History

Founders of democracy unsung | Part 2: Re-establishment of democracy by Thrasybulus

Thrasybulus played an instrumental part as a general in Athens’ victories in the “Ionian War” in 411–407 BCE and the (temporary) return of Alcibiades to Athens. But in 404 BCE, the Spartan general Lysander imposed an oligarchic government on Athens, known as the government of “The Thirty Tyrants” and Thrasybulus was among the many Athenian democrats who fled their tyranny. In 403 he began to organize a rebellion against them. Read more

Founders of democracy unsung | Part 1: Cleisthenes’ democracy

In ancient Athens, the founder of its democracy, Cleisthenes son of Megacles, and the re-founder of the democracy after the terror of the “Thirty”, Thrasybulus son of Lycus, were barely celebrated by their fellow citizens, if at all, and then their names were allowed to fall into obscurity. In part 1 we start by looking at Cleisthenes' democracy. Read more

The improvised craft

The Homeric Odyssey takes some time to describe to us the construction of an improvised craft that will carry Odysseus on an eighteen-day journey from Ogygia. The story tells how Kalypsō selects the trees. Odysseus then cuts the trees and axes them smooth. He bores holes in them. He configures them into a raft that is as wide “as the beam of a large vessel.” We compare the description of… Read more

The Idealized Ship | Part 2: Huge, hollow and swallowing

In this section we will consider the ships that are described as megakētēs [μεγακήτης], usually translated as "huge", "hollow", and "gaping."The word is made up of two parts, mega [μέγα-, “great”], and an adjective form of kētos [κῆτος, “any sea-monster”]. A related word is kētōeis [κητώεις], which means “full of hollows”. Read more