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PartI- Egypt
Part II - Greece
Part III - Rome
Part IV -  Bridges

ACT I:  


This Internet Book visited
27,000,000,000 (rounded) 

The PREMIER JOURNEY to The Ancient World, weaving together  the Peoples of those lands and civilizations and the way they lived and - their thoughts, their hopes, their dreams, their lives.

What is the Ancient World?   Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer, Nubia, Persia, Byzantium, Turkey?  Or is it Assyrians, Chaldeans, Hebrews, Hittites, Akkadians, Etruscans, Minoans?  Is it Alexander, Plato, Virgil, Socrates, Hammurabi, Aristotle, Nefertiti, the Pharaohs, Emperors, Caesar, Cleopatra, Sargon, Akhenaton, the Black Athena, Homer? Or is it the dinosaurs, Stonehenge, hunters, slaves, women, rulers, soldiers, or the Iliad, the Aeneid, the Odyssey, the Olympics? Is it found in the ruins, temples, forums, pyramids or in the remnants of ordinary life?  Explore through this Web Book and the Online College Course.

  width= Ancient Civilization did not begin in what we think of as the West. It did not start in Paris or Berlin or London or Prague or Brussels or Stockholm. It grew out of the Mediterranean breezes, the sun and desert of Northern Africa, the Persian and West Asian lands. To study Ancient Civilization is to travel - across parts of Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to India. It is a linking voyage, not a reducing trip. It CONNECTS peoples, ideas, patterns, developments, organizations, wars, religions, art, architecture, food and drink. It is a human endeavor about a human story.

I am an historian, not a classicist.  And historians and classicists are not the same.  They focus and work differently.  But the challenge of it all is that understanding can only come by standing on the mountain and looking at the parts in the whole. An historian of this time (from the beginning of time through Egypt, Greece, to the fall of Rome) must be willing and eager to reach out and know that all knowledge is important. I built this Ancient Civilization arena for people - for students, faculty, and ordinary folks who think it is fascinating and can be just plain fun. Just like our lives, in this Arena there is much seriousness but also much joy and animation.

And the wonderful range of things to think about? Culture, archaeology, art, music, theater, books and writing, language, philosophy, politics, peace and war, life and living. Psychology, sociology, history, geometry and astronomy and biology, building and architecture and engineering. Economics and geography, women and men and children, farming and town planning, rivers and deserts and mountains, gods and goddesses. Birth and death, magic and mystery, aspiration and despair, palaces and mud huts, the freedom to rule empires, and the chains of everlasting slavery. Poetry, logic, weaponry, sports, courage and cowardice, love and hate, and genius.

Return to Master Core - Amazing Ancient World

ACT I of the Western Civilization Series

Part I


Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer, Akkadia, Assyria, Hittites, Hebrews,
Etruscans, Petra, Turkey

Part II

Part III


Non-Fiction, Historical Mysteries, and Novels

A Comprehensive Internet Book and Special Course

A Comprehensive Internet Book and Special Course
The Spectacular Western Civilization Series

Hist. 4A: Act I - The Ancient World; Hist. 4B: Act II - Medieval to the French Revolution, Hist. 4C: Act III -  The Modern World

Foothill College Online Information

Revised periodically,-2011-2012
Created for Internet Explorer


The Web teems with the richness of the Ancient World.  So many wonderfully conceived sites representing dedication, scholarship, diversity, determination and exceptional creativity.  At least 400 lists exist for the ancient area. But, what good, I wondered, is yet another list. So this Ancient Arena is explained each step of the way. By looking through the material in the Chapters on this Page, one can attain a general overview of the place, the time, the subject matter, the humans. Then the searcher can move to the areas of interest or even fascination - and begin the in-depth "clicking" and traveling and thinking.  My pledge to the voyager is simple: I place here only those sites and destinations in which I have spent time and thought. I have searched through each one with care.


The splendor, the sacrifices, the superstars, the sound and fury, the symbolism - and the men primarily and their slaves who made this possible. Here in this mere spot of land, smaller than some of the states from which we come - extended periodically by stunning conquest, lies a central core to the shaping and future of the Western human and those earthlings who are impacted by these traditions and values.


Wonderful site. Audio narrations, images, fables, Search.  Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Grimms Fairy Tales with much more mythology and stories. . "Suddenly we are faced with such morals as Clumsy Jesting Is No Joke, A Man Is Known By The Company He Keeps, and Union Gives Strength. It's the place to go when you want sharp insights, gentle humor, and lessons in life. . . Come in and enjoy the ageless wisdom of Aesop and his Fables."
THE REMARKABLE BRITISH MUSEUM SITE - Must not be missed!  Start here.
The Ancient Greek World
Covers art and architecture, history, war, olympics, geography, mythology, people, culture and society.
Ancient Olympics: A SPECIAL PLACE
Almost endless site about ancient olympics. Tour of Ancient Olympia, the contests, olympic spirit, ancient sports.
Archimedes Home Page - SPECIAL "STUFF"
Archimedean miscellanea, more interesting because of information on subjects including siege of Syracuse, the Archimedes' screw, solids, spheres, coins.
Last Days of Socrates: A SPECIAL SITE - His "voices."
Dr. J's Special Greece - Very knowledgeabe faculty
And thenThis Great Library's history


For Macedonia, see Alexander
Illustrated Isle of Delos
Knossos - The Palace of King Midas
Use as a base for Minoan Civilization tour.
The Parthenon:  Core Page
Setting, Architecture Orders, Metopes Pediments, Ancient Authors.  "When work began on the Parthenon in 447 BC, the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. Work on the temple continued until 432; the Parthenon, then, represents the tangible and visible efflorescence of Athenian imperial power, unencumbered by the depradations of the Peloponnesian War. Likewise, it symbolizes the power and influence of the Athenian politician, Perikles, who championed its construction." 
Parthenon Marbles
Lord Elgin, Ambassador to Constantinople stole the Parthenon Marbles 150 years ago. They reside in the British Museum and the British Government will not give them back. The marbles are the famous and original sculpture supervised by Pheidias and commissioned by Pericles. While stealing them, the Elgin folks broke them, sawed them in half. In Britain, treated shabbily, they deteriorated. Very nasty business. Site dedicated to Greek actress and Parliament member who, though now dead, speaks on audio.  As one other site described:  "The request for the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles is not made by the Greek government in the name of the Greek nation or of Greek history. It is made in the name of the cultural heritage of the world and with the voice of the mutilated monument itself, that cries out for its marbles to be returned." Evangelos Venizelos, Greek Minister of Culture. " Far away from their native land, the Parthenon Marbles have been situated at the British Museum.  There are continuous negotiations between the Greek government, asking for their return, and the British government who, together with the Trustees of the British Museum, have refused to do this."  What are the Parthenon Marbles, Pictures, History?   The ELEMENTS OF THE PARTHENON CONFLICT HERE:
Getting to know Rhodes - The Third Largest Greek Island
What I like about Rhodes is the mixture of historical time frames, the long walk around the long wall, and the beautiful Mediterranean in the distance.
Santorini and Its Volcano
Skip momentarily the volcano and the Atlantis myths.  What is special to me is one of the purest, most scientific, non-fantasy excavation sites in the Mediterranean.  Yes, the views are lovely. Yes, tourists flock here.  For history and wondering, the excavation is essential. Santorini is an volcanic island group belonging to the Cyclads. One of the active volcanoes in this area (last eruption of Methana 250 BC, Santorini 1950, Nisiros 1888). "It seems probable that this early eruption gave birth to the myth of Atlantis, which Plato describes as a rich and proud land that was sunk into the sea when it attracted the anger of Poseidon and Zeus. Major support for this hypothesis given by sensational archeological discoveries as they found underneath the layer of pumice,  a rich Cycladic civilization of the late bronze age (pottery, houses with colorful and lively paintings and a highly developed town) predating the eruption that destroyed the island."

