Classical studies

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Greek Art and Architecture
Episode 16 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Pause in your study of historical events to appreciate two of classical Greece's most important contributions to art and architecture. Learn the distinguishing characteristics of Greek sculpture and the principles that gave such extraordinary beauty to Greece's temples.
The Most Celebrated Edifice—The Pantheon
Episode 9 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Conclude your study of great classical-era structures by examining the greatest of them all: the Pantheon in Rome. Imitated but never equaled, this temple to all the gods incorporates Greek as well as quintessentially Roman architectural features. The stupendous dome…
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…
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…
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…
The Byzantine Empire and the Legacy of Rome
Episode 42 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
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…
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…
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…
Stone Masonry Perfected—The Greek Temple
Episode 4 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Focus on the classical-era temple, one of the crowning achievements of Hellenic civilization. Where did it originate? Why are the many examples so architecturally consistent? What were the principles of Greek temple design? And what were its structural limitations?
Later Roman Empire: Crisis and Christianity
Episode 40 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
Explore the century that followed Rome's Golden Age and the time of the Five Good Emperors as the empire suffered through political, military, and economic crises that brought it to the brink of collapse, staged a near-miraculous and unexpected recovery,…
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…
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,…
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…
Ottoman Istanbul: Mosques, Palaces, Bazaars
Episode 24 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul Series
Finally, ponder the origins and planning of the Topkapi Palace, jeweled seat of the Ottoman sultans. Penetrate the layers of the palace, from the grand courts to the royal kitchens and harem. Conclude with visits to the Blue Mosque, hammams…
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?
Episode 41 of History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective Course
The questions of when Rome fell: and why: are arguably the most famous ongoing historical debates in the Western tradition. One German scholar has even posited 210 plausible answers to the why. This episode examines both the questions and the…
Dining in Republican and Imperial Rome
Episode 9 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Here, delve into intriguing contrasts in the dining habits of the ancient Romans. From the simple food customs of republican Rome, follow the expanding empire and how exotic food became a status symbol. Examine a cookbook aimed at those eager…
Reconstructing the Greek Trireme
Episode 23 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
The trireme, a swift warship with three banks of oars, ruled the Mediterranean Sea in the 5th century B.C., when the Athenian empire was at its height. Yet only sparse evidence remains for what these vessels were like. Follow a…
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…
From Quarry to Temple—Building in Stone
Episode 3 of Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Gain a deeper appreciation for the ancient world's most important construction material by following a block of stone from a quarry to its final resting place in the wall of a Greek temple. Learn how stone blocks were extracted from…
Ancient Olympia: Gods, Games, and Temples
Episode 8 of Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul Series
Investigate the practices and culture of the original Olympic games at sites including the palaestra, where important athletes trained; the stadium; and the unusual Temple of Hera. Sense the heat and drama of the contests, as you contemplate the mind-set…