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The History of Ancient Greece Podcast is a deep-dive into one of the most influential and fundamental civilization in world history. Hosted by philhellene Ryan Stitt, THOAG spans over two millennia. From the Bronze Age to the Archaic Period, from Classical Greece to the Hellenistic kingdoms, and finally to the Roman conquest, this podcast will tell the history of a fundamental civilization by bringing to life the fascinating stories of all the ancient sources and scholarly interpretations of ...
 
The Near East - the region known politically as the Middle East - is the home of both a long and eventful history as well as a much longer and fascinating prehistory. Here on Pre History I will cover the story of the Near East as we know it from the archaeological study of what people left behind as hunter-gatherers turned into farmers, as villages turned into cities, and as empires rose and fell.
 
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Adrienne Mayor is renowned for exploring the borders of history, science, archaeology, anthropology, and popular knowledge to find historical realities and scientific insights--glimmering, long-buried nuggets of truth--embedded in myth, legends, and folklore. Combing through ancient texts and obscure sources, she has spent decades prospecting for i…
 
This week, we’re going to talk about that time Heracles, the strong man, son of Zeus and noted impenetrable penetrator, lived as a woman. Yes, you read that right. And not only did he live as a woman, he was the submissive to a powerful female dom who took up his lionskin and club as symbols of her own power. Get ready for a fun, gender-bending epi…
 
After all of the arguments that we saw for the Wadi Rabah as to whether it was part of the Late Neolithic or part of the Early Chalcolithic, this time we shall have a look at Anatolia in the first half of the sixth millennium cal BCE - which is widely agreed here to the Early Chalcolithic. Unlike the more widespread cultures of the Halaf or the Wad…
 
Over the course of 400 years people travelled to the Oracle of Dodona and asked questions. Some of these have survived and give an fascinating insight into what the people of ancient Greece were thinking. In this episode I take you through the history and background of the oracle before getting stuck into those questions. Perhaps less pig theft but…
 
A senior scholar and teacher with four decades of classroom experience offers a concise, student-level theology of the entire Old Testament. W. H. Bellinger Jr. uses ancient Israel's confession of faith, the Psalms, to introduce the sweep of Old Testament theology: creation, covenant, and prophecy. In Introducing Old Testament Theology (Baker Acade…
 
Rethinking 'Classical Yoga' and Buddhism (Bloomsbury, 2021) revisits the early systemic formation of meditation practices called 'yoga' in South Asia by employing metaphor theory. Karen O'Brien-Kop also develops an alternative way of analysing the reception history of yoga that aims to decentre the Eurocentric and imperialist enterprises of the nin…
 
Who's the queerest of the gods? It's hard to say...but there's a strong case to be made that it's Dionysus. The god of wine and revolutionaries who rebelled ferociously against the gender binary, Dionysus breaks the mold in so many ways--and he does it with a sense of joy that's irresistible. In this episode, debut author and unabashed Dionysus fan…
 
Many of us have preconceived notions about what the Illiad was like. Prepare to have those notions blown away. In this episode, debut author Maya Deane methodically strips away the lenses of the Victorian era, Classical Greece, and the modern day to reveal an Illiad that’s older and darker and weirder than any of us could ever have dreamed. This is…
 
For the Freedom of Zion: The Great Revolt of Jews against Romans, 66–74 CE (Yale University Press, 2022) by Dr. Guy Maclean Rogers is a deeply researched and insightful book examines the causes, course, and historical significance of the Jews’ failed revolt against Rome from 66 to 74 CE, including the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. Based on a…
 
In Masculinity and Dress in Roman Antiquity (Routledge, 2020), Olson argues that clothing functioned as part of the process of communication by which elite male influence, masculinity, and sexuality were made known and acknowledged, and furthermore that these concepts interconnected in socially significant ways. This volume also sets out the detail…
 
Despite the Talmud being the richest repository of medical remedies in ancient Judaism, this important strain of Jewish thought has been largely ignored – even as the study of ancient medicine has exploded in recent years. In a comprehensive study of this topic, Jason Sion Mokhtarian recuperates this obscure genre of Talmudic text, which has been m…
 
We’re taking a slight departure from our Gender Rebels series to tell you the story of Zeus and Ganymede. This is the story about the time Zeus kidnapped a teenage boy named Ganymede and brought him to Olympus to be his “cup bearer.” Zeus and Ganymede were not gender rebels. In fact, they set the standard for the erastes-eromenos binary of the time…
 
Sabdanugamah (Sanskrit Library, 2021) is the first of two volumes of studies in honor of Professor George Cardona, the preeminent authority on Paninian grammar and the linguistic traditions of India as well as one of the worlds leading scholars of Indo-European linguistics. These studies cover topics in Paninian grammar, other Indian linguistic tra…
 
