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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Introduction

Hello, I’m Ryan Stitt and welcome to the History of Ancient Greece.

I am not a professional historian, just an enthusiastic amateur. I studied Classical languages and ancient history at the University of Alabama, as well as some postgraduate work at UCLA. But for personal reasons, I stepped away from academia and ultimately decided to commission into the United States' Air Force.

But being away from academia doesn’t mean I love ancient history any less. In fact, it’s the opposite. I actually really miss it—except for the exams, of course! Ever since I studied abroad in Greece as a bright-eyed undergraduate, I have been in love with Greek culture and the ancient world in general. You can most definitely call me a Philhellene, a modern-day Hadrian if you will—minus the imperial powers, sadly.

I am also a huge fan of history podcasts; Mike Duncan’s History of Rome, Scott Chesworth’s The Ancient World, Jamie Redfern’s History Of series, Dominic Perry’s Egyptian History, Rob Monoco’s Podcast History of Our World—I could go on and on. As I listened to more and more podcasts, it didn’t seem like there was much out there covering Greek history. Sure, there are podcasts that deal with Greece but only from a general aspect as one cog in the machine that is western civilization or world history, or they deal with a particular subject or time period of Greek civilization—like mythology or the aforementioned Alexander the Great—but they left me wanting to know more, to dig deeper into the details. I also found absolutely nothing concerning Greek history after the death of Alexander the Great. In fact, most college courses and textbooks either end with his death or skip over the Hellenistic Period, only mentioning Greek existence in their relation to the Roman world. But those three centuries in between are a fascinating time of transformation, culturally and politically, as Greek culture was diffused throughout the entire eastern Mediterranean. So I figured that I would throw my hat in the proverbial ring and the give the people what they’re looking for, or at least what I was looking for.

The podcast begins in Greece’s mythological past, explaining what the Greeks themselves believed the origin of their universe was. Then we delve into the early archaeological evidence for humans in Greece and the way this society developed before the advent of writing. Over the course of our story we will cover almost 2000 years, from the Bronze Age period to the Roman conquest. I want to tell the long history of a fundamental civilization, bringing to life the fascinating stories of the ancient sources. But this isn’t a podcast just about stories, and it won’t just be political history, either. There too will be a big emphasis on social history, that is how the people actually lived their day-to-day lives, as well as their culture—art, architecture, philosophy, literature, religion, science, and all those other awesome aspects of the Greek achievement. This will be a comprehensive, in-depth political, social, and cultural history of Greece. So get excited, I know I am!


I should note, though, this is my first attempt at podcasting, so I welcome any and all suggestions. The podcast, hopefully, will be released every week, probably closer to the weekend. If there will be delays, I’ll let you know. The information and materials used to generate this podcast will come from a wide variety of sources, both primary and secondary, and I’ll also post pictures, maps, and other information to supplement the podcast.