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Questions tagged [ancient-greece]

Ancient Greece was a civilization centred around the Greek peninsula, that lasted from the 8th century BC to the end of the classical antiquity era (ca. 600 AD).

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2answers
203 views

Where is it recorded that Spartan common meals were followed by a recounting of noble deeds?

I'm having trouble finding a particular historical reference. In On Manly Courage: A Study of Plato's Laches, on page 57, the author implies that Spartan common meals were followed by the recounting ...
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Why were Hoplite shields circular?

why were Hoplite shields circular? Given that humans are much taller than they are wide even taking into account that the shield has to protect the person to their left the horizontal to vertical ...
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Fermat's statement about the ancients: How serious was he?

I am extremely interested in the idea that there was a period in time when, at least in the west, people looked upon the ancients (Romans/Greeks) as possessors of wisdom that had been lost. Fermat ...
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Were Alexander the Great and Hephaestion lovers?

Were Alexander the Great and Hephaestion lovers? Since there are no historical shreds of evidence that Alexander regarded Hephaestion as someone more than a friend, are the modern claims only based ...
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Was Lampsacus a Phocaean or Milesian colony?

Lampsacus was an ancient Greek polis situated on the eastern side of the Hellespont (modern Dardanelles) . The English Wikipedia page describes the city as of Milesian AND Phocaean foundation, hinting ...
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What was the primary motivation for a historical figure like Xenophon to create an extensive collection of written material?

Xenophon of Athens created a large amount of written material even by today's standards. Did he create this work knowing it would be read by future generations, or was it for his own satisfaction? I ...
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Was there a continuity in architecture from the Minoan civilisation to classical Greece?

The Minoans used columns in their palaces and the Mycenaeans used columns in their megarons which were inspired by the Minoan column, but were the columns of classical Greek temples and buildings a ...
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142 views

How long before someone was declared dead in ancient Greece?

In The Odyssey, everyone in Ithaca - except Penelope - assumes that since most surviving Greeks returned home shortly after the end of the Trojan War, Odysseus is dead. This legitimises a group of men,...
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Did the Babylonians know the Pythagorean Theorem before Pythagoras formulated it?

Came across a clip on TV from an (unidentified) BBC documentary showcasing the Plimpton 322 tablet, written in cuneiform c.1800 BC (1200 years before Pythagoras). The narrator says the tablet was ...
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Troy: How could a city be built on top of an older one?

As far as I know, archaeological excavation discovered several layers of the city of Troy, each one built on top of the ruins of the older ones. I just can imagine how that might have happened. One ...
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Were the ancient Greeks very poor compared to the ancient Persians?

Today, one way modern scholars determine civilization is by it's material prosperity and consumption levels. To be prosperous is for the man of today a good thing and we consider poverty in a nation ...
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295 views

What did the ancient Eastern world think of the ancient Greeks?

The opinions of the Greeks the Eastern world which notably included the Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Indians and Egyptians are known to all. They elaborated at length through their literature ...
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Where and when has Thucydides been studied?

Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian war between Sparta and Athens, of which he was a contemporary and participating general, is studied still today in war academies and by political scientists ...
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In Classical Athens, what did the portico of the archon basileus look like?

In Plato's Euthyphro, Socrates and his titular interlocutor meet at the portico of the archon basileus - or chief archon. I've been looking for an image of the portico but had no luck so far, and am ...
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370 views

Why did Ancient Greek city-states fight each other and how did they morally justify it? [closed]

I'm curious about why the different city-states in Ancient Greece fought war against each other and how did their leaders motivate their people to take up arms, leave their families and farms and go ...
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Was the ancient Pontic city of Athenai (Ἀθῆναι) related to Athens?

The city of Athenai (Ἀθῆναι, modern Pazar, Turkey), in some contexts referred to as Pontic Athens, situated on the Pontic shore about halfway between Trapezus (modern Trabzon, Turkey) and Bathys Limen ...
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Were the 35,000 helots freed after Plataea and were they then Spartan citizens?

What happened to the 35,000 helots that fought at Plataea? Were they made Spartan citizens? I just felt this might have been disruptive to Spartan society. I've checked Wikipedia, Google.. ...
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Are there any Midas portraits from the ancient era?

This is not strictly a history question, but I hope you can help me: I'm looking for original ancient art depicting king Midas (Ideally a mosaic, but anything will work, as long as it is from the "...
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Did ancient Greeks harden steel weapons?

Let's limit this question to the Classical period (c. 5th-4th centuries BC) Did Greeks harden their iron swords, spearheads, arrowheads etc. before putting them into use? Was hardening technology ...
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Why did Athenian philosophers praise Spartan culture and laws, which would preclude philosophers like themselves?

Laconophilia was near universal among the important Athenian philosophers: Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and his followers - all praised Spartan culture and its laws, even after Sparta fell from glory ...
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What are canonical sources about fifth century BCE Athens?

I am looking for a history book on fifth century BCE Athens, preferably with emphasis on culture and the daily lives of the Athenians. I found recommendations of books about Ancient Greece in general,...
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Where did Cimon spend his time while in exile?

The Athenian statesman Cimon was ostracised from Athens for ten years (461-451 BC), after the Athenian expedition led by him and sent to help Sparta during the helot uprisings was dismissed by the ...
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What is the latest case of employment of Cretan archers in Antiquity?

It is known that Cretan archers were widely used (presumably as mercenaries) across Mediterranean by Greek armies and were occasionally included in Roman armies of Republic and of Imperial period. I ...
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Why does Alexander the Great call Greeks free men while Persians slaves?

So there seems to be this theme of Greeks being "free men" with Alexander the Great saying "we are free men, and they are slaves" My understanding was that this mean the Greek lived in democratic/ ...
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Why are ancient pottery items so well preserved?

I have a general question which may sound naive: archeologists eg in Ancient Greece take a lot of information from preserved pottery they found. What physical attributes of ceramic items made of clay ...
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How was Herodotus able to get accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae?

How was Herodotus able to get accounts of the last stand of Thermopylae if the entire rear guard died alongside Leonidas? It is said he recorded the last words of the Spartans "stranger go tell Sparta ...
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What is the earliest depiction of a crane?

Various sources on the internet - such as Crane (machine), A History Of The Crane and The sky is the limit: human powered cranes and lifting devices - state that the Ancient Greeks were the inventors ...
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125 views

When were the first heating apparatus used for bathing?

If in the Odyssey they already washed themselves with warm water prepared on fire, why didn’t the athletes in the loutrons of the palaestrae do the same? They used cold water, which is ineffective for ...
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Cultural understanding of Penelope's suitors

In the Odyssey, Penelope is courted by 108 suitors, who camp out in her house/royal court indefinitely, behaving badly, while she delays them. I'm having trouble understanding the historical and ...
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How many javelins would a Thracian Peltast carry into battle?

According to the Wikipedia page on Thracian Peltasts, they carried several javelins with them. I am just wondering how many could they realistically carry into battle. Also, would they run back to ...
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What does “setting up a trophy” mean in ancient Greece 5th century B.C.?

I'm reading Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War and time and a gain armies are said to "set up a trophy" on a site. What does that mean? What was concretely done at the site where a trophy was set up? ...
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Do we have any information on what the homes of Aristotle or Plato would have looked like?

I wonder because of how influential and famous they were at their time, immediately following, and effectively forever after that (with the exception of Aristotle's slight dark age of having his ...
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Mass distribution of the Macedonian Sarissa pike

As a physics student, I am currently writing an independent assignment about applications of continuum mechanics (the study of waves, deformation, and stress in objects), in this assignment, I have ...
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300 views

What happened to the coins In ancient Greece and Rome when monarchs changed?

Were there any instances in the ancient periods of Greece and Rome, where the succeeding monarchs/state leaders refused to acknowledge the coins issued by the preceding monarch, i.e., decreed the ...
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Are there any records of javelin throwing techniques from antiquity? For example, ancient Greece, such as peltasts?

I can find plenty of information of contemporary javelin throwing techniques, but I am interested to know if there are surviving records of javelin throwing, particularly from ancient Greece, and ...
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1answer
425 views

Is my comparison on the significance of black and red pottery plausible?

I am writing a paper on 8th-3rd century Greece. I am trying the distinguish the differences between black and red figure pottery. Black figure pottery very commonly illustrated the mingling of ...
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How were knee injuries treated in Ancient Greece?

Today knee injuries, for example ACL tears*, are a pretty common injury, especially with fighters (Judo, Wrestling, BJJ, MMA, …). Since the Greeks practiced a lot of wrestling and pankration, knee ...
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Why can't people on the back of the phalanx “reorient” their shield?

What do men in the middle of a phalanx contribute? says that phalanx are vulnerable from behind So what does people in phalanx formation when they get smacked from behind? They just keep pointing ...
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What do men in the middle of a phalanx contribute?

I understand how the Phalanx can have an almost impenetrable front, and I understand the rear and sides may have to defend against an attack like the front - but what purpose do men in the middle ...
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Were myopic slaves more valuable in ancient Greece?

When reading on nearsightedness I came across the following passage: We only have to remember how valuable a myopic slave was in ancient Greece, as a rare person who preserved his ability to read ...
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What do historians mean when they say “divinity” in the context of Ancient Greece?

I was going to find sources for the Wikipedia article on Thales of Miletus, since the section on divinity has almost none, I was wondering what "divinity" even means in the context of Ancient Greece. ...
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Why didn't the Persians create good infantry units?

The defeat at Marathon, Plataea, march of the 10.000, and the hold up at Thermopylae really suggest the need for some heavy infantry that can fight on par with the Greek Phalanx. Like how much of ...
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How did the Greeks keep a prytaneum alight in storms?

In ancient Greece, prytaneums were present in every city, village and state. They were lit with fire from the place in which the people settling came from. It was tended to by a leader of the ...
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What is the difference between “diallektes” and “aesymnetes”?

The terms "diallektes" and "aesymnetes" were there in Ancient Greece as tyrant-like positions. An aesymnetes or diallektes was chosen by a group of people or somehow by entire population in order to ...
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How accurate is Nietzsche's account of the birth of tragedy?

In his first book, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music, Nietzsche claims that tragic drama, as a practice, emerged from an originally solely-musical chorus. First people sang story-songs, ...
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Fat jokes in ancient Greek comedies

I'm looking for examples of jokes poking fun at fat people in ancient Greek comedies. So far from my research I have been unable to find anything. Were there any such jokes or was being overweight ...
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Did Greeks piss in their theatres?

Are there any historical references to this being done? Either for fun, as revenge of some kind or for any other reason? Did they have toilet facilities available near or inside the theaters, or even ...
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How would ancient Greeks have exercised?

I am very aware that they boxed and wrestled, but neither of these will pack on the necessary muscle to look like the statues or paintings they made. I understand that they probably exaggerated on ...
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Where did Cicero talk about Plato's Menexenus Funeral Oration?

I'm writing a paper on Aspasia--ancient Greek woman rhetorician--and in Plato's Menexenus he attributes a funeral oration to her. I found references in a couple of places to Cicero saying that the ...
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How did ancient Greek musicians tune their instruments?

I am not a musical person, in fact I am trying to learn the guitar now which sort of made me think of this question. How did the Greeks, or any ancient peoples, tune their musical instruments? From ...