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The Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World

Dive deep into Greek democracy, law, and empire, as well as the people who molded them.
Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 120.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding and highly recommended Ian Worthington is a renowned author on the subject matter. His lecture style is engaging and very thorough. He highlights his personal biases so you immediately know his opinions versus the more recognized factual material. Overall outstanding professor and communicator. I rate him among the very best.
Date published: 2024-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth your time if you love history This lecture series is a worthy investment of your time if you love history, but also if you just want to know more about the origins and development of many of the social and political pillars of western culture. Dr. Worthington does not just provide dates and names, but attempts to draw connections between ideas, find historical themes, and even throws in a few hersies that are worth examining. Loved the course!
Date published: 2024-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course! Prof. Worthington does a masterful job of tracing the history of ancient Greece in this 48-lecture series. His lecture style is easy and conversational, his knowledge of the subject matter is impressive, and his sense of humor and wit enliven each lecture. I purchased the audio version and found that to be entirely satisfactory, although a working knowledge of the geography of ancient Greece and Turkey is a definite plus. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2023-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World I bought the DVD's a couple of years ao, and I am watching them for the second time. Professor Worthington knows his subject very well, and his enthusiasm for ancient Greek history and his humor make the course fun to watch. I have traveled through Greece, and it was interesting to hear about some of the things I saw there.
Date published: 2023-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Truly GREAT Course Professor Worthington is an excellent instructor. He is a world class scholar who doesn’t talk down to his students. His voice is clear and pleasant, and his lectures are very enjoyable. You feel as if you are in a university class.
Date published: 2023-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fantastic course that rewards repeat listening. I am a fan of Prof Worthington - his books are great - and this course benefits from his sterling academic background, sense of detail but very approachable and conversational style. You never feel like you are in the weeds. Listening to the course is like being front row in a lecture where you never look at the clock.
Date published: 2023-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course As a Greek, I found this to be one of the best courses, because of the intelligent manner which the professor examines history. It's not about the dates and the names, but the analysis of the real reasons events happened and, not only the Hows but also the Whys.. Great !!
Date published: 2023-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World We recently completed this course. We commend Professor Worthington for keeping our interest and providing interesting information and insights which could be related to both our knowledge of ancient history and to current times. He presents with knowledge, enthusiasm, and humour. Well done!
Date published: 2023-05-02
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Overview

Ancient Greek civilization tells a complex and intriguing story about the growth of the pivotal institutions that laid the groundwork for Western civilization. The Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World immerses you in this exciting crucible of innovation with 48 lectures that focus on Greek democracy, law, and empire, as well as the people who molded them. Taught by award-winning Professor Ian Worthington, this course is an incredibly detailed look at the birth of our political traditions—a gripping, enlightening, and immensely rewarding story that reaffirms the many enduring legacies of the ancient Greek world.

About

Ian Worthington

I don't merely want to open people's eyes to events in antiquity but to identify and appreciate how ancient history plays a role in human history. This is my way of making the old appear new again!

INSTITUTION

University of Missouri, Columbia

Dr. Ian Worthington is the Curators' Professor and Professor of History at the University of Missouri, where he has been teaching since 1998. The Curators' Professor title, which he received in 2013, is the highest research award in the UM system. Born in England, Professor Worthington earned a B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of Hull and an M.A. in Ancient History from the University of Durham. In 1987 he was awarded a Ph.D. from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, with a thesis on the Greek orator Dinarchus and Athenian history in the age of Alexander the Great. He went on to teach for 10 years in the classics departments at the universities of New England and of Tasmania. In 2005 Professor Worthington won the Chancellor?s Award for Outstanding Research and Creativity in the Humanities and in 2007 the Student-Athlete Most Inspiring Professor Award. In 2011 he was the recipient of the William H. Byler Distinguished Professor Award and the CAMWS Excellence in College Teaching Award. Professor Worthington has published 6 sole-authored books, 11 edited books, and 100 articles, book chapters, and essays on Greek history, oratory and epigraphy, including By the Spear, The Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire (Oxford University Press: 2014), Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece (Oxford University Press 2013), Philip II of Macedonia (Yale University Press 2008), and Alexander the Great: Man and God (Pearson 2004), and the Blackwell Companions to Ancient Macedonia (2010; coedited with Joseph Roisman), and Greek Rhetoric (2007). He is also editor-in-chief of Brill's New Jacoby. He and Joseph Roisman just completed a commentary on the ancient lives of the Attic orators for the Clarendon Ancient History Series (forthcoming, 2015). He is working on a biography of Ptolemy I for Oxford University Press.

