History

Aegina and its enmity with Athens

"...this is the island that was once actually mistress of the sea and disputed with the Athenians for the prize of valor in the sea fight at Salamis at the time of the Persian War…" Aegina, an island off the coast of Attica, became an important trading center. Later, a rivalry developed between the island and Athens. In this post, we look at some of the texts that describe this… Read more

The Classic Ship | Part 3: The Battle of Salamis

"Each captain drove his ship straight against some other ship... When ... our ships had been crowded in the narrows, ... and each crashed its bronze prow against each of its own line, they splintered their whole bank of oars." In 480 BCE, King Xerxes proceeded to Athens, after his victory at Thermopylae, and his naval forces moved southward for the final stroke. Athens, a young but powerful democracy, and… Read more

The Classic Ship | Part 2: The Battle of Artemision

The Greeks had prepared themselves for the Persian invasion by forming the Hellenic League. Sparta and Athens took a leading role in joining together 70 of the 700 city-states, many of which were still technically at war with each other. They were planning to stop the Persians that came by land at the narrow pass of Thermopylae. To prevent the Persians bypassing Thermopylae by sea, the Athenian and Allied navies… Read more

Law and Courts in Ancient Athens: A Brief Overview

When we investigate how the law and the courts of Classical Greece worked, the law of ancient Athens provides most of our source material. This overview will therefore focus on Athenian law in the fifth and fourth centuries, BCE. Before that time, disputes were adjudicated by officials called archons. The archons may have heard testimony from parties and witnesses, may have questioned them, and perhaps the parties were allowed to… Read more