Not only was abortion broadly legal in ancient Greece and Rome, but some of the methods used were surprisingly similar to today. And the Bible doesn’t mention it at all—except in one obscure passage, where it tells you how to administer one. In this episode, we’re joined by feminist Biblical scholar and author Princess O’Nika Auguste to discuss the…
 
Today I talked to Nomi Claire Lazar about Out of Joint: Power, Crisis, and the Rhetoric of Time (Yale University Press, 2019). Drawing on stories of leaders and thinkers across a range of cultures and political contexts, ancient and modern, Nomi Claire Lazar shows how constructions of time can help stabilize or destabilize political order and spark…
 
The Crown Games were the apex of competition in ancient Greece. Along with prestigious athletic contests in honor of Zeus at Olympia, they comprised the Pythian Games for Apollo at Delphi, the Isthmian Games for Poseidon, and the Nemean Games, sacred to Zeus. For over nine hundred years, the Greeks celebrated these athletic and religious festivals,…
 
Emma Natalya Stein's book Constructing Kanchi: City of Infinite Temples (Amsterdam UP, 2021) traces the emergence of the South Indian city of Kanchi as a major royal capital and multireligious pilgrimage destination during the era of the Pallava and Chola dynasties (circa seventh through thirteenth centuries). It presents the first-ever comprehensi…
 
Since the original airing of this episode in June 2021, Roger Reeves' second book Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. was published by W.W. Norton, and the paperback edition of David Ferry's translation of The Aeneid was published by the University of Chicago Press. The underworld, that repository of the Shades of the Dead, gets a lot of traffic …
 
This episode is part of our abortion rights takeover series. It was originally dropped on our Patreon. It deals with the miracle plant of ancient Greece and Rome: Silphium. The people of Cyrene printed it on their money. It was considered a delicacy throughout the Greek and Roman world, as well as a powerful medicine that could be used to cure ever…
 
This episode is part of our abortion rights takeover. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled series on gender rebels on June 2. In this re-release, Kate from the Exploress podcast joined us to discuss the intimate lives of sex workers in ancient Greece and Rome--including methods of contraception and abortion. Pliny the Elder interviewed sex work…
 
To many the city might seem simply a large urban area to live within, but it actually forms an important political concept and community that has been influential throughout European history. From the polis of Ancient Greece, to the Roman Republic, to the city-states of the Italian Renaissance, and down to the present day. Modern concepts of democr…
 
In this episode we head south to look at one of the major cultures of the Southern Levant during the sixth millennium BCE - the Wadi Rabah. While there is a lot that we know about the Wadi Rabah culture, there is also a lot that we argue about. Really, a lot. If you have any questions or comments you can email me at prehistorypodcast@gmail.com or r…
 
What happened to people in ancient Rome who were freed from slavery? Turns out there were still invisible threads--economic pressures, imbalances of status, and debts owed to wealthy patrons--that kept many of them in bondage. On the streets of Pompeii, freedom came at a steep price--especially for women. Today, we talk to Elodie Harper--bestsellin…
 
As most of you probably already know, abortion rights in the US are under attack. Somebody leaked a Supreme Court initial majority draft that was a full throated, loud and proud revocation of pregnant-capable people’s right to choose who gets to use our bodies. Abortion is a totally normal procedure that people have been doing for millennia--probab…
 
In 510 BC, an obscure Greek city located literally on a backwater revolted against its tyrant. This was not extraordinary; such things happened regularly in the many Greek city-states. What followed however was extraordinary, and even world-changing. Athens became a democracy. Then just seventeen years after that, Athens and its tiny ally of Platae…
 
This week, we're taking a break from the story of Achilles to discuss the Illiad from an angle that's not as often covered: the story of the women of the House of Atreus, the family of Agamemnon. In this episode, bestselling author Jennifer Saint introduces us to Clytemnestra and Elektra--Agamemnon's wife and daughter--as well as the priestess and …
 
Core Buddhist teachings are preserved in the ancient Indian language Pali. Listen in as Aleix Ruiz-Falqués speaks about its structure, its significance, and opportunities to study it with him online. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/…
 
For nearly 3,000 years, the question of what it means to be Greek has been one of perennial interest—and, incredibly enough, not only to the Greeks. How a collection of small cities and kingdoms around the northeastern Mediterranean Sea laid down precepts for science, the arts, politics, law, and philosophy is one of the great historical stories. T…
 
In this episode, we explore what happened to gender in the pressure-cooker of ancient war. To do that, we skip ahead ten years to a different beach: the war-blasted, corpse-strewn sands below the walls of Troy. As the Trojan War dragged on, the most respect went to those who were able to slaughter and pillage and plunder: gender for men devolved in…
 
Although the era of the Enlightenment witnessed the rise of philosophical debates around benevolent social practice, the origins of European humane discourse date further back, to Classical Athens. The Ancient Greek Roots of Human Rights (U Texas Press, 2021) analyzes the parallel confluences of cultural factors facing ancient Greeks and eighteenth…
 
Time for the big one. Cannae is one of the most famous battles of antiquity. Not only did Rome suffer a crushing defeat but the tactics behind the victory have been studied by generals and military tacticians ever since. In this episode I discuss what happened in the lead up to it, trust me there's a drama at every turn. From dictators to deceptive…
 
In this rebroadcast, John and Brandeis neuroscientist Gina Turrigiano (an occasional host and perennial friend of Recall this Book) speak with Madeline Miller, author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Circe. Elizabeth Ferry is Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. Email: ferry@brandeis.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of…
 
In our last episode we looked at Achilles’ early life and his relationships with the women who crossed his path. In this episode, we follow him to the beach at Aulis—where all the Greek kings and heroes, anyone who was anyone, had gathered at the start of the Trojan War. Achilles left Pyrrha behind, but his time as a dancing girl followed him to th…
 
Today I talked to Patrick Olivelle about his book Grhastha: The Householder in Ancient Indian Religious Culture (Oxford UP, 2019). For scholars of ancient Indian religions, the wandering mendicants who left home and family for a celibate life and the search for liberation represent an enigma. The Vedic religion, centered on the married household, h…
 
Achilles is so often portrayed as the most masculine of heroes, but those portrayals generally leave out that he spent a few years of his life passing as a girl. Today, we’re going to explore that time in Achilles’ life, and what it tells us about his gender. We’ll also delve into his relationships with the women in his early life: his mom, Thetis,…
 
Nowhere on Earth is there an ecological transformation so swift and so extreme as between the snow line of the high Andes and the tropical rainforest of Amazonia. Because of that, the different disciplines that research the human past in South America have tended to treat these two great subzones of the continent as self-contained enough to be stud…
 
Dr. Carrie Duncan is an Assistant Professor of ancient Mediterranean religions at the University of Missouri. She is a senior staff member on the following projects in Jordan: the Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project, the Petra North Ridge Project, and the Madaba Plains’ excavation. She teaches courses on the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, the Jesus …
 
In the first part of our Gender Rebels series, we talked about queer history—queer women, Intersex people, transgender people, and eunuchs. Now, we’re going to begin another series that takes that lens to Greek mythology. There are plenty of queer myths that break the binary as the ancient Greeks saw it—and heroes and gods who were gender rebels. S…
 
As modern empires rise and fall, ancient Rome becomes ever more significant. We yearn for Rome's power but fear Rome's ruin--will we turn out like the Romans, we wonder, or can we escape their fate? That question has obsessed centuries of historians and leaders, who have explored diverse political, religious, and economic forces to explain Roman de…
 
Julius Caesar was no aspiring autocrat seeking to realize the imperial future but an unusually successful republican leader who was measured against the Republic's traditions and its greatest heroes of the past. Catastrophe befell Rome not because Caesar (or anyone else) turned against the Republic, its norms, and institutions, but because Caesar's…
 
We love the mini-series we’ve done on the Sacred Band of Thebes. And we wanted to give you a chance to binge the entire thing. So, for the first time ever we’re dropping a really really long episode. Like road trip long! If you were planning a trip through the Peloponnese (swoon) – then this is the episode for you. Next week we’re going to follow o…
 
In her book, The Idea of Marathon, Dr Nevin explores the Battle of Marathon from different angles. Not just the events prior to it, but what we know about the battle and how later generations made sense of it all (this includes the modern period). Join us as we cover a lot of ground (historically inaccurate pun intended). There are complaining Gree…
 
When we think of pre-Buddhism Chinese philosophy, ideas such as filial piety and “the Dao” might come to mind. But what was at stake in the philosophical debates of early Chinese thinkers, from Confucius to Zhuangzi? What were the epistemic legacies that they have left for the world? In Origins of Moral Political Philosophy in Early China (Oxford U…
 
Last week, we told you about the Sacred Band’s first important military victories—victories that depended on the intense trust and love the Sacred Band members had for each other. Victories that showed that the Spartans weren’t so tough after all. But as Spartan control in Greece receded, opportunistic warlords and upstart city-states rose up to ta…
 
The Samaritans have been around since biblical times. They share history with the Jews, Christians, and Muslims; yet their identity is at odds with the people who trace their roots to ancient Israel. Who actually are Samaritans? And why did these biblical people turn into a micronation in this age? In this new episode, Steven Fine, Dean Pinkhos Chu…
 
The First Black Archaeologist: A Life of John Wesley Gilbert (Oxford UP, 2022) reveals the untold story of a pioneering African American classical scholar, teacher, community leader, and missionary. Born into slavery in rural Georgia, John Wesley Gilbert (1863-1923) gained national prominence in the early 1900s, but his accomplishments are littlekn…
 
In What John Knew and What John Wrote: A Study in John and the Synoptics (Fortress, 2020), Wendy E. S. North investigates whether or not the author of John could have crafted his Gospel with knowledge of the Synoptics. Unlike previous approaches, which have usually treated the Gospel according to John purely as a piece of literature, this book unde…
 
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