Three Mainstays of Ancient Greece

01: Three Mainstays of Ancient Greece

Begin your exploration of Archaic and Classical Greek history with a survey of the three major themes of this course: democracy, law, and empire. Then briefly examine the Bronze Age, which set the stage for many of the later developments you study.

34 min
The 8th-Century Renaissance

02: The 8th-Century Renaissance

The Bronze Age was followed by four centuries of turmoil (1150-750 B.C.), termed the Dark Ages of ancient Greece. Investigate the civilization that emerged from this era, which ended with a renaissance in the 8th century, marking the start of the Archaic period.

31 min
Politics and Tyranny in Greece

03: Politics and Tyranny in Greece

This lecture considers the rule of the tyrants of three important states in the Peloponnese: Argos, Sicyon, and Corinth. "Tyrant" was a title assumed by those who illegally seized power. Surprisingly, many tyrants played a positive role in bringing peace and stability to their cities.

30 min
The Exercise of Political Power in Athens

04: The Exercise of Political Power in Athens

Athens, like other states, was ruled by aristocratic families who felt threatened by the rise of tyrannies elsewhere. This background helps you understand the nature of political power in Athens before the revolutionary democratic reforms of Solon, Ephialtes, and Cleisthenes.

30 min
Dracon of Athens and the Birth of Greek Law

05: Dracon of Athens and the Birth of Greek Law

With Athens facing a revolt of the lower classes, the ruling families appointed a man called Dracon to codify the laws. His severity gave rise to the epithet "draconian," but his inauguration of a formal system of procedures, courts, trial by jury, and other measures earned him the Greek accolade "the father of law."

30 min
Solon of Athens—Social and Economic Reforms

06: Solon of Athens—Social and Economic Reforms

In 594 the ruling nobles elected an Athenian named Solon to end civil strife, giving him absolute power for one year. Study the revolution wrought by this political genius, who invented democracy.

30 min
Solon, Democracy, and Law

07: Solon, Democracy, and Law

Consider Solon's political and judicial legislation. How did he go about creating democracy? What did he do to help develop the legal code? You consider the view of Aristotle's "Athenian Constitution" on the three most democratic aspects of Solon's constitution.

31 min
From Anarchy to Tyranny in Athens

08: From Anarchy to Tyranny in Athens

The decades after Solon were marked by anarchy, aristocratic faction fighting, and further civil war. Chart the rise to power of the tyrant Pisistratus, a nobleman who championed the cause of the poor.

32 min
Pisistratus, Tyrant of Athens

09: Pisistratus, Tyrant of Athens

Examine how Pisistratus benefited Athens economically, artistically, and culturally by his exploitation of religion and his power as tyrant. This is when the first official texts of the Homeric poems were established, when tragedy was born, and when Athens began to emerge as the cultural center of Greece.

31 min
Tyranny Overthrown—The Sons of Pisistratus

10: Tyranny Overthrown—The Sons of Pisistratus

To what extent did Pisistratus have the people's interests at heart, rather than cynically exploiting them to maintain his regime? After exploring this question, look at the inauspicious reign of his sons and the growing tension with the powerful military state of Sparta.

32 min
Democracy Restored—Cleisthenes of Athens

11: Democracy Restored—Cleisthenes of Athens

In the wake of the Pisistratid tyranny, a politician named Cleisthenes gained the upper hand by promising the people widespread changes. His legislation dramatically increased the fledgling democracy by revising the map of Attica to limit aristocratic influence.

31 min
Cleisthenes, the Real Father of Democracy?

12: Cleisthenes, the Real Father of Democracy?

Learn how Cleisthenes' political restructuring ended factional strife and is the forerunner of today's division of local, state, and federal administration. In taking democracy to the masses in a way that Solon had not, Cleisthenes may be more deserving of the title "the father of democracy."

32 min
Sparta, the

13: Sparta, the "Odd-Man-Out" State in Greece

Turn to the polis that was the odd man out: Sparta. Other Greeks viewed the Spartans with a combination of admiration and alarm for their austere military culture. Yet in the early Archaic period, Sparta was developing like other Greek cities until it underwent a radical transformation.

31 min
Death or Glory—Spartan Military Education

14: Death or Glory—Spartan Military Education

Sparta's traditional lawgiver was a possibly mythical figure named Lycurgus. His reforms included a brutal system of military education called the agoge, with the aim of building the best army in Greece. You look at what this demanding and dangerous schooling involved.

30 min

15: "Come Back Carrying Your Shield or On It"

Spartan women played a more overt role in public life than their counterparts in Athens, exhorting their sons to die in battle rather than survive in defeat. Sparta's slaves, or helots, far outnumbered the Spartans - and created an internal security problem that may have triggered Sparta's obsession with military superiority.

30 min
From Sparta to Persia

16: From Sparta to Persia

Conclude your exploration of Spartan society with a look at its weaknesses, among them high mortality of Spartan males due to their constant military service. Further, Sparta's deteriorating relations with Athens in the 490s did not bode well for the Greeks as Persia prepared to invade the Greek mainland.

31 min
Marathon—End of the First Persian Invasion

17: Marathon—End of the First Persian Invasion

In 490 Athenian troops fighting virtually alone defeated the invading Persian army at Marathon. Learn how this victory was crucial in Athens' coming of age as a military power.

30 min
Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans

18: Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans

The Persians sought revenge for their defeat at Marathon by invading Greece in 481 with a massive army and fleet led by the great king Xerxes. You focus on the famous battle at Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans led by Leonidas refused to surrender and were wiped out.

30 min
Greece Triumphs—The End of the Persian Wars

19: Greece Triumphs—The End of the Persian Wars

This lecture covers the advance of Persian forces deeper into Greece. At Salamis, Themistocles lured the Persian fleet to battle, virtually annihilating it. Then in spring 479 a pitched battle was fought at Plataea, in which the Persians were defeated.

31 min
From the Archaic to the Classical Period

20: From the Archaic to the Classical Period

Examine the aftermath of the Persian Wars, asking why the Persians lost. Then probe the surprisingly momentous question of whether the wars form the natural end of the Archaic period, or whether they should be considered the opening of the Classical period.

32 min
The Delian League—Origins and First Steps

21: The Delian League—Origins and First Steps

Building on its military success in the Persian Wars, Athens formed an alliance of Greek states known as the Delian League, which became a de facto Athenian empire, alarming Sparta. Look at the working methods of Thucydides, the historian who recorded these developments.

33 min
From Delian League to Athenian Empire

22: From Delian League to Athenian Empire

Examine Thucydides' analysis of the early years of the Delian League and the growth of Athenian imperialism. Initially, relations between Athens and its allies were good, but from the 470s on Athenian expansion and the disregard of allied autonomy seriously strained ties.

32 min
Ephialtes, Founder of Radical Democracy

23: Ephialtes, Founder of Radical Democracy

This lecture reads between the lines of the ancient sources to uncover the political and judicial revolution crafted by Ephialtes, a little-known general and politician who introduced radical or direct democracy to Athens, in which the people became sovereign in the state. He may also be responsible for trial by jury.

31 min
Rhetoric—A New Path to Political Power

24: Rhetoric—A New Path to Political Power

Ephialtes' radical democracy created a demand for orators. These individuals were called rhêtores, or speakers. Out of this grew the term "demagogue," or leader of the people, which took on an odious connotation. You examine how rhetoric came to be exploited for political ends - and for deceiving the people.

32 min
Democracy and Political Speech—Then and Now

25: Democracy and Political Speech—Then and Now

What is the difference between the democracy of Classical Athens and ours today? What were the shortcomings of the Athenian system? How democratic was it? After exploring these questions, you turn to the influence of ancient rhetoric on modern.

31 min
The Causes of the Peloponnesian War

26: The Causes of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides gave two reasons for the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War: Sparta's fear of the growth of Athenian power, and a sequence of actions that provoked the Spartans to declare war. You also hear the theory that Pericles, the leader of Athens, deliberately engineered the war.

30 min
The War's Early Years and the Great Plague

27: The War's Early Years and the Great Plague

You cover the first few years of the Peloponnesian War, focusing on Pericles' strategy, the effects of the great plague that wiped out about one-quarter of Athenians, the rise of the demagogue Cleon, and the revolt of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos.

31 min
Athenian Successes and a Temporary Peace

28: Athenian Successes and a Temporary Peace

This lecture takes the war down to the Peace of Nicias in 421, which was a temporary cessation of hostilities. You study the successful Athenian campaign at Pylos and Sphacteria and the pivotal role played by Cleon, whom history has treated dismissively.

31 min
War Resumes—The Athenian Disaster in Sicily

29: War Resumes—The Athenian Disaster in Sicily

Thucydides attributed Athens's loss in the war to the Sicilian expedition and the decline in leadership after Pericles. You examine the collapse of the Peace of Nicias and the background to the Sicilian campaign, noting how Athenians committed rashly to the enterprise.

31 min
Democracy Fails—Oligarchy in Athens

30: Democracy Fails—Oligarchy in Athens

Look at the results of Athens' great defeat, which led to the imposition of oligarchy in Athens in 411, an event foreshadowed in Aristophanes' biting comedy "Lysistrata." The oligarchy was soon deposed and replaced by a moderate form of democracy.

32 min
Final Battles—Sparta's Triumph over Athens

31: Final Battles—Sparta's Triumph over Athens

Survey the war's last years and the climactic defeat of Athens at the Battle of Aegospotami in 405. The terms imposed on Athens by Sparta included the end of the Delian League, the abolition of Athenian democracy, and the installation of a cruel, pro-Spartan oligarchy.

32 min
Why Athens Lost—The Impact on Greece

32: Why Athens Lost—The Impact on Greece

Why did Athens lose the Peloponnesian War? This lecture examines the failure of the radical democracy, whose actions lay behind every event that was to Athens' detriment. The second half of the lecture takes Greek history to the accession of Philip II of Macedonia.

33 min
The Household in the Polis

33: The Household in the Polis

Turn from military campaigns to a study of Greek law and society. Investigate the Athenian family and its integral role in law and society, focusing on the various members of the family, especially women, and what the state expected of them.

31 min
Athenian Law and Society

34: Athenian Law and Society

Three ancient literary works provide a window into Athens' legal system. You look at Aristophanes' "Wasps,", Plato's "Crito," and Sophocles' "Antigone" for insight into how the Athenian legal code developed, how seriously citizens viewed it, and how it also afforded a means of entertainment.

31 min
Historical Development of the Legal Code

35: Historical Development of the Legal Code

The rudimentary justice of the Bronze Age is depicted in a famous passage in Homer. You begin with this scene and follow the development of Greek law through the introduction of trial by jury and the protection of individual rights in the Classical period.

33 min
The Judicial Machinery of the Legal System

36: The Judicial Machinery of the Legal System

This lecture discusses the major components of Athens' judicial system: the magistrates, courts, and private and public arbitrators. Athenians attached great importance to the law and were enthusiastic participants in legal proceedings, both as litigants and jurors.

30 min
Types of Cases, Sycophants, and Pretrial

37: Types of Cases, Sycophants, and Pretrial

The origin of lawyers may trace to professional consultants in Athens, who composed and sometimes delivered court speeches on behalf of clients, whether for the prosecution or defense. You also learn of the positive role played in law enforcement by sycophants, or blackmailers.

32 min
Going to Trial in Ancient Athens

38: Going to Trial in Ancient Athens

When a case got to Athenian court, how long did a trial last? What role did the jury have? How did it vote? What sorts of penalties were prescribed? The conduct of jurors would seem shocking by today's standards, but their frequent cheering and jeering were strictly professional.

30 min
Macedonia, North of Mount Olympus

39: Macedonia, North of Mount Olympus

Returning to the theme of imperialism, you investigate Macedonia in the age of Philip II and Alexander III, also known as "the Great." Before Philip's reign, Macedonia was a backwater with a weak army and no centralized rule, beset by frequent attacks by neighboring tribes.

32 min
Philip II—

40: Philip II—"Greatest of the Kings of Europe"

How did Philip become the greatest of the kings of Europe in his time according to one ancient historian? You follow his early steps to consolidate Macedonia's position by a combination of diplomacy, deceit, and a series of canny political marriages.

30 min
Philip II and Macedonian Imperialism

41: Philip II and Macedonian Imperialism

This lecture surveys Philip's war with Athens over Amphipolis and his involvement in the Third Sacred War, both of which he used as stepping stones into central Greek affairs. At their conclusion he had become a significant force in the politics of the region.

33 min
Greece Conquered—The End of Greek Autonomy

42: Greece Conquered—The End of Greek Autonomy

As Philip tightened the screws on the Greek states, the Athenian orator Demosthenes worked tirelessly to discredit him. The tensions reached a peak at the battle of Chaeronea in 338. Philip's victory put Greece under Macedonian control, and Greek autonomy came to an end.

32 min
Philip's Assassination and Legacy

43: Philip's Assassination and Legacy

Trace Philip's reign down to his assassination in 336, focusing on his incorporation of the Greek states into the Macedonian Empire, his plan to invade the Persian Empire, and his controversial seventh marriage that led to an open clash with his son Alexander.

32 min
Alexander the Great—Youth, Early Kingship

44: Alexander the Great—Youth, Early Kingship

For all Alexander's brilliance as a general and strategist, was he truly great? Begin your investigation of history's most celebrated conqueror, getting at the man behind the myth. Alexander had ample motives to wish his father dead, and circumstantial evidence suggests that he was involved in Philip's assassination.

31 min
Alexander as General

45: Alexander as General

Alexander enormously expanded Philip's foreign ventures. This lecture recounts his three major battles that captured the entire Persian Empire: Granicus, Issus, and Gaugamela. All were won against great odds. Alexander spread his conquests as far as present-day Pakistan before his army mutinied.

32 min
Alexander as King

46: Alexander as King

Exploring Alexander's claim to greatness, you look at his increasingly erratic behavior during his conquests, evident when he used the excuse of two apparent attempts on his life to get rid of vocal opponents. You also consider the accuracy of the view that he was an idealist.

31 min
Alexander as Man—and God?

47: Alexander as Man—and God?

One of the most controversial aspects of Alexander's reign is whether he considered himself divine. This lecture explores his self-identification as son of Zeus, his desire to be worshiped as a god, and the attitude of his court and army toward this very un-Greek-like behavior.

32 min
Beyond the Classical—The Greeks and Us

48: Beyond the Classical—The Greeks and Us

The final lecture sums up the course by examining several questions: What happened to Greece after the Classical period? What has been the role of Greek civilization in the Western tradition? And what lessons have we learned from the Greek experience with democracy, law, and empire?

31 min

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