Classical studies

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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…
Athens: Around the Acropolis and Parthenon
Episode 2 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey
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…
Touring the Cradle of Western Civilization
Episode 1 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey
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…
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,…
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…
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…
Mystery Cultures of Early Greece
Episode 8 of History of the Ancient World
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…
In the Footsteps of Socrates: Historic Athens
Episode 3 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey
Among treasures surrounding the Acropolis, discover the Theater of Dionysos, where you ponder the rituals of early dramatic festivals, and the grand Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a venue of music and recitations. Enjoy dramatic viewing places, including the Pnyx, an…
Greek Tragedy and the Sophists
Episode 17 of History of the Ancient World
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…
The Substance of Technology—Materials
Episode 2 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Study the engineering materials available in classical antiquity. First look at the simple physics of compression and tension. Then consider six specific materials: stone, wood, clay, copper, bronze, and iron. Examine how they came into use and how their properties…
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 Tours: Greece and Turkey - From Athens to Istanbul Series
Mycenae. Delphi. Ephesus. Sardis. To know the cities and sites of Greece and Turkey is to know your beginnings. Experience these countries through the eyes of an archaeologist as you walk through temples, shrines, fortresses, theaters, churches, and so much…
24 videos
The Byzantine Empire and the Legacy of Rome
Episode 42 of History of the Ancient World
The eastern Roman: or Byzantine: Empire would outlast its counterpart in the West by a thousand years. Follow the fortunes of this flourishing hub, which included one of the most powerful women of antiquity and one of the ancient world's…
Athens and Experiments in Democracy
Episode 10 of History of the Ancient World
Greece's most famous city-state is often praised for its creation of democracy. You examine the origins of that system and discover some surprising revelations, including the seminal role played by an instance of spurned affection and perhaps the earliest example…
The Alexandrian Exchange and the Four Humors
Episode 6 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Alexander's conquests heralded an era where previously unconnected cultures mixed on a large scale. Trace the diffusion of foodstuffs over vast trade networks in the Hellenistic period. Study early dietary regimens based in Galen's famous theory of the body's "humors,"…
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…
479 B.C. Plataea—Greece Wins Freedom
Episode 3 of The Decisive Battles of World History Series
In the 479 B.C. battle of Plataea, Greek "hoplite" forces fighting in phalanxes met the mighty army of the Persian superpower. Study the unfolding of this dramatic engagement, and learn how it ended the Persian threat to Greece and allowed…
197 B.C. Cynoscephalae—Legion vs. Phalanx
Episode 5 of The Decisive Battles of World History Series
In 197 B.C., two rival military systems clashed. Learn about the forces of Philip V of Macedon, with their phalanx system; the legacy of Alexander; and the up-and-coming Romans with their "manipular" army based in flexible subunits of soldiers. Assess…
Earliest Historians of Greece and China
Episode 23 of History of the Ancient World
Consider what it must have been like to be among the very first historians, not only practicing your art, but having to define it and its standards, as well. See how fundamental questions about writing history were answered by Herodotus,…
Machines at Sea—Ancient Ships
Episode 22 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Spurred by their dependence on maritime trade, the ancient Greeks became masters of nautical engineering. Follow the development of their ship design and sailing techniques, which were adopted by the Romans and paved the way for the great age of…