Ancient Sparta:  Take a trip and combine present and past.
Sparta Reconsidered
Sparta is most commonly known today as the militaristic rival of "enlightened" Athens in ancient Greece.  It is remembered for its military accomplishments—particularly the heroic defence under King Leonidas of the Pass at Thermopylae against the Persian Invasion in 480 BC and for its crushing defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War.  Images of harsh discipline, a merciless emphasis on courage and a society lacking art, literature and culture predominate in popular literature and non-specialist education.  And from the British Museum.
Everything Spartan, Lakonian and Messenian
Politics and Laws, Religion, Women, poetry, art, clothing, entertainment, cuisine. Sanctuary), Menelaion, the archaeological museum.
Sparta - Ancient Greece
"It's hard for textbooks to say anything nice about the Spartans. Take up any world history textbook and read; you'll find that the Spartans were "an armed camp," "brutal," "culturally stagnant," "economically stagnant," "politically stagnant," and other fun things. The reality, of course, lies somewhere behind the value judgements. Greek history does, after all, come down to us through the eyes of the other major city-state in Greece, Athens, a bitter enemy and rival of Sparta. The two represent diametrically opposed concepts of the Greek polis and its relations with other city-states; and concepts of the individual's relationship to the state. Despite all the rhetoric in Athens and in the European historical tradition, keep in mind that the Spartans believed they lived in the best of all Greek worlds, and many of their Greek neighbors agreed with them. The rivalry, then, between Sparta and Athens, which would erupt into a disastrous war for Athens, was also an ideological and cultural rivalry. The single, overwhelming fact of Spartan history is the Messenean War."
History of Sparta - Detailed and excellent on the Spartan Experience
History of Sparta from World History
Life Sciences Unusual and Creative History
Leonidas King of Sparta - Leonidas and the Battle at Thermopylae
"Leonidas was a 5th century B.C. Spartan military king who bravely led a small force of Greeks -- mostly Spartan (the famous 300), but also Thespians and Thebans -- against the much larger Persian army of Xerxes, at the pass of Thermopylae, in 480 B.C. during the Persian Wars. In his book on the Persian Wars, Greco-Persian Wars, Peter Green suggests only the Thebans and Thespians accompanied Leonidas into battle because they were the only other Greeks that volunteered."
Rise to Power of Sparta in the Peloponnesian Wars
How Sparta Became the Most Powerful Greek Polis During the Peloponnesian Wars.  "Earlier democratic tendencies into a governmental form we might recognize as democracy."
Kings of Sparta
The Spartan Military - Fascinating detailed study
Spartan Government and Politics - Extensive Analysis 
Ancient Sparta:  Materials for the Study of
This site has been taken down but what this student wrote is good.
"A story about a Spartan boy who, in order to conceal a fox which he had stolen, hid it beneath his cloak and allowed the fox to gnaw him rather than let the theft be revealed. He died of the wounds. If he had been discovered, the disgrace would not have been in the stealing, but in allowing it to be detected. The boy's acting illustrates the main purpose of the Spartan educational system - to produce men capable of showing such bravery as soldiers."

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes, Lighthouse of Alexandria.


Aegean Prehistory Anthropology
Minoan Civilization
Start here and do not stop.  History, images, pictures.  It is all here. Pre-palace period 2600-1900 BC. First palace period 1900-1700 BC. Second palace period 1700-1380 BC. Post-palace period 1380-1100 BC. Sub-Minoan period 1100-1000 BC. Pictures from Knossos and Minoan Crete (album of click able thumbnails).  Sir Arthur Evans.  
Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean
Outstanding and critical site including early Minoan period, middle Minoan Crete, first palaces, tombs, graves, collapse. Dartmouth College project.
Mycenaean Civilization
"Mycenaean is the term applied to the art and culture of Greece from ca. 1600 to 1100 B.C. The name derives from the site of Mycenae in the Peloponnese, where once stood a great Mycenaean fortified palace. Mycenae is celebrated by Homer as the seat of King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the Trojan War."

The Agora of Athens
Another of Andrew Wilson's remarkable sites. Click on the map and walk around the various monuments.
A Day in Old Athens and the Physical Setting - Go through this site.  It is compelling.
Ancient City of Athens
"Photographic archive of the archaeological and architectural remains of ancient Athens."
Illustrated Athenian Acropolis
Piraeus, the Harbor of Athens - Site Kaput (but the summary left in for Info)
"Piraeus is located 9 km southwest of Athens, overlooking the Martoum Sea, which leads to the Saronic Gulf.  A penisula surrounded by the sea, with three natural harbors. An insignificant settlement through the Minoan Age, but steadily grew in size and importance after 800 BC. Recognizing its strategic value to Athens, the penisula was first fortifed in late 6th century BC by Hippias. Themistocles, Archon at Athens, undertook a major expansion of Piraeus in 493 BC. His goal was to build a naval empire, and he needed the harbors that the Piraeus naturally afforded. Themistocles built over 200 Greek warships (triremes), and later cunningly manuevered his forces to defeat the Persian king Xerxes in the battle of Salamis (479 BC). Piraeus became the naval headquarters of Attica, featuring fortifications, ship sheds, dry docks, storage buildings, and arsenals."
  The Mysterious Fate of the Great Library of Alexandria :   In ancient Egypt, the city and Library of Alexandria was the meeting place where learning, teaching and culture flourished.


Ancient World Cultures: Ancient Greece
Snapshot essay and sites from the AWC pages. Search the whole area for chronology, quizzes.
History of Greece
Covers all stages and areas. Brief but helpful survey.
The Oedipus Page
The Thebian Story and its interpretation.  Test your knowledge on this intriguing site.
The Archaic Age
After the previous 400 years of the Dark Ages, Greece entered into a new age, the Archaic. The small tribes settled down in villages, and city-states (Polis) were built around Greece, each with a similar plan.  The highest point of a city, the acropolis, was always the center for these city-states due to the fact that they are well defended against. The main temples and treasures of the city were housed on the acropolis. The market (agora) would be situated outside the acropolis and further away would be the residential areas of the city.
The Classical Age
"When we think of ancient Greece and the ancient Greeks, it is usually the 5th century which commands our undivided attention. This is the age of the great historians Herodotus and Thucydides, great dramatists like Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus, and the brilliant philosopher Socrates. The 5th century is also regarded as the age when the Greeks embraced their brilliant experiment in direct democracy. Amazing monuments to human achievement were constructed in Athens and other Hellenic city-states. It is an age of human discovery and achievement ¨C an age which proudly bears the name classical.


Greek Drama
Lots of good stuff!
Structure of the Greek Theatre
The Origin of Theatre - How it all began, playwrights, theater format, acting.
The Remarkable Greek Theatre

The Classics Pages :  Comprehensive, Extensive, Alluring
Classics Pages: Euripides' Orestes - Andrew Wilson Translation
Euripides Helen - Another Andrew Wilson page and translation.
History of Greek Architecture
Brief snapshots of important Greek "places" including Delphi, Argos, Parthenon, Korinthos, Temple of Apollo.

Classical Greek Period Sculpture
"How does a block of marble become a work of art? Find out here! Learn about materials and methods used by Greek artists during the period 480-323 BC. Discover the cultural intentions behind classical Greek sculpture. When you think you know it all, try the quiz, and before you leave, don't miss a walk around the virtual Parthenon."


Trade and Barter in Ancient Greece - Scholarly article in many phases of Ancient Greece.
Women and Family in Athenian Law
"Excellent analytical article.  Read all 4 pages.  However, probably not long after the Periclean citizenship law another law was introduced requiring the husband of an adulteress to divorce her under penalty of disfranchisement if he disobeyed, and imposing a ban from all public temples upon the adulteress herself. For the first time the woman would be held personally accountable by the law, and deprived from her privileges in public life if she misbehaved. Thus by turning the spotlight on Athenian mothers the state was determined to protect the legitimacy of children born in Athenian families and make sure that those who receive full citizenship   truly are of citizen stock.
Law Enforcement in Ancient Greece
"After the Dark Ages about 1200 - 900BC and beginning at about 900 BC, the Ancient Greeks had no official laws or punishment. Murders were settled by members of the victim's family who would then go and kill the murderer. This often began endless blood feuds. It was not until the middle of the seventh century BC that the Greeks first began to establish official laws.  Around 620 BC Draco, the, lawgiver, wrote the first known law of Ancient Greece. This law established exile as the penalty for homicide and was the only of the of Draco's laws that Solon kept when he was appointed law giver in bout 594 BC. Solon kept many new laws that fit into the four basic categories of Ancient Greek law.  Foreign slaves were often employed to police the cities of Ancient Greece. Greeks found it uncomfortable to have citizens policing their own fellows citizens. Often Greeks relied on citizens to report crimes. After reporting a crime, if an arrest was made, an informant would receive half of the fine charged to the criminal.  In Athens; criminals were tried before a jury of 200 or more citizens picked at random. Criminals were punished by fines, their right to vote taken away, exile or death. Imprisonment was not typically a punishment.  A Greek community had no police force in the modern sense of the term."

Women and Property in Ancient Athens
Athenian law would not allow a woman to participate in a business transaction involving anything whose value exceeded a sum of money roughly equivalent to that needed to feed a family for five or six days. She could buy groceries at the local market but needed the approval of a male guardian to do anything more.
History of Greek Olive Oil
"Nowhere is the heritage of the olive more entwined with both mythology and the daily lives of a population than in Greece—where full-scale cultivation was first undertaken 4,000 years ago."
The Representation of Prostitutes Versus Respectable Women on Ancient Greek Vases
Great article by Jill Kleinman. "In ancient Greek civilization. . . there were generally three status levels a woman could occupy in ancient Athens: a citizen, a freedwoman, and a slave. Citizen women acquired their citizenship at birth by being born from parents who were also citizens. These women were generally labeled as respectable, and had to follow specific codes regarding public and private behavior. Freedwomen consisted of either former slaves who had acquired their freedom or foreigners from other countries who had settled in Greece to live. Slaves were mostly foreigners who had been captured from conquered areas or were children of slaves. Prostitutes in Athens consisted of both freedwomen and slaves, and most were foreigners. However, even in the profession of prostitution, there was a distinct categorization among these women; there were high and low class prostitutes."
Notes on Roman Prostitutes, Brothels, and Prostitution
Pedagogy and Homosexuality in Ancient Greece: Did Pederasty Corrupt the Youth?
" Ancient Greeks acknowledged homosexuality as an important tool in boys' education. They institutionalized and regulated its practices within their law codes. True, opinions about it varied, but few aspects of any culture have ever stood without debate, both popular and forensic. Their homosexuality, almost universally intergenerational, resembled what modern societies call pederasty rather than homosexuality between adults. It was an anomalous experiment in the education of youth."
Did Rape Exist in Classical Athens?


Trojan War Women.
The Role of Women in Ancient Greek Art
"Investigation of the role of women in the Art of ancient Greece is complex because artists were affected both by the art of the past and the women that they saw around them every day. There is one certainty and that is that the influence of the various roles evident produced some of the greatest art ever. Investigates the various influences that women had and provide information to help understanding of this important area of art."
Greek Weddings
"We can place the wedding ceremony in its context of Greek life and ritual. A Greek girl married young, around 14. Marriage at such a young age was presumed to guarantee virginity, which, until marriage, was thought to be threatened by her lustful youth."
Women in a Man's World: Vignettes on both Greece and Rome.
Women in Sparta
     The picture that emerges is a contradictory one. Spartan and Athenian women lived much of their lives far removed from the men of their societies. Athenian men spent time away discussing politics and philosophy, but when they went home they expected obedience from their wives and no Athenian citizen would ever admit to taking advice from a woman. Spartan men were absent even more; while they were the only ones who held official office everyone acknowledged the influence women had in decision making. Spartan women may have gained freedom from male domination, but they were even less likely to get any emotional support from their marriages. The men of Athens had to be the boss in public, but there was no such social requirement in the home behind closed doors. The overt power of the husband was replaced in Sparta by an unspoken but very real control by the state. Spartan women remained breeding machines whose purpose was to produce the male soldiers the state needed to defend itself against revolt by the Helots. Mother love was replaced by a mother’s pride in her son’s bravery in battle and disgust with any sign of cowardice. “Come home with your shield or upon it” was reputed to be the advice one woman gave her son as he went off to war. She may well have been speaking on behalf of all Spartan women."
    Why were Spartan women more dominant than Athenian women?  Girls were given a good education in both the arts and athletics.  Women were encouraged to develop their intellect.  Women owned more than a third of the land.  There was less difference in age between husbands and wives, and girls in Sparta married at a later age than their sisters in Athens.  Husbands spent most of their time with other men in the military barracks; since the men were rarely home, the women were free to take charge of almost everything outside of the army.  Mothers reared their sons until age 7 and then society took over. Fathers played little or no role in child care. "
Xenophon on the Spartans
"Lycurgus ...,considering that the PRODUCTION OF CHILDREN WAS THE NOBLEST DUTY OF THE FREE, he enacted ...that the female should practice bodily exercise no less than the male sex...He took from the men the liberty of marrying when each of them pleased, and appointed that they should contract marriages only when they were in full bodily vigor, deeming this injunction also conducive to producing excellent offspring... An old man should introduce to his wife whatever man in the prime of life he admired for his bodily and mental qualities, so that she might have children by him."
Women in Athens and Sparta
"The classical Greeks were male-centric, and the public role of women was quite diminished. In Athens only men could vote, inherit property, and take legal action. Women were confined to their homes, where, with the help of female slaves, they managed the household and raised children. Boys were educated in private schools from the ages of six to fourteen, but girls did not receive education outside the household. Sue Blundell notes that the Greeks believed that women needed “intercourse and pregnancies” to open up their bodies “to create the unobstructed space that is the mark of a fully-operational female,” so the Athenians generally married off their daughters shortly after they reached puberty, moving them from the protection of their fathers to that of their husbands." 
Sparta vs Athens Women
"The picture that emerges is a contradictory one.  Spartan and Athenian women lived much of their lives far removed from the men of their societies.  Athenian men spent time away discussing politics and philosophy, but when they went home they expected obedience from their wives and no Athenian citizen would ever admit to taking advice from a woman.  Spartan men were absent even more; while they were the only ones who held official office everyone acknowledged the influence women had in decision making.  Spartan women may have gained freedom from male domination, but they were even less likely to get any emotional support from their marriages.  The men of Athens had to be the boss in public, but there was no such social requirement in the home behind closed doors.  The overt power of the husband was replaced in Sparta by an unspoken but very real control by the state.  Spartan women remained breeding machines whose purpose was to produce the male soldiers the state needed to defend itself against revolt by the Helots.  Mother love was replaced by a mother’s pride in her son’s bravery in battle and disgust with any sign of cowardice "
The women of Athens, Spartan women were taught reading and writing. 
 Athens Women were not.They were also expected to be able to protect themselves. Where in Athens, the education of a girl involved spinning, weaving, and other domestic arts, for a Spartan woman such tasks were relegated to the helots or perioeci. A girl's education was equally as brutal as the men's; many athletic events such as javelin, discus, foot races, and staged battles were also for both sexes. In many such events, Spartan women would run naked in the presence of their male counterparts and were respected for their athletic feats."
Spartan Women  Reconsidered
In no other Greek city-state did women enjoy the same freedom and privileges of Spartan women. Only in Sparta did girls receive public education—in other city-states, most women were completely illiterate.  Only in Sparta were girls allowed to engage in sports, did women possess economic power and influence. Scandalized observers from other Greek cities commented that not only did Spartan women have opinions, they also were not afraid to voice them in public; and worse still their husbands actually listened to them!"  A different view.
The Ancient Sourcebook - Greek Women
"But what difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same. Even in regard to courage, which is of no use in daily life, and is needed only in war, the influence of the Lacedaemonian women has been most mischievous."
The Women of Athens
"Compared to the women of Sparta, the status of an Athenian woman in Greek society was minimal. By comparison to present day standards, Athenian women were only a small step above slaves by the 5th century BC. From birth a girl was not expected to learn how to read or write, nor was she expected to earn an education. On reading and writing, Menander wrote, "Teaching a woman to read and write? What a terrible thing to do! Like feeding a vile snake on more poison." With the notable exception of Plato, Athenian philosophers believed that women had strong emotions and weak minds.  For this reason they had to be protected from themselves and they had to be prevented from doing damage to others.  Guardianship was the system developed to deal with this perceived quality in women.   
The Women of Athens 2
"Sarah Pomeroy says of classical Athens, 'Rarely has there been a wider discrepancy between the cultural rewards a society had to offer and women's participation in that culture.'  And while the status of women and the opportunities open to them did vary by time period and state, the women of ancient Greece lived in a culture that restricted them legally, economically, and socially. Despite such limitations, these women did play large roles in many aspects of their culture, particularly in religion, and the great panhellenic sanctuaries Olympia and Delphi bear witness to the influence of these women on their world, and thus upon ours."   " In spite of some limited gestures towards women in areas such as athletics and religion, ancient Greece remained very much a male-dominated society. Nonetheless, some women did take advantage of those opportunities  - as athletes or as priestesses or in other ways, as they did at Delphi. Apollo's sanctuary, with its Pythian priestess and its female Games and its rich mythology, bears witness to a strong/unforgotten female presence in Greek history and culture."
Ancient Athenian Women
Excellent detailed article.  "The principal work of upper-class women was to take good care of their homes, children and slaves and to balance the housekeeping budget. Jobs included wool buying, then cleaning, carding, spinning, weaving and dyeing it; making garments for the entire household. Women of poorer classes, who could not afford slaves, had to work in the fields or on stalls in the market place alongside men. Evidence from written and archaeological sources suggests that the poorer women were involved in a range of occupations, such as ribbon selling and grape picking. In Aristophanes plays, he refers to women as innkeepers, wet-nurses, bakers, myrtle-wreath and vegetable sellers, perfume sellers, unguent boilers, launders, honey-sellers, wool workers and ‘garlic-selling barmaid bakehouse girls’. Some foreign immigrants ran brothels, although a lot of brothels were state-owned. The far most respected job that a woman could do was run a household. The work that the poorer class of women did was not at all valued, so they only way to gain any respect in ancient Greek society was to be a housewife."
Xenophon on the Spartans
"Lycurgus ...,considering that the PRODUCTION OF CHILDREN WAS THE NOBLEST DUTY OF THE FREE, he enacted ...that the female should practice bodily exercise no less than the male sex...He took from the men the liberty of marrying when each of them pleased, and appointed that they should contract marriages only when they were in full bodily vigor, deeming this injunction also conducive to producing excellent offspring... An old man should introduce to his wife whatever man in the prime of life he admired for his bodily and mental qualities, so that she might have children by him."
The Women of Sparta: Athletic, Educated, and Outspoken Radicals of the Greek World
"The women of war-inclined Sparta were a special breed among ancient Greek women. They were athletic, they were educated. But they were baby-makers above all else. The laws of  Sparta were developed and written by Lycurgus, a legendary lawmaker who, in the 7th century B.C. reorganized the political and social structure of the polis, transforming it into a strictly disciplined and collective society. He also developed the stringent military academy of the agoge, where Spartan boys were trained from childhood to adulthood. The law reforms of Lycurgus also included certain rules and allowances for Spartan women. Though these rules made it seem that Spartan women were freer than your average Greek female, they were actually implemented in order to ensure that Spartan society progressed as disciplined, powerful, and threatening. Spartan women were seen as the vehicle by which Sparta constantly advanced.  Unfortunately, there is no real historical documentation that spells out the ways of the women of Sparta. Historians rely on the accounts of Archaic Greek (7th century) poets and other subsequent Greek historians and literary figures."
Ancient Greek Women in Athens Excellent article.
 The Ancient Sourcebook - Greek Women -
 "But what difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same. Even in regard to courage, which is of no use in daily life, and is needed only in war, the influence of the Lacedaemonian women has been most mischievous."


Ancient Locker Rooms
In his treatise on the Athenian Republic written around 450 B.C., Xenophon writes that there are three essential parts to a competition and training center, "besides the actual runs and wrestling-rings, some place where those who use them may undress and oil themselves before exercise, and may wash themselves afterwards."
Astronomy of the Greeks
History of Plumbing in Greece
"A Traveler's Treat: More ritual than hygienic, it was considered good manners for a host to offer his guest the services of his bathroom after a dusty and arduous journey. Ah, the joys of being treated by a winsome slave girl as she scraped his skin of perspiration and dirt with an iron utensil! Ah, the shock when she completed her work with a good dousing of cold water from an urn."
Mathematics - Ancient Science and Its Modern Fates
From the Vatican Museum.  "For over a thousand years--from the fifth century B.C. on, Greek mathematicians maintained a splendid tradition of work in exact sciences: mathematics, astronomy, and related fields." Classical Roots of Scientific Revolution, Ptolemy's Geography - Science of the Earth's Surface (Ptolemy who gave Greek astronomy its final form in the second century A.D., did the same--and more--for geography and cartography). Greek Astronomy - The Revival of an Ancient Science (One of the most powerful creations of Greek science was the mathematical astronomy created by Hipparchus in the second century B.C. and given final form by Ptolemy in the second century A.D.). Fine science site with excellent illustrations.  Makes a difficult subject "simple."
Medicine in Ancient Greece
Helpful on an obscure subject. "The Greeks are popularly considered the forefathers of modern medicine. What is not popularly known is that the Greeks were greatly influenced by the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians. Many of their theories and practices were adopted by Hippocrates and are still in use today. Hippocrates, commonly considered the first physician, ushered in the new era of Rational Medicine. He was the first to discount the supernatural as a cause for disease. Instead, he attributed disease to natural causes, mainly the four humors. "  Gateway to other sites on Medicine.
Greek Approach to Women's Illness,  Pregnancy, Childbirth
A range of issues, to name one - Childbirth:  "Greek and Roman Surgical Instruments - The Pictures:  Ugh!
The Plague in Athens During the Peloponnesian War - From Thucydides


Site devoted to the heroes, gods and monsters of Greek mythology.
Greek Mythology - Detail on a huge array of Gods!
Women in Greek Myths
Major and minor Goddesses, monsters and Monsteresses and Monstrocities, The Fates & The Graiae, enforcers, nymphs, human women in Greek myths.


Sacrifices in Ancient Greece
"Sacrifices in ancient Greece were a major part of every Greek's religion. The Greeks had many reasons for doing sacrifices, but the main reason was to please the gods."
Greek Rituals and Sacrifices
Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece
Ecole Initiative: The Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries, "held annually in honor of Demeter and Persephone, were the most sacred and revered of all the ritual celebrations of ancient Greece." Continued for almost two thousand years. "Large crowds of worshippers from all over Greece and later from throughout the Roman empire would gather to make the holy pilgrimage between the two cities and participate in the secret rites, generally regarded as the high point of Greek religion. As Christianity began to spread, the Mysteries were condemned by the early Church fathers; yet they continued and exercised considerable influence on the formation of early Christian teachings and practices." Comprehensive treatment by U. Evansville professor.
Has the Mystery of the Eleusinian Mysteries Been Solved?


Vital subject.  Internet is somewhat lacking.  The following Web sites are helpful.
Documents on Greek Slavery, c. 750 - 330 BCE
Ancient Greek Slavery and its Relationship to Democracy
Critical article. "Slavery underpinned the entire fabric of the society of Ancient Greece. Family, business, and, most importantly, political life all relied heavily on a class of people who carried out menial and degrading tasks for their masters. Slavery made several direct and fundamental contributions to the practical application of democracy. However, it was not only Greek slavery that led to the development of democracy in Athens and elsewhere; a complex combination of factors produced the institution we so widely regard as the foundation of our own political system.. . .The exclusion of a large proportion of the population, namely slaves, foreigners and women, from the citizenship of a Greek state allowed their particular form of direct democracy to take place much more readily. The numbers of the politically active population were reduced so much so that most of the citizens could meet in one place to discuss matters of importance to the state. Slavery also allowed working citizens the luxury of taking a day off to attend the assemblies, which were held on a regular basis.   For example, the urbanisation of Greece, philosophical developments and an interest in politics by the population at large all contributed to the rise of democracy in Athens. On the other hand, slavery also underpinned these factors, so perhaps it is only a slight exaggeration to say that only Greek slavery made Greek democracy possible."
Slavery in Ancient Greece
"Slavery played a major role in ancient Greek civilization. Slaves could be found everywhere. They worked not only as domestic servants, but as factory workers, shopkeepers, mineworkers, farm workers and as ship's crewmembers. There may have been as many, if not more, slaves than free people in ancient Greece. It is difficult for historians to determine exactly how many slaves there were during these times, because many did not appear any different from the poorer Greek citizens. There were many different ways in which a person could have become a slave in ancient Greece. They might have been born into slavery as the child of a slave.  They might have been taken prisoner if their city was attacked in one of the many battles which took place during these times. They might have been exposed as an infant, meaning the parents abandoned their newborn baby upon a hillside or at the gates of the city to die or be claimed by a passerby.  This method was not uncommon in ancient Greece. Another possible way in which one might have become a slave was if a family needed money, they might sell one of the children into slavery. "
Slavery and Women in Ancient Greece 
"Homer demonstrates plainly that the Greek warriors liked to sack a town and take women to be sex slaves or servants. Slavery was acceptable, and slavery meant that slaves must do what is requested. Slave owners had life and death control over their slaves. A slave owner could not deal with an aggressive slave so that person would be killed. Slaves tended to be pretty passive and obedient.  Homelessness was a very uncommon state in ancient Greece. Unfortunately homeless people were commonly caught into slavery. If they were useful then they were sold. If they were useless they were then killed or allowed to die. The family was more important in those days. If your family could not protect you and care for you when you were down and out, then you ended up as a slave. The good thing about slavery is that whoever bought you included you in their family. The bad thing was that you were then forced to do drudgery and if you did not work you were killed or left to die. Sex crimes could easily be perpetrated on a slave.e and obedient.  If your family was poor you could be sold into slavery to help pay off their debts.
Slavery from the Perseus Site
In Dark Age Greece - "The only evidence for slavery in the Dark Age--the language of the poetry of Homer and Hesiod--reveals complex relationships of dependency among free and unfree people." "The strongest contrast citizenship produced, therefore, was that between free and unfree. In this way, the development of a clear idea of personal freedom in the formation of the city-state as a new political form may ironically have encouraged the complementary development of chattel slavery in the Archaic Age." Sources of Slaves.   "Chattel slavery became widespread in Greece only after about 600 B.C.   Eventually, slaves became cheap enough that people of moderate means could afford one or two.  Nevertheless, even wealthy Greek landowners never acquired gangs of hundreds of slaves like those who maintained Rome's water system under the Roman Empire or worked large plantations in the southern United States before the American Civil War.  Maintaining a large number of slaves year around in ancient Greece would have been uneconomical because the cultivation of the crops grown there called for short periods of intense labor punctuated by long stretches of inactivity, during which slaves would have to be fed even while they had no work to do. By the fifth century B.C., however, the number of slaves in some city-states had grown to as much as one-third of the total population."     
Greek Slavery - A Summary
"There may have been as many, if not more, slaves than free people in ancient Greece. It is difficult for historians to determine exactly how many slaves there were during these times, because many did not appear any different from the poorer Greek citizens."In 2007, Greek slavery remains the subject of historiographical debate, on two questions in particular: can it be said that ancient Greece was a "slave society", and did Greek slaves comprise a social class?


Ancient Olympics
Almost endless site about the ancient olympics. A tour of Ancient Olympia, the contest of the games and the olympic spirit, ancient sports, athlete's stories.  "Did You Know: During the ancient Olympic Games, which started in 776 BCE, the men competed naked? Can you imagine Charles Barkley playing basketball naked? Did You Know: boxers wore only ten foot long straps of leather around their hands for protection? No ear guards, no padded gloves, no protective cups! How would Reid have faired without his headgear?
Frequently Asked Questions about the Ancient Olympic Games
1. Where did the Olympic games come from?   2. Why were they held at Olympia?   3. Were there other contests like the Olympics?   4. Who could compete in the Olympics?   5. Were women allowed ? 6. How were the athletes trained? 7. What prizes did Olympic victors get? 8. Who were the Olympic judges? 9. What was the penalty for cheating? 10. Where did the marathon come from?
Olympics Through Time
Well-designed journey from pre-history to classical to revival and on.
The Olympics - Virtual Museum
Greek Games
"The Greeks took games of all kinds very seriously, but especially physical athletic competition. The Greeks believed that their gods particularly loved to see strong, fit, graceful human bodies, especially boys' and men's bodies. So one way to get on the good side of the gods was to exercise, to eat right, to oil your skin, to create a beautiful body that the gods would love. Because of the Greek tendency to turn everything into an agon, a competition, this also meant that there were a lot of athletic competitions in Greece. The most famous of these is the Olympic Games, but there were other games held in other places as well"


Ancient Greek Infantry
Excellent summary of tactical warfare, armor and weapons, military hierarchy, duty.
The Persian Wars
"The Persian Wars begin with the Ionian Revolt and the history of that revolt really begins with Croesus, king of Lydia, located in Asia Minor." And "The Persian Wars were a heroic epoch for Greece in general and for Athens and Sparta in particular. Asia Minor was restored to independence, and Athens and Sparta were the undisputed leaders of Hellas. In the longer term, victory meant Greece was now free to follow its own destiny, and free from outside influences on its culture and society."
Battle At Thermopylae - Heroic Story and Illustrations.  
Herodutus on the Battle of Marathon - Source

Historical Commentary on the Peloponnesian Wars :  K. Kuhlman
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
Peloponnesian War
"The war fell into three phases. First  - ten years of intermittent fighting, concluded by an uneasy truce in 421. This truce phase, named after the Athenian general Nicias, lasted until 415. The final phase began when Athens launched a massive and ill-fated assault against Sicily. Campaign was so catastrophic for Athens that the city barely recovered militarily. In 411 the democracy at Athens was also temporarily overturned, and the city remained in political turmoil for years. When the democracy was restored, its leaders could not agree on truce terms, and many wanted to continue the war at all costs. Fighting went on for the next six years. Athens rebuilt its fleet, while Sparta and its allies created their own navy. The end for Athens came in 405, when the Spartan navy under Lysander decisively defeated the Athenians in the battle of Aegospotami." "The result of the war was the crushing defeat of Athens and the end of its maritime empire. A more long-range result was the weakening of all the city-states. This made them vulnerable to a takeover by Macedonia several decades later."
Peloponnesian War2
"Now that the Spartans won (as predicted), what do they do with Athens? Corinth wanted to totally wipe out the whole city and its people. But going around the world had broadened the Spartans a little and they weren't as dumb as they used to be. They realized that if Athens was gone totally, that Corinth would get all their old trade back as well as the Athenian trade and then Corinth would become as obnoxious as Athens had been. So they kept the Athenians around as a counterbalance to Corinth. . . .The Athenian government was changed to an oligarchy with a Spartan patrol left in the city to keep charge. Now, Sparta was the obnoxious one and telling everyone what to do."
Peloponnesian War - Strategy, Truce, Peace
Peloponnesian War  Britannica
"Suspicious and fearful of Athenian power and wealth, the Spartans were not happy with the thirty year peace. . The Athenians themselves had become chauvinistic, power hungry, and seemed ready to begin to reassert their power on the mainland of Greece. In 431, spurred on by a relatively trivial event in a distant part of the Greek mainland, Sparta and Athens fell into another war - The Peloponnesian War. The Spartans wished to fight a land war, which they were very good at. They outnumbered the Athenians two to one, odds they believed the Athenians could stand up to only for a very short time. At the outbreak of the war, then, they invaded Attica and began burning crops in order to starve the Athenians into submission. The Athenians, however, had a harbor and a powerful navy. Pericles knew that they could hold out against the Spartans for several years on the tribute money from the Empire. He also knew that he could take the war right to the doorsteps of Spartan allies, by sailing troops along the coast of Greece and landing them far from Athenian lines. Although Pericles died in the second year of the war in a plague that devestated Athens, the Athenians, nevertheless, kept to the Periclean strategy of prosecuting the war."


15 Ancient Greek Heroes

From Plutarch's Lives.  Theseus, Lycurgus, Solon, Aristides, Pericles, Nicias, Agesilaus, Pelopidas, Dion , Timoleon, Phocion, Pyrrhus, Agis, Philopoemen.
Archaic Government  - Summary of Kings to Aristocracy
7 Stages in Athenian Democracy
Excellent clarification of Athenian democracy:  "The Athenian institution of democracy emerged in stages, in response to political, social, and economic conditions. As was true elsewhere in the Greek world, the individual city-state (polis) of Athens had once been ruled by kings, but that had given way to an oligarchic government by archons elected from the aristocratic (Eupatrid) families. Learn more about the gradual development of democracy."
Cleisthenes' Creation of the 10 Tribes Was a Stage in the Rise of Democracy
"Looks at some of the factors involved in the development of Athenian democracy through Cleisthenes' creation of the 10 tribes of Athens. Solon, a wise man, poet, and leader, made some necessary changes in the economics and government of Athens, but he also created problems that needed fixing. Cleisthenes' reforms were instrumental in converting
Ostracism at Athens: The Details
Pericles' Home Page: Brief Biography
" There is no doubt that Pericles was one of those extraordinary people who placed his own stamp on his time and shaped the course of history. He was the leading citizen of a great democracy that had a sharp sense of its own special role in history and of the special excellence of its constitution and way of life. Through his guidance, Athens had a booming economy that produced both wealth and prosperity previously unknown, a combined military and naval power made possible by such wealth, and international responsibilities that stretched resources to the  limit."
Radical Democracy of Pericles and his Funeral Oration
"Pericles, a great supporter of democracy, was a Greek leader and statesman during the Peloponnesian War. He was so important for Athens that his name defines the age -- Periclean ("The Age of Pericles"), a period when Athens rebuilt what had been destroyed during the recent war with Persia (the Greco-Persian or Persian Wars)."
Democracy, Then and Now - Ancient Athens
"While wars today are fought in the name of democracy as if democracy were a moral ideal as well as an easily identifiable government style, it is not really that black and white. The inventors of democracy were the Greeks who lived in small city-states called poleis. Contact with the wide world was slower. Life lacked modern conveniences. Voting machines were primitive, at best. The people -- the ones who put the demo- in democracy -- were intimately involved in decisions that affected them and would be appalled that bills to be voted on now require reading through thousand-page tomes. They might be even more aghast that people actually vote on those bills without doing the reading."
Philip:  A Short History
And Philip II.  "Philip's consolidation of his kingdom and his reduction of Greece to relative peace made possible the campaigns of his son, Alexander the Great. Philip was the true founder of Alexander's army and trained some of his best generals."


Alexander the Great (356-323BC)     
Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the nature of the ancient world in little more than a decade.  From the Great BBC Site.
Who was Alexander the Great
The Problem of Alexander:  "Alexander the Great is one of the most controversial figures in history. His story has captured the minds and imaginations of countless scholars and laymen. A huge library of work has been amassed regarding this landmark historical figure, and it is growing at an astonishing rate. . . . In 1976, it could be said that books on Alexander were appearing at the rate of more than one a year." Perhaps the reason that Alexander has intrigued so many is because of the multiple explanations for his actions, motivations, and personality.
TEN ! GREAT Reasons Why Alexander Was Great!
Fun site.  What it lacks in absolute scholarly facts, is made up for in creativity!  Do not use the list for a University essay on greatness!
Alexander's First Great Victory
"The Persians hoped to win the Battle of the Granicus by killing Alexander. But in his first major action in Asia, the Macedonian commander employed tactics that would win him an empire. "
Alexander's Tomb
Alexander's Speech to His Reluctant Soldiers
Macedonia in Ancient Times: Brief History
Brief history.
Plutarch's ALEXANDER:  Plutarch's Great Essay - First part, you will need to download the rest.
Alexander the Great - Chronology


Bulfinch's Mythology, The Age of The Trojan War, Part 1 - Nice Essay
Bulfinch's Mythology: The Trojan War - The Iliad
Good summary of interaction of Gods and humans.
Bulfinch - The Odyssey
Conflicting Views of Helen of Troy
Katie Olesker and "Women of Antiquity."  Who was this Helen? "According to some authors, Helen is an inspirational female, transcending the strict boundaries imposed on Greek women. According to others, she is a deceitful and shameful women, the sole cause of the deaths of thousands of brave Geek and Trojan men. We can clearly see in art, literature, and poetry, that Helen is one of the most ambiguous characters of antiquity."
Homer: The Iliad - Complete
Homer: The Odyssey - Complete
Homer's Iliad: Translation by Samuel Butler
Homer Home Page
Probably as much here as one needs to know.
The Iliad - A Practical Approach
Why study it?  Here is the answer.
The Odyssey Game
Great game. Not only for students. Test yourself. Pick a character and be that person. Choose a route. Handle one of the dangers. It is up to you. Creative challenge by Andrew Wilson.
Odyssey:  Based on the Odyssey, Homer's Epic from Greek Mythology
Great site.  Use the short version. Descriptions of all the characters and every location.
TROY (TRUVA) - 4000 years old Ancient City


Aeschylus  : Works by
Full translations of Agamemnon, The Choephori, Eumenides, The Persians, Prometheus Bound, The Seven Against Thebes, The Suppliants.  
Aeschylus Biography
"The 'Father of Tragedy,' Aeschylus was born in 525 B.C. in the city of Eleusis. . . Legend has it that Aeschylus met his death when an eagle mistook his bald head for a rock and dropped a tortoise on it. Whatever the cause of his death, his life laid the groundwork the dramatic arts would need to flourish, and by the time of his death, there were two notable successors ready to take his place--Sophocles and Euripides. In addition, Aeschylus left behind two sons who would carry on his dramatic legacy."
Aeschylus and His Tragedies
"Aeschylus was the only man of his age, or indeed of any age, who can compare with the great master of the modern drama in sublimity of conception and grandeur of poetic imagery. As to the esteem in which he was held by his contemporaries and his immediate posterity there is sufficient evidence, and first in the Frogs of Aristophanes, who there describes his temper as proud, stern and impatient; his sentiments as pure, noble and warlike; his genius inventive, magnificent and towering; his style lofty, bold and impetuous, full of gorgeous imagery and ponderous expressions, while in the dramatic arrangement of his pieces there remained much of ancient simplicity and somewhat of uncouth rudeness. Dionysius of Halicarnassus lauds the splendor of his talents, the propriety of his characters, the originality of his ideas and the force, variety and beauty of his language."
Archimedes Home Page
Archimedean miscellanea, more interesting because of information on subjects including siege of Syracuse, the Archimedes' screw, solids, spheres, coins.
Archimedes of Syracuse: History
His life, his greatest contributions in geometry, references to major theories and explanation and commentary.
Aristotle - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Life, writings, ideas.  Extensive.
"Aristotle is considered one of the greatest minds of classical Greece. Dante even proclaimed him 'the master of those who know.' He made tremendous contributions in the areas of science and mathematics, not to mention philosophy. In fact, he contributed extensively to chemistry, physics, biology, created formal logic, thoroughly studied systems of government, and developed a biological classification system. The majority of those alive at the time took greater stock in his political philosophies. . Aristotle was one of the first men to explore science, anatomy, and the animal kingdom in depth and to recognize his considerable contribution to philosophy."
Aristotle: Poetics - Complete Text
Aristotle: Summary of His Life
Aristophanes: The Frogs - Complete Play
 "The plays of Aristophanes are the only surviving complete examples of Old Greek Comedy, all written between 427 and 385 B.C. His contemporaries thought highly of his works, and awarded him many prizes for his plays. . .Aristophanes' plays have remained important throughout the years as the work of a master playwright and have achieved notoriety because they are the only surviving examples of Old Greek Comedy."
Euclid: Biography
Euclid's Elements, Introduction
Brings "Elements" alive using the geometry applet. Links and background.
Edith Hamilton's great essay on Euripides.  "EURIPIDES 'with all his faults the most tragic of the poets,"said Aristotle, supreme among critics, whose claim to pronounce ever the final verdict has only of late been called into question. His judgment here points the latter-day attitude toward him: the great critic was wrong; he confused sadness and tragedy. Euripides is the saddest of the poets and for that very reason not the most tragic. A very great tragedian, beyond all question, one of the world's four greatest, to all of whom belongs that strangest power, so to present the spectacle of pain that we are lifted to what we truly call the height of tragedy."
Greek Astronomy: A Brief Glance - The revival of an ancient science.
Greek Mathematics and its Modern Heirs
Classical roots of the scientific revolution. For over a thousand years, Greek mathematicians maintained a special tradition of work in the exact sciences. From the Vatican Library.
Herodotus of Halicarnassus
Excellent background, life, excerpts.  "The Greek storyteller Herodotus was the world's first historian. In The Histories, he describes the expansion of the Persian Empire under its kings Cyrus, Cambyses and Darius, culminating in king Xerxes' expedition against the Greeks, which met with disaster in the naval engagement at Salamis and the battles at Plataea and Mycale. Book also contains excellent ethnographic descriptions of the peoples that the Persians have conquered, fairy tales, gossip, legends, and a very humanitarian morale."
Herodotus  - The Histories, Complete
Hippocrates: The Oath  and All His Works Translated
HOMER:  See Previous "Chapter" Devoted To
Library at Alexandra - One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Origin of Philosophy:  Why the Greeks?
"What was different about the Greeks that led to the origin of philosophy with them? Years ago, the simple answer might have been that the Greeks were "different," they just had some kind of special "genius" that enabled them to think about things in new and different ways. That kind of answer is unsatisfactory, not only because it doesn't really explain anything, not only because it sounds disturbingly like some kind of racism (the Greeks just must have been genetically different), but because it cannot then in turn explain why philosophy only occurred among some Greeks (e.g. Milesians, Athenians, etc.) and not among others (e.g. Spartans)."
"One of the great Greek lyrists and few known female poets of the ancient world, Sappho was born some time between 630 and 612 BC. She was an aristocrat who married a prosperous merchant, and she had a daughter named Cleis. Her wealth afforded her with the opportunity to live her life as she chose, and she chose to spend it studying the arts on the isle of Lesbos. . . Sappho was called a lyrist because, as was the custom of the time, she wrote her poems to be performed with the accompaniment of a lyre. Sappho composed her own music and refined the prevailing lyric meter to a point that it is now known as sapphic meter. She innovated lyric poetry both in technique and style, becoming part of a new wave of Greek lyrists who moved from writing poetry from the point of view of gods and muses to the personal vantage point of the individual. She was one of the first poets to write from the first person, describing love and loss as it affected her personally. . . . From ancient times to today, Sappho has remained an important literary and cultural figure. Her works continued to be studied and translated, new poets are inspired by her constantly, and speculation on her life remains popular in the form of fictionalized tales and ardent research. For a woman who has been dead for over two thousand years, this is quite an achievement."  
Sophocles - The Influences of History
"Sophocles was one of the three great playwrights of Greece during the Classical Period, a one hundred year span from 500 to 400 BC. It was a very eventful time for Greece, and for the city of Athens, where Sophocles lived. There were several wars which influenced the lives of the people of Athens, including Sophocles, who often wrote about war in his plays. . His lifetime covered the most glorious time of Athenian history. He took a big part in that history by writing about the events in his plays, and by being a politician later in his life.   During his lifetime it is estimated that Sophocles wrote 123 tragic, or sad, plays. Today there are only seven left that we can still read."
Sophocles :  Complete Texts
Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War - Complete
Thucydides and the Writing of History
Thucydides and his Importance
"Thucydides, an Athenian aristocrat, was probably in his late twenties at the time the War began; he realized its importance from the start and began to plan to write its history. In 424 he was elected one of the Athenian  generals, and for failing to prevent the loss of an important city to the Spartans was exiled from Athens. He spent the rest of the War collecting evidence and talking with participants in the various actions. Herodotus, writing a few decades earlier than Thucydides, recorded almost all he heard, whether he believed it himself or not. Thucydides stands at the other pole; he gathers all available evidence, decides what he thinks is the truth, then shapes his presentation to emphasize that truth. We see everything through his eyes, and his views on the forces which shape human events emerge on every page."  And on to the Melian Dialogue.
Tech Classics Archive
Indispensable searchable archive of 400+ classical Greek and Roman texts in translation.


Plato for the Young Inquirer
"Just before he died, we are told, Plato dreamed that he was changed into a swan, and, flying from tree to tree, caused much trouble for the bird-catchers who vainly tried to take him. Simmias, the companion of Socrates, interpreted the dream to signify that all men desire to catch the spirit of Plato but none would succeed, for each would interpret him in his own fashion.""
Plato: Almost Complete - Translated Here
Plato and His Dialogues: Essay - From Exploring Ancient World Cultures.  Detailed analytical article.
Plato's Apology - Socrates' Famous Defense
Plato's The Cave
Andrew Wilson's wonderful and informative "cave."  Do not miss this one.
Plato's Symposium
"Socrates contribution to philosophy is immeasurable. His practice of philosophy is a turning point in the history of the subject - away from philosophy as a study of the natural world to  philosophy as the study of human nature. Socrates is used as a dividing line when discussing the history of philosophy. The terms "socratic" and "presocratic" are used to distinguish events in philosophy's timeline the same way BC and AD are used, relative to the birth of Christ, as a dividing line in world history."
The Last Days of Socrates
"How was Socrates different from other martyrs? - What sort of man was he? - What is Socratic irony? - Was he put on trial for political reasons? - What was his attitude to religion? - Why were the Athenians sick of him? - Is Plato's Socrates the real Socrates? - How did his views differ from Plato's? - How come we know anything at all about him? - What was his theory about virtue? - Why did he say that a good man cannot be harmed? - Was he just naive? - Why does he count as a philosopher? - Why were many of his followers so strange? - His legacy?"  Excerpts from Andrew Gottlieb's major book:   The trial, Socrates versus Plato, The Cynics and Socrates.
Socrates Had It Coming!
"In the course of Western Civilization, there have been two trials ending in a sentence of death imposed upon two individuals later deemed grossly unfair and unjust by the verdict of history. One trial was that of Jesus Christ, the other that of Socrates. Of course, it can be said with justification that each man steered a course that ended with a fatal termination from the power structure of the time.  It was Jesus' destiny.  It was Socrates' choice. Both philosophers and theologians, by defining proper moral conduct, carry a political message, a message apt to rub the ruling power structure's nose in its own mess. Honesty is a dangerous double-edged sword wielded by a messenger of truth speaking to power. Christ defined and built a new moral order. All Socrates ever accomplished was questioning and probing the democratic beliefs of his day."  Fascinating, well written article!
Socrates, Life and Deeds
Long analysis. "On the last day of his life his chains were removed, and he was visited by his wife Xanthippe and his little boy in her arms as well as by his friends in philosophy.  When the guard suggested that excessive talking and excitement might hinder the effect of the poison, Socrates refused to stop talking and declared that he would drink it twice or three times if necessary. As sunset approached, Socrates went to bathe in order to save the women the trouble of bathing the corpse. When Crito asked how they should bury him, Socrates replied he would have to catch him first, meaning the soul, but that they might bury the body in the way they felt was appropriate. After bathing, he said goodby to his wife and three sons. Not allowing any delay of the correct procedure, Socrates followed the instructions in drinking the poison and walking around until his legs felt heavy. Then he laid down on his back, covering himself up. He removed the cover for a moment to ask his friend Crito to pay a debt for him to Aesculapius, the god of healing. He covered his body again, and a moment later he died."


Hellenistic Greece
"In spite of the political turbulence and chaos of the fourth century BC, Greece was poised on its most triumphant period: the Hellenistic age. The word, Hellenistic, is derived from the word, Hellene, which was the Greek word for the Greeks. The Hellenistic age was the "age of the Greeks; during this time, Greek culture and power extended itself across the known world. While the classical age of Greece produced great literature, poetry, philosophy, drama, and art, the Hellenistic age "hellenized" the world. At the root of Hellenism were the conquests of Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander."
Hellenistic Civilization:  Site is kaput, but essay is good!
"As the Greeks penetrated the Middle East, the increasingly urban, upper-class character of Greek  home civilization helped to spread it among the landlords and other upper class men abroad. The Greek style of life, which included such things as athletics in the nude and dancing girls as well as philosophy and poetry, appealed strongly to many of these men. Greeks, as a rule, were willing to admit such recruits to their circle as soon as the neophytes acquired a suitable Greek educator and set of manners. Even the lower classes found it convenient or necessary to learn Greek, which rapidly became the dominant language of the entire eastern Mediterranean, displacing Aramaic from that position within two or three centuries of Alexander's victories. "At first everything seemed to go one way. Middle Eastern peoples borrowed arts and manners from the Greeks while the conquerors found little in the life of their subjects to admire or imitate. But before long cultural borrowing became a two-way street. The lower classes, for instance, found in Middle Eastern religions a far more adequate explanation of the world than anything available to them from the Greek tradition. ...The poor and humble of the great Mediterranean cities needed a religion that could comfort them in times of personal distress, and help them hope for a better future. ...So, the dispersion of Hellenistic civilization over most of the populated parts of the western world between 500 BC and 200 AD is a case study in a general tendency - not to say law - of civilization. It tends to grow and develop to a high level in a particular area because economic, social and political factors coalesce to make it possible. It flourished for a few centuries and then begins to disintegrate.

"The reasons for that decline are manifold, but they all seem to relate to the economic and social foundations in some degree. When this foundation weakens, by the development of class distinctions or social and economic disparities, the high level of cultural achievement looses vitality and strength. The culture does not necessarily die and vanish. It tends to be dispersed first to the barbaric neighbors who invade and then spread to other parts of the world which they conquered.  In this way Greek culture spread to the whole Mediterranean basin by the Macedonians and the Romans, both peoples whose native cultures were certainly inferior to the subjugated Greeks. Thus, even barbarians, a term the Greeks invented, play a useful role, as carriers and disseminators of culture. They fulfill a kind of world-civilizing mission. Thanks to the Macedonians and Romans, Hellenistic civilization, a generalized form of Greek culture, became an integral part of the classical tradition in WC. "

Hellenistic Philosophy - Decent Summary
The Hellenistic World - Superb and Essential Material from the Internet Ancient History Source Book
Especially Paul Hasall's "Hellenistic Culture," and the main page's list by category of important primary sources.
" Despite the constant conflict, the Hellenistic world was an incredibly prosperous one. Alexander and his successors had liberated an immense amount of wealth from the Persian empire, and with this new wealth in circulation the standard of living rose dramatically. Each of the empires embarked on building projects, on scholarship, on patronage of the arts, and on literature and philosophy. The Ptolemies built an enormous library in their capital city of Alexandria, and sponsored the translation of a host of religious and literary works into Greek.   This period really marked the first international culture in western, middle eastern, and north African history. The Greeks imported their culture: political theory, philosophy, art, and literature all over the known civilized world. This culture would greatly alter the culture and religion of the Mediterannean.

But the flow of culture worked in the opposite direction as well; non-Greek ideas and non-Greeks flowed into Greece (and Italy). They took with them their religions, their philosophies, science, and culture; in this environment, eastern religions in particular began to take hold in the Greek city-states both in the east and in Greece. Among these religions was Zoroastrianism and Mithraism; in later years, this international environment would provide the means for the spread of another eastern religion, Christianity.

This process of the "hellenization" ("making Greek") of the world took place largely in the urban centers the Greeks began to zealously build. While the Greeks had for a long time believed that monarchy was a sign of barbarity, they had to come to terms with the reality of their new form of government. So they compromised."



The Egyptians carry a fascination for us that transcends time. And always the sense of strangeness and mystery. Videos, TV programs from Omar Shariff and the "Mysteries of the Pyramids," to Charleton Heston and "The Mystery of the Sphinx," and "Cleopatra: Destiny's Queen," and the "Chariots of the Gods," and the "Visit of the Aliens." How could the history of one nation span 3000 years? How did they build such remarkable monuments to antiquity? Why did intelligent humans mummify themselves? Where did their genius come from? Why do most history books on Western Civilization allot this culture only a scant twenty pages at best? Why do many people "forget" that Egypt is and always has been in Africa?

The themes which follow give credence to the richness of the Egyptian civilization AND to the Web.

 To Part I-Egypt, Prehistory, Other Ancients 


The land of the citizen statesmen, the Emperors, the warriors, the Caesars. The power of an Empire that conquered most of what we know of as Europe, ruled it, linked its roads and laws with it, exported its culture and language to it. Baths, plumbing, food, religion, architecture, drama, walls, palaces, slaves and servants. Political strategy, diplomacy, and philosophy. Words falter in capturing this mighty civilization with its weaknesses and strengths, its triumphs and its calamities.

   To Part III-Rome     


Major Web College History Courses:

The Special Western Civilization Series

Professor K. F.


    Act I: From Prehistory to the Fall of Rome
    (Every quarter including summer, usually)
    Act II: From the Fall of Rome to the French Revolution
    Act III: From The French Revolution to the Fall of the Berlin Wall
    (Fall , Spring , Summer)
  • 4 Quarter Units Each.
  • Identical in Content, Rigor, Requirements, Assignments, Exams, to On-Campus College Course, fully articulated with all California Universities.
  • The Online Course Information Site and Summary Syllabus for History 4A:  Western Civilization:  The Ancient World - Act I
  • The Online Course Information Site and Summary Syllabus for History 4B:  Western Civilization: The Medieval Renaissