History

Women in Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, part 1

Diogenes Laertius wrote in Greek in the third century CE. The piece of writing that has survived is his Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, a compilation of biographies. His anecdotes led me to read further, and to try to identify all the women Diogenes mentioned, leading to this series of blogposts. This first one presents some general points about Diogenes’ writing. Read more

The Punic Wars | Part I

The Punic wars were a series of conflicts encompassing 43 years of war over more than a century, from 265 BCE to 146 BCE. They led to the Roman Republic controlling much of the Mediterranean world, to the ruin of a great North African civilization, and to many modern people speaking a Latin-based or Latin-influenced language. Our main source for information about the Punic Wars is the historian Polybius Read more

Debt in Ancient Athens and Solon’s Reforms

As long as people have been trading with each other, they have created debt. And as long as people have created debt, some have been unable to pay what they owe. This was as true in ancient Athens as it is today. Before about the 6th century BCE in Attica, among a population consisting primarily of peasants and small farmers, borrowing occurred among members of local communities. Read more

Everlasting Glory in Athens

"But that which brought most delightful adornment to Athens, and the greatest amazement to the rest of mankind; that which alone now testifies for Hellas that her ancient power and splendor, of which so much is told, was no idle fiction,—I mean his construction of sacred edifice…(Athens) should apply her abundance to such works as, by their completion, will bring her everlasting glory" Read more