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Sunday, July 12, 2020

***Special Guest Episode on Greek Naval Warfare w/Marc DeSantis***


We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming for another special guest episode in a series where I converse with Classicists and Ancient Historians about either books or articles that they have published, their current research interests, or just unique classes and topics that they are teaching and exploring further. 

In today's special guest episode, I am joined by military historian Marc DeSantis. He is the author of  “Rome Seizes the Trident”, a book about the rise of Republican Rome's naval forces, as well as over 200 published scholarly articles that have appeared in a wide range of international publications including MHQ, Military History, Ancient Warfare, Military History Monthly, History of War, and Ancient History Magazine. In addition to his historical writings, Marc is the author of The Memnon War, a series of science fiction novels, and he teaches English at Saint Peter’s University. 

Marc’s most recent book, "A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War: Ships, Men and Money in the War at Sea, 431-404 BC” will be the topic at hand today. In particular, we talk about the ship designs, naval combat, the financial burden of navies, and the overall war strategies of both sides.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

103 - An Oligarchic Coup


In this episode, we discuss the years 411-410 BC of the Peloponnesian War, including the third and final treaty between the Spartans and Tissaphernes; the comedic plays "Lysistrata" and "Thesmophorizusai" by Aristophanes; how the Athenians succumbed to civil war for the first time in nearly a century and saw an overthrow of their democracy by what is known as the 400; the vicissitudes of this new oligarchic government; and how factionalism between extremists and moderates led to its downfall


Thursday, May 28, 2020

102 - Livin' on a (Persian) Prayer



In this episode, we discuss the years 413-412 BC of the Peloponnesian War, including the Athenian response at home to the Sicilian Disaster, the Spartan and Theban devastation of Attic agriculture and commerce from Decelea, the dissolution of the "friendship" between Athens and Persia, the Spartans' building up of a navy and encouraging of revolts of Athenian subject-allies, the shifting of the war to the eastern Aegean, and a series of treaties are made between Sparta and the Persian satrap Tissaphernes

Primary Sources:
Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War (Book 8)
Plutarch's Life of Alcibiades
Diodorus Siculus' The Library of History (Book 13)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

***Special Guest Episode on 'Ovid and the Art of Love' w/ Esme von Hoffman***



In today's special guest episode, I am joined by director and screenwriter Esme von Hoffman (Festival of Cinema NYC 2019 Winner for Best Director) for her film, Ovid and the Art of Love. Esme and I discuss her background with Classics and Roman history, what drew her to make a film about the life of Ovid, her artistic vision in adapting the film to a modern audience, and some of the decisions that she made in writing its script

Synopsis"A young man, Ovid (Corbin Bleu), finds his life in danger when he writes a provocative guide to love and tangles with the brutal emperor Augustus (John Savage). Based on the life of the famous Roman poet Ovid, this fun, classic story full of adventure, romance, and intrigue gets a modern twist. Set in a mash-up world of contemporary Detroit complete with togas, sneakers, hip-hop, oration, and poetry slams and filmed amidst the Motor City’s classical ruins, graffiti, and burgeoning art scene, Ovid and the Art of Love is cinematically beautiful, engaging, and uncannily relevant."


***The film is available to stream on all major platforms on May 19th 2020***





Esme von Hoffman (Screenwriter / Director)

Corbin Bleu (Ovid)

John Savage (Augustus)

Tamara Feldman (Julia the Younger)

Tara Summers (Julia the Elder)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

***Special Guest Episode on Greek Land Warfare w/Owen Rees***



This is the eighth episode in a series where I converse with Classicists and Ancient Historians about either books or articles that they have published, their current research interests, or just unique classes and topics that they are teaching and exploring further. 

In today's special guest episode, I am joined by Dr Owen Rees, a freelance historian, writer and researcher. He studied Ancient History at the University of Reading and History (Research) at the University of Nottingham. He is an assistant editor to “Sparta: Journal of Ancient Spartan and Greek History” and a regular contributor to Ancient Warfare Magazine. He also has published two books on the topic of ancient Greek warfare: Great Battles of the Classical Greek World, and Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World.

On episode 13 of THOAG we previously covered hoplite warfare, but that was four years ago and when I first started the podcast. With four years of experience under my belt and with a bit of hindsight, I don’t feel as if I did the topic it's due (and you will hear why later), and so one day I plan to redo it. Until then, Dr Rees was kind enough to come on to discuss ancient Greek warfare more generally, though we focus specifically on land warfare here, as there will be a future special guest episode just on naval. We go into lengthy discussions on the definition of a hoplite, its socio-political importance, and the problems surrounding its chronology and historiographic tradition. We also discuss the problems with the traditional reconstructive models of ancient Greek battles; the important role of cavalry and light infantry, particularly in the Peloponnesian War onwards; and why the concept of an “honorable western way of war” which seeks its origins in ancient Greek warfare is bogus and hyped up in modern ideology. There are also lots of digression on logistics, slaves, baggage trains, training, the Spartan mirage, the brutal experience of war, the fear that it instilled, and the war dead. Finally, Dr Rees discusses his most recent research (and the topic of his next book) which involves the transition of soldiers from civilian life to the battlefield and back again, including all the psychological and sociological problems that arise from this.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

101 - Disaster in Sicily



In this episode, we discuss the year 413 BC of the Peloponnesian War, including the rise of Archelaus to the Macedonian throne, the Spartan establishment of Decelea, the defeats by the Athenian army and navy at Syracuse, and the retreat and ultimate surrender of the Athenians, which brought the Sicilian Expedition to an end

Primary Sources: 
Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War (Book 7)
Plutarch's Life of Nikias
Plutarch's Life of Alcibiades
Diodorus Siculus' The Library of History (Book 13)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

100 - A Sicilian Stalemate



In this episode, we discuss the years 415-414 BC of the Peloponnesian War, including the Athenian attempt at blockading Syracuse, the death of Lamachos, the tactical blunders of Nikias, the arrival of Gylippus, and the "Birds" of Aristophanes

Primary Sources: 
Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War (Book 6)
Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War (Book 7)
Aristophanes' The Birds
Plutarch's Life of Nikias
Plutarch's Life of Alcibiades
Diodorus Siculus' The Library of History (Book 13)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

099 - Frustrations and Poor Decisions


In this episode, we discuss the years 417-415 BC of the Peloponnesian War, including the ostracism of Hyperbolus, the rivalry of Nikias and Alcibiades, the siege of Melos, the lead up and first year of the Sicilian Expedition, and the prosecutions for the Hermai and Eleusinian Mysteries scandals

Primary Sources: 
Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War (Book 5)
Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War (Book 6)
Andocides' On The Mysteries
Plutarch's Life of Nikias
Plutarch's Life of Alcibiades
Diodorus Siculus' The Library of History (Book 12)
Diodorus Siculus' The Library of History (Book 13)