History

Hēraklēs and the Sea

During his numerous and formidable adventures Hēraklēs had to face the sea and to brave storms. In this post we are exploring some of Hēraklēs’ maritime journeys. He assembled large fleets for distant expeditions. While on one of his labors he also set up the Pillars of Hēraklēs, very far away from Greece. And he traveled in the golden cup-boat of Helios. Read more

Paintings at Delphi

After we finish reading the Iliad, we might wonder what happens in Troy after Hector’s funeral. We have parts of what happens next in the Odyssey, in tragedies, and in fragments and plot-summaries. However, in his Description of Greece Pausanias writes an interesting description of a painting in Delphi which depicted “Troy taken and the Greeks sailing away," Read more

Scylax

"There is a river, Indus, second of all rivers in the production of crocodiles. Darius, desiring to know where this Indus empties into the sea, sent ships manned by Scylax, a man of Caryanda, and others whose word he trusted" So Herodotus introduces this voyage of exploration undertaken on behalf of the Persian empire. Read more

Fast and sacred ships

The sacred triremes that are the subject of this post are the 5th and 4th century ships of Athens. They served in diplomatic missions, in sacred embassies, and took part in the boat races during festivals. They also served as scout and messenger ships, delivering official state messages, and when present in the line of battle they carried the admiral of the fleet. The Paralos was the most well-known. Read more

Founders of democracy unsung | Part 3: Lack of historical recognition

Cleisthenes and Thrasybulus played important roles in the independence of Athens, and its existence as a democracy. Yet their roles were downplayed by succeeding generations. Athens indeed spun the murder of the tyrant Hipparchus by a pair of disgruntled lovers into a fight against tyranny, but neglected Cleisthenes’ place in the true origins of the democracy. The citizens of the polis welcomed the freedom and democracy restored by Thrasybulus, but… Read more