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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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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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How was gravity explained in Ancient Greek and Roman times? [migrated]

Gravity is of course something that we can all observe. Stuff falls towards the ground. But not everything: some things like steam or smoke defy this force and instead float up. During Ancient Greek ...
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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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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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160 views

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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662 views

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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1answer
242 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
188 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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498 views

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, Platea, march of the 10 000, and the hold up at Thermoplea really suggest the need for some heavy infantry that can fight on par with the Greek Phalanx. Like how much of your ...
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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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1answer
384 views

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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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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Preventing slaves from running off in Classical Greece

I was once again reading the Old Oligach’s rant on slaves and how good they supposedly had it. if it were customary for a slave (or metic or freedman) to be struck by one who is free, you would ...
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Did the Persian Immortals instill fear in their Greek adversaries?

The Persian Immortals were an elite combat unit during the First Persian Empire, also known as the Achaemenid Empire. They were known for being at ten thousand strong at all times for which they ...
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Ancient Greek religious monument with genitalia—why?

Around the Acropolis in Athens, there are lots of marble monuments like the one below. I don't recall whether I read on a plaque, or whether it was my own inference, that these were installed by ...
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2answers
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How would a Spartan have held his shield?

I am astonished at the weight of a Spartan shield, which I have read would have weighed 30 lbs (13.5 kg). This is, of course, extremely heavy for most people. Ergo, it raised the question for me: ...
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1answer
337 views

Pythagoras: sinfulness of eating beans

I have read some of Pythagoras' commandments; they are strange. Any idea why he considered that eating beans was a sin? The book from which I took the data is 'history of western philosophy' by ...
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2answers
301 views

Was the Persian army dependent on cornel wood?

In the following book I found the passing statement that cornel wood was used by the Persian cavalry for their javelins: Nelson, Richard. Armies of the Greek and Persian Wars 500 to 350 BC, 2015. p30. ...
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Difference between modern and Ancient Greece democracy [closed]

Many times is read that Ancient Greece and present democracy are different concepts. I suppose democracy in the present can be defined as a government in which the average of citizen ideas are taken ...
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What do we know about Archimedes text “On Sphere-Making”?

I originally put this question on Mythology SE, but was suggested I move it here. I was doing some mindless research and came across a Wikipedia page on lost works and went down to the classical ...
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1answer
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Why did Cretan archers flourish?

This question concerns why Cretan archers were so prolific and well regarded during Antiquity. As seen in Xenophon's Anabasis Cretan archers often were hired to serve as mercenaries in Greece and ...
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2answers
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Why did Cleon say this in the Mytilenian Debate?

I was reading Cleon's argument in the Mytilenian debate, and feel that I understand most of his argument. However, I don't understand why Cleon would say the following (emphasis mine): Let them ...
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1answer
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How were documents written in Plato's time?

I'm writing an essay at the moment and I rather thoughtlessly wrote down that they used books. But it seems to me that this might not be the case and that books might be a relatively new invention. ...
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Why were harvest times in Cyrenaica earlier than in Greece in antiquity?

In The Corrupting Sea (2000), the authors state that Cyrenaica's harvest time was "a month earlier than that of most of Greece and well before that of the Black Sea" (p. 72), and because of this the ...
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Did germophobia exist in classical antiquity?

I know nothing of the cleaning habits of the Greeks, but about Rome Mary Beard (2015) says that doctors knew that going to the public baths with an open wound would likely result in gangrene, so it ...
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What did people in 13th century England know about Greek mythology?

I understand this may depend on various factors, but I am interested to find out whether many/some/any people in 13th century England would have knowledge of the stories out of Greek mythology. ...
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Is “Homer's Stone” really, Homer's stone? [closed]

If you are of the school of thought which denies or seriously doubts the historical existence of Homer, then this question is probably not for you. However, if you are of the school of though which ...
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What were the ethnic backgrounds of the slaves in Ancient Greece?

When studying Ancient Greek History, one can often come across the historical fact that slavery did exist in the Greek world 2000 plus years ago. There were the Helots in Ancient Sparta and of course ...
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1answer
218 views

What coin/pendant is this and is it worth any money?

This was found a long time ago by my neighbour who has now passed it on to me. It has NAX IOIA on the coin with what I believe to be a kings or gods face on one side and some grapes and vines on the ...
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1answer
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Valid source of Greek historical periods , in a URL [closed]

I am writing a paper and I have to include all the historical eras of Greece as a pre-defined "vocabulary" for a metadata schema. This vocabulary has to be online and be accessible via a URL. So I am ...
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1answer
428 views

Did Zoroastrianism influence some Ancient Greek Philosophers?

Ancient Greek Philosophy, was never monolithic, that is to say, the diversity of thought represented in the Greek Philosophers is well documented and well chronicled. However, did the Persian ...
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0answers
218 views

Did the Ancient Greeks not usually carry money around?

I've heard before that the Ancient Greeks would carry money around in their mouths, due to their lack of pockets. However, I have just come across this passage in Diogenes Laertius Book IV Ch.3: ...
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Couldn't an army of archers easily defeat Macedonian style phalanxes?

At that time of military history, it seems the phalanx was the accepted supreme military style that won battles. So countries tried to outdo each to see who could do the phalanx best. Since archers ...
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2answers
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Could Magna Graeca have expanded beyond the Mediterranean sea region? [closed]

Between the 700's-500's BC/BCE, the Ancient Greeks sailed to and founded many strategically valuable towns and cities in lands across the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions; (the majority of these ...
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1answer
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What was the largest ancient theatre?

If I was to be more specific, can anyone name the largest ancient Greco-Roman theater-(excluding the Roman amphitheaters, such as the Coliseum in Rome and Verona, as well as the amphitheater in ...
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1answer
341 views

Were there any Ancient Greek theatres not built on a hill/slope?

I was wondering the other day whether there were any Ancient Greek theatres that weren't built on the side of a hill. Normally we associate them with having a curved, raised seating area. The purposes ...