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Odysseus--The Trickster Hero
Episode 2 of Heroes and Legends
Go back to the beginning of world literature to explore what made Homer's traveling hero such a powerful figure. Odysseus's story set the model for countless road narratives, but his character, which is surprisingly sly and resourceful, is unique. Here,…
Hoplite Warfare and Sparta
Episode 11 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Experience what it was like to be raised a Spartan man or woman, the changes in military tactics and equipment that made their armies so feared, and the tragic flaw that guaranteed that this Greek city-state's power, no matter how…
Technology in the Classical World
Episode 1 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Begin your exploration of ancient Greek and Roman engineering by probing the technological edge that allowed the Greeks to beat the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. Then survey the aims of the course and preview an impressive piece of…
Han and Roman Empires Compared: Problems
Episode 33 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Consider the potential problems faced by the two empires: beginning with the emperor and examining the impact of imperial weakness, incompetence, or even insanity: before reflecting on the issues of assimilating the conquered and defending the empire against the encroachments…
1453—The Fall of Constantinople
Episode 2 of Turning Points in Modern History Series
Although many educated people think they know about the fall of the Roman Empire, Professor Liulevicius says the end actually happened 1,000 years later with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. Delve deeper into this event and learn…
The Peloponnesian War and the Trial of Socrates
Episode 18 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Learn how the end of Greek unity brought down the astonishing political and cultural successes of the early 5th century, culminating in one of the most shameful episodes in Greek history: the trial and execution of one of its greatest…
Aeneas--The Straight Arrow
Episode 3 of Heroes and Legends
Turn now to the Roman straight arrow. Aeneas's story takes him from the Trojan War to the courtship of Queen Dido and on to the founding of Rome. In writing this epic, Virgil helped shape the Roman Empire's sense of…
Construction in Transition—The Colosseum
Episode 7 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Built in the A.D. 70s, the Colosseum reflects a transitional period of Roman building technology. Follow the construction of this mammoth arena from the ground up. Begin with the geometry of the building. Then focus on its blend of traditional…
Mystery Cultures of Early Greece
Episode 8 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Turn to the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations of the Mediterranean. Learn about the historical underpinnings of the Minotaur myth, Plato's account of what might have been the basis for the legend of Atlantis, and the rediscovery of writing as Greece…
Cities by Design—The Rise of Urban Planning
Episode 10 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Start a series of episodes on infrastructure in the classical world with a look at city planning. The Piraeus in Greece was an influential early example. Analyze the Roman approach to creating a rational order for their cities. Also learn…
Classical Greece—Wine, Olive Oil, and Trade
Episode 5 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Grasp how the ancient Greeks' need for arable land led to their imperial and mercantile system, and consider what we learn about their food culture from Homer, Hesiod, Pythagoras, and Plato. Observe the role of food in the rituals of…
Great Ziggurat at Ur—Ancient Architecture
Episode 6 of 30 Masterpieces of the Ancient World Series
With the magnificent ziggurats, ancient people reached for the sky, which was the domain of the deities. Learn about Nanna, the Sumerian moon god, and experience the architectural grandeur at the heart of Sumerian daily life. While wars, climate, and…
331 B.C. Gaugamela—Alexander’s Genius
Episode 4 of The Decisive Battles of World History Series
The victory of Alexander at Gaugamela resulted in the spread of Greek culture throughout the Macedonian Empire. Trace Alexander's campaign against the Persians, which led to the battle, and his bloody confrontation with the Persian forces, and grasp the brilliant…
Greek Tragedy and the Sophists
Episode 17 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Continue your examination of Greece's cultural heritage with this look at Greek theater: especially its greatest playwrights of tragedy, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides: and the second wave of philosophers known as the Sophists, led first by Socrates and then by…
Istanbul: Capital of the Byzantine Emperors
Episode 22 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul Series
In this first episode on the wonders of Istanbul, study the history of the Byzantine Empire and the establishment of Byzantium as a new Rome. Encounter imposing elements of this culture in the cathedral-like Basilica Cistern, the Theodosian Walls, and…
Touring the Cradle of Western Civilization
Episode 1 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul Series
In setting sail for the ancient world, contemplate the dynamic civilizations that emerged in the Aegean and the scope of the human drama that was played out there. Preview some of the towering figures and remarkable sites you'll encounter, and…
The Crucible: Punic Wars, Roman Imperialism
Episode 27 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Learn how the series of conflicts with Rome's burgeoning Mediterranean rival: the city-state of Carthage, whose forces were led by the brilliant Hannibal: were both the closest Rome ever came to total defeat and the stepping-stone to its ultimate success.
The Pearl of Constantinople: Hagia Sophia
Episode 23 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul Series
Imagine the sights and sounds of a visit to this magical edifice in Byzantine times, and learn the history of the emperor Justinian's plans for a church that would surpass all others. Contemplate the stunning columns, stonework, mosaics, and the…
Athens: Around the Acropolis and Parthenon
Episode 2 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul Series
Enter the Acropolis, symbol of Athens, following the path of the ancient annual procession honoring Athena. Investigate the history and meanings of the site's iconic buildings, including the grand Propylaea (gatehouse) and the Erechtheum (Temple of Athena). Learn about the…
People of the Toga: Etruscans, Early Rome
Episode 26 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
In this first of five episodes tracing the rise of Roman civilization, you begin with Rome's geography, its traditional origin story, and the formative scars left by the experience of being ruled by a foreign power, and especially by a…