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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

022 - Sparta Ascendant

In this episode, we discuss the early history of the polis of Lacadaemon (Sparta), including their expansion in the southern Peloponnesus with the 1st and 2nd Messenian Wars (that brought about the formation of the helot system of slavery); Spartan society's social-class tensions and civil strife that led to reform, supposedly by the semi-mythical lawgiver Lykurgas in the 8th century BC, but more likely a gradual process during the 7th and 6th centuries BC; its military growing pains as Sparta suffered a series of losses to their neighbors, Argos (in the Argolid) and Tegea (in southern Arcadia), before eventually defeating them; the life of Chilon, one of the Seven Sages, and his role in making amendments to the Spartan constitution and in guiding foreign policy; and Sparta's ultimate rise to hegemony over their Peloponnesian and Isthmian neighbors, resulting in what modern scholars call the "Peloponnesian League"

ca. 900-800 BC - The syncoecism of the four villages on the west bank of the Eurotas River  
Pitane, Limnes, Mesoa, and Cynosoura) resulted in the formation of Lacadaemon (Sparta)
ca 800-750 BC - A fifth village, the old Mycenaean town of Amyclae, found three miles from the other villages is incorporated into the polis of Sparta
ca. 780-750 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Charilaus (the nephew of the semi-mythical lawgiver Lykurgas who supposedly reformed Sparta)
ca. 760-740 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Teleklos
ca. 750-725 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Nicander
ca. 740-720 BC - A Spartan victory in the First Messenian War brought about the annexation of Messenia and the subjugation of its people as Helotes (Helots), which transformed Sparta into a slave-holding state like no other Greek polis
ca. 740-700 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Alkamenes
ca. 725-675 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Theopompos
706 BC - Illegitimate Spartans, known as "Parthenai", who were the sons of Spartan women and non-Spartan men, were exiled from Sparta and founded Taras in southern Italy
ca. 700-665 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Polydoros
ca. 675-650 BC - The poets Alcman and Tyrtaeus flourished at Sparta
ca. 675-645 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Anaxandridas
669 BC - The Spartan army was defeated by Pheidon and the Argives at Hysiae
ca. 668-650 BC - The Helots revolted with the backing of Arcadia, Argos, Elis, and Pisa, which resulted in the Second Messenian War, but the Spartans were able to put down the revolt thanks to the martial vigor of the warrior-poet, Tyrtaeus; some Messenians were able to flee to Sicily, where they gained control of Zancle and renamed it Messene
ca. 665-640 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Eurycrates
ca. 645-625 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Zeuxidamas
ca. 640-615 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Anaximander I
ca. 625-600 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Anaxidamos
ca. 615-590 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Eurycratides
ca. 600-575 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Archidamos I
ca. 590-560 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Leon
583 BC - Sparta may have assisted with the overthrow of the Kypselid tyranny at Corinth
ca. 575-550 BC - The reign of Eurypontid king, Agasicles
572 BC - Sparta may have helped Elis regain control over Olympia from Pisa
ca. 560 BC - The "Battle of the Fetters" resulted in a devastating Spartan loss to Tegea
ca. 560-525 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Anaxandridas II
556 BC - Sparta helped to overthrow the Orthagorid tyranny at Sicyon
ca. 550-515 BC - The 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 - The Spartans entered into an alliance with the Lydians against the Persians, but they 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 Argive control
525-522 BC - The Spartans and Corinthians jointly depose the Samian tyrant, Polycrates
520-490 BC - The reign of Agiad king, Kleomenes
515-491 BC - The 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 the Carthaginians

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

021 - Athletics and the Panhellenic Games

In this episode, we discuss the culturally unifying importance of Panhellenic festivals in the Greek world; the history and evolution of the athletic program of the Ancient Olympic games; how the various athletic events that the Greeks participated in were performed; some famous athletes and the larger than life quality they achieved; and the four major Panhellenic festivals (Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean)

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, which allowed women to participate prior to the games for the men
582 BC - the Pythian Games for Apollo at Delphi were instituted following their victory against Krissa in the First Sacred War
581 BC - the Isthmian Games for Poseidon at Corinth were instituted following their expulsion of the Cypselid 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, and we detail the lives, influences, and various theories put forth by the earliest of these so-called "Pre-Socratic" philosophers; included among them are Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Pherecydes, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, and Heraclitus

Earliest "Pre-Socratic" Philosophers:
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 poets whose writings gives us insight into the economic, social, and political happenings that reshaped archaic age Greece; in particular, we look at the turbulent history of late 7th and early 6th century BC Mytilene, which finds itself at the intersection of two great poets (Alcaeus and Sappho), tyranny, and one of the so-called "Seven Sages", making it a perfect case study; and in response to all of these enormous economic, social, and political changes arose the phenomenon of the lawgiver, many of which were among the "Seven Sages"

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 once again took root on Lesbos, which forced both of 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, and she became so close with her pupils there that it later gave rise to the homoerotic notion of "Lesbian"
578 BC - Pittacus lays down absolute power and retires from political life

Poets/Sages Discussed:
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)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

018 - From Epic to Lyric

In this episode, we discuss the literary changes that took place in the 7th and 6th centuries BC (moving away from grand epic to the more personalized lyric, elegiac, and iambic forms of poetry); and part 1 of 2 on the influential poets whose writings gives us insight into the economic, social, and political happenings that reshaped archaic age Greece

ca. 800-700 BC - The "Epic Cycle" was constructed, which includes the works of "Homer"
ca. 750-700 BC - Hesiod flourished
ca. 700-675 BC - Terpander and Thaletas instituted musical schools at Sparta
ca. 680 BC - Archilochus wrote the first non-epic poetry on the historical record
ca. 675-650 BC - Alcman, Tyrtaeus, Callinus, and Semonides all flourished
ca. 630-600 BC - Mimnermus flourished; Arian introduced the dithyramb to Corinth

Primary Sources:
Text/Fragments of the Epic Cycle
Text/Primary Sources for Earliest Poets
Text/Fragments of Alcman

Friday, August 5, 2016

017 - Archaic Art and Architecture

In this episode, we discuss the innovation taking place during the 7th and 6th centuries BC in the realm of vase painting (Orientalizing, Protocorinthian, Protoattic, black-figure, and red-figure), statuary (kouros/kore and reliefs), and architecture (Doric/Ionic temples, treasuries, and stoas) by looking at some notable works of Archaic art and architecture