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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

022 - Sparta Ascendant

In this episode, we discuss the early history (myth?) 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 polis
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 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

Greek wordsekecheiria (literally “a laying down of arms”, a common truce), spondophoroi (runners who ran to each polis to announce beginning of the truce), aristos (best), Hellanodikai (judges of the Olympic Games), Hellanodikaion (place where the judges lived leading up to the games), nomophylarchoi ("guardians of the law" who trained the judges), leukoma (list of approved participants in the games), diazomata (loin-cloths), gymnos (naked), stadion (footrace of 180-240 meters, Latin stadium), balbis (starting block), Olympionikes (Olympian victor), diaulos (two stadion race), kampter (turning post), dolichos (foot race of about 18-24 laps, or 5 kilometers), pale (wrestling), plethron (measure of distance about 100 feet), pente (five), athlon (competition), pentathlon (competition of five events), triagmos (three events; long jump, javelin throw, and discus throw), ankyle (leather strip for gripping javelin), ekebolon (long jump event for distance), stockastikon (long jump event for accuracy), halteres (stone weights held by long jumpers), pygmachia (boxing), korykos (punching bags), himantes (wraps on hands for punching), sphairai (harder punching gloves), oxys (wrist and forearm protection), harmatodromia (chariot racing), tethrippon (four-horse race), synoris (two-horse race), xystis (sleeved garment worn by charioteers), keles (single horse race), hippodromos (horse-race course), hippos (horse), dromos (course), embolon (barrier dividing hippodromos), hyspleges (starting gates for horse races), pankration/pammachion (all-out MMA style fighting event), kratos (strength), mache (fight), Pankratiastos (Pankration fighter), ephedros (literally "reserve", those who get a bye in a round), anephedros (those who won without a bye), hoplitodromos (hoplite race), hekatombe (one-hundred bull sacrifice), hekaton (one-hundred), bous (bull), kotinos (symbolic honor of a garland given to victors), theoroi (sacred citizens sent from Delphi to announce games), periodonikes (winner of all four games in one cycle, "grand slam" equivalent), akrocheirismos (literally "highhandedness" or someone who wrestled at arm's length), hellenikon (literally "the Greek thing", i..e. Greekness)

Plan Olympia sanctuary-en.svg

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)

Greek words: philos (love), sophia (wisdom), physiologoi (natural philosophers), physis (nature), logos (word, statement, order, reason, or account), physikoi (physicists), theologoi (theologians), arche (principle or primal substance from which all things began), symmachia (a fighting together, i.e. a military alliance), apeiron (indefinite and eternal substance), politeia (the constitution), ponera (something fundamentally wrong or considered toilsome), ainiktes (the riddler), skoteinos (the obscure), eris (strife), dike (justice), polemos (war)

Recommended Podcast Episodes for Further Listening:

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 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)

Greek wordsepithalmia (wedding songs), kakopatrides (low-born), aisymnetes ("supervisor", ruler that is not quite a tyrannos but similar to Latin dictator), sophoi (wise men), stesai (chorus of singers to the kithara), nomoi (laws sanctioned by precedent), eunomia (condition of having good laws well obeyed), metrokoites (mother**ker)

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

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

Greek words: melos (song), lyra (lyre), aulos (flute-like wind instrument), e lege (woe cry), hex (six), pentos (five), melikos/lyrikos (lyric poetry), tenella kallinike (joyful greetings beautiful victor), parthenia (songs for maidens), andreia (courage)

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:
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

Greek wordsaryballos (perfume flask), olpe (broad-lipped pouring vessel), oinochoe (squatter pouring vessel), kotyle (small no-handled drinking cup), skyphos (two-handled drinking cup), kantharos (a smaller two-handled drinking cup), hydria (water jar), opisthodomos (projecting porch of temple), cella/naos (large main room of temple), pronaos (small reception area or vestibule in front of naos), adaton (unlit interior chamber of naos that held the cult statue of the deity), peristyle (naos surrounded on all sides by columns), entasis (columns respond to weight of capital by widening and bowing out in center), stoa (colonnaded passageway in an agora that provided shelter and market stalls), kouros (idealized young male statue), kore (idealized young female statue), peplos (old-fashioned, long woolen garment that is belted)

Image result

COMPASS Image Caption: Wine jar, made in Athens about 540-530 BC