss to Tegea
ca. 560-525 BC - reign of Agiad king, Anaxandridas II
556 BC - the Spartans, with Chilon as ephor, helped to overthrow the Orthagorid tyranny at Sicyon
ca. 550-515 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Ariston
ca. 550 BC - Sparta finally subdued Tegea, but instead of conquering them, they enacted diplomacy, marking the beginnings of Peloponnesian League
547 BC - Spartans are approached by the Lydians for an alliance against Persia, but the Spartans never provide aid as they still have Argos to deal with
546 BC - the "battle of Champions" resulted in a Spartan defeat of Argos and the annexation of the region of Kynuria from the Argives
525-522 BC - the Spartans and Corinthians join together to depose Polycrates of Samos as tyrant
520-490 BC - reign of Agiad king, Kleomenes
515-491 BC - reign of Eurypontid king, Demaratos
515-512 BC - Kleomenes' half-brother, Dorieus, tried to found the colony of Cinyps on the Libyan coast but he was ultimately driven out by Carthage
510 BC - Dorieus was killed in battle against the Carthaginians as he tried to establish a second colony, this one in western Sicily 

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

021 - Athletics and the Panhellenic Games

In this episode, we discuss the program of the Ancient Olympic games in its entirety and introduce the other Panhellenic festivals

776 BC - the Olympic Games for Zeus at Olympia were instituted with the only event being the stadion foot race
724 BC - the diaulos was introduced
720 BC - the dolichos was introduced; the games were first performed in the nude
708 BC - wrestling and the pentathlon were introduced
688 BC - boxing was introduced
680 BC - chariot racing was introduced
648 BC -  single horse equestrian races and the Pankration were introduced
ca. 600-575 BC - the Herean Games for Hera at Olympia were instituted, in which women could participate
582 BC - the Pythian Games for Apollo at Delphi were instituted following their victory in the First Sacred War
581 BC - the Isthmian Games for Poseidon at Corinth were instituted following their expulsion of tyranny
573 BC - the Nemean Games for Zeus were instituted
566 BC - the Panathenaic Games at Athens were instituted by the tyrant Peisistratos 
540-516 BC - brilliant wrestling career of Milo of Kroton
520 BC - the hoplitodromos was introduced

Sunday, August 21, 2016

020 - The Intellectual Revolution

In this episode, we describe the new schools of thought that began to percolate in the 6th century BC about our existence and role in this universe absent from the gods

Thales of Miletus (624-546 BC)
Anaximander of Miletus (611-546 BC)
Anaximenes of Miletus (585-528 BC)
Pherecydes of Syros (ca. 580-520 BC)
Pythagoras of Samos (ca. 570-495 BC)
Xenophanes of Colophon (ca. 570-470 BC)
Heraclitus of Ephesus (ca. 535-475 BC)

Monday, August 15, 2016

019 - Poets and Wise Rulers

In this episode, we discuss part 2 of 2 on the influential people whose writings give us insight into the economic, social, and political happenings that reshaped archaic age Greece

ca. 625 BC - the Penthiliadai, the ruling family of Mytilene, were ousted, leading to rival factions competing for power on Lesbos
ca. 610 BC - the tyrant Melanchrus was ousted by a faction that included Alcaeus' brothers and Pittacus; Myrsilus became the next tyrant
ca. 605 BC - Myrsilus dies, Athens challenges Mytilene for control of Sigeion in the Troad, an event which was arbitrated by Periander in favor of Athens
ca. 600 BC - political unrest again took root on Lesbos, which forced the poets Sappho and Alcaeus into exile
ca. 590 BC - the Mytileneans entrusted Pittacus with absolute power to heal the sores of the city; in doing so, he recalled all exiles and enacted a general amnesty
ca. 590-580 BC - Sappho instituted a school of music and poetry for upper-class women on Lesbos
578 BC - Pittacus lays down absolute power and retires from political life

Pittacus of Lesbos (648-568 BC)
Sappho and Alcaeus of Lesbos (ca. 630-570 BC)
Bias of Priene (fl. 6th century BC)
Cleobulus of Rhodes (fl. 6th century BC)
Aesop (620-564 BC)
Stesichorus of Metauros (ca. 630-555 BC)
Earliest stages of the Gortyn legal code (ca. 600-525 BC)
Theognis of Megara (fl. 550 BC)
Phocylides of Miletus (fl. 550 BC)
Hipponax of Ephesus (fl. 550 BC)
Anacreon of Teos (ca. 570-485 BC)
Ibycus of Rhegium (fl. 525 BC)

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:
Recommended Podcast Episodes for Further Listening: