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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

012 - Oligarchs and Hesiod

In this episode, we discuss the transitional governments in the early stages of the centrally unified polis (oligarchia and aristokratia), as the waning power of the basileis becomes supplanted by a small landowning group of nobles; the economic and social divisions in the early polis between the nobles and commoners brought on by a spike in population in Greece; and the second great author of ancient Greece, a man named Hesiod, who speaks to us about life and society in the emerging polis from the point of view of the ordinary citizen, in his Works and Days

Greek wordsoligos (few), archo (to rule), oligarchia (rule by a few), archon (leader), prytanis (presiding officer), polemarchos (war leader), aristos (best), krato (to rule), aristokratia (rule by the best), hoi agathoi (the good, i.e. the landed nobility), hoi kakoi (the bad, i.e. the non landed nobility), hoi polloi (the many, a disparaging term for the people), thetes (landless poor), hoi mesoi (the middle, i.e. the middle class), eris (strife)

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:
Text/Hesiod's Theogony
Text/Hesiod's Works and Days
Recommended Podcast Episodes for Further Listening:

Monday, June 13, 2016

011 - From Oikos to Polis

In this episode, we discuss the community (demos), household (oikos), and economy (oikonomia) in the late "Dark Age"; its role as the foundations that led to the evolution of the city-state (polis) into a socio-political structure that brought about the transition from the "Dark Age" into the Archaic Period; and later Greek philosophical thought on the polis and polis identity and what it means to live in a polis beyond its physical space

Greek words: demos (people that make up a community), oikos (household and family unit), thetes (hired workers), kleros (ancestral plot of farmland), akleroi (landless men who usually made up the thetes), archaios (old), synoikismos (having oikos together), polis (city-state), politai (members of a polis, i.e. citizens), ethnos (tribe, nation, or people without a single urban center, central government, or formal political union), politicon zoon (an animal of the polis), nomoi/themistes/dikai (laws), akros (highest, top of), akropolis (highest point of a city), astu (urban center of a city), agora (marketplace for trade and politics), kalos kagathos (beautiful and good), eunomia (good laws), dysnomia (bad laws)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

010 - Religion and Panhellenism

In this episode, we discuss the philosophy behind early Greek religion that was formalized in writing by Homer and Hesiod; the rituals performed when the Greeks worshipped their deities; the evidence for the earliest sanctuaries in the 8th century BC that developed hand-in-hand with the city-state and their increasing wealth (as seen through votive offerings); the development of the idea of Panhellenism; and the foundation myths, archaeological evidence, and importance for the four predominant Panhellenic sanctuaries that gained massive popularity in the 8th and 7th centuries BC (the sanctuaries of Zeus and Hera at Olympia, the sanctuaries of Apollo and Artemis at Delos, the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, and the sanctuaries of Zeus and Dione at Dodona)

ca. 900-700 BC - stone defensive walls appear throughout the cities of Greek Anatolia, the Aegean islands, and mainland Greece (attesting to the probability of increased warfare between communities over securing the growing wealth in the period)
ca. 800-700 BC - an increase in religious sanctuaries and shrines led to the building of the earliest temples in all parts of the Greek world
776 BC - traditional date for the first Olympic Games
ca. 750 BC - numerous ancient tombs began to receive votive offerings, an indication that their anonymous inhabitants were now being worshipped as hero cults
ca. 750-700 BC - votive offerings in the form of pottery, bronze statuettes, and bronze tripods were being dedicated at Delphi in ever increasing numbers by Greek city-states
ca. 700-600 BC - the much older oracle of Zeus at Dodona (in northwestern Greece) developed into an important religious center for the southern Greeks too 
ca. 650-600 BC - the oracle of Apollo at Delphi was being respected by many countries around the periphery of the Greek world, such as Lydia, Caria, Egypt, and Rome

Greek words: daimones (non-anthromorphized divine powers), chthonic (earthly), hoi thnetoi (the ones who die, i.e. mortals), hoi athanatoi (the deathless ones, i.e. immortals), moira (fate or destiny), dios (godly), diotrephes (reared as a god), isothesos (equal unto a god), menin (anger), andra (man), arma virumque cano (Latin for "I sing of arms and the man"), hubris (arrogance), ate (moral blindness), nemesis (retribution), sophrosune (moderation), miasma (religious pollution), sebas (respect or reverence for the gods), asebeia (impiety), psyche (soul), hiera (sacred rituals), thyesthai (to conduct a sacrifice in which the inedible parts are burnt and theedible parts are consumed in a communal feast), holokaustein (to conduct a sacrifice in which the animal is completely consumed by fire), holos (whole or entire), kaustos (burnt), mantike techne (the art or skill of a seer/prophet, i.e. divination), mantis (seer or prophet), sphagia (sacrificial animal), orare (Latin "to speak"), khresmoi (oracular utterances), temenos (sanctuary), hieron (sacred space), polis (city-state), panhellenism ("Greekness"), barbaro phonoi (those who speak strange), barbaroi (barbarians, those who didn't speak Greek and sounded like "bar bar" to Greek ear), omphalos (navel of the earth), Pythia (the priestess who gave the oracles of Apollo at Delphi), Selloi (priests who looked over the sanctuary of Zeus at Dodona), Peleiades ("doves", the priestesses who gave the oracles of Zeus at Dodona)

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:
Article/A Do-it-Yourself Tour of Delos (Detailed Map Included)

Recommended Podcast Episodes for Further Listening:
Wonders of the World Episode 22 The Oracle of Delphi