The Hellenistic World

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Troy: Beyond Homer and the Trojan Horse
The archaeological site of ancient Troy reveals numerous distinct historical phases. Explore the majestic remains of the different epochs of the citadel, from its beginnings in 2900 B.C. to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Trace interconnections between the site's monuments and the lives of the historical King Priam and Alexander…
Earliest Historians of Greece and China
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, Thucydides, and Sima Qian.
Mystery Cultures of Early Greece
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 emerged from its own Dark Ages.
Athens and Experiments in Democracy
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 of stuffing a ballot box.
Hoplite Warfare and Sparta
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 widespread or intimidating, could not endure.
Persians and Greeks
Discover the reasons the Greek city-states were able to emerge intact from their conflict with a vastly superior Persian Empire. Learn, too, how the defensive alignment put in place to protect those states: begun as an alliance of equals: instead became an Athenian empire.
Greek Art and Architecture
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.
Greek Tragedy and the Sophists
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 his disciple Plato.
The Peloponnesian War and the Trial of Socrates
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 thinkers, Socrates.
Philip of Macedon: Architect of Empire
Begin a four-episode exploration of what has come to be known the Great Man Theory of History: that a single person could indeed alter the course of history: by reviewing the careers of five rulers who might well provide the best arguments for the theory.
People of the Toga: Etruscans, Early Rome
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 king holding supreme authority.
The Crucible: Punic Wars, Roman Imperialism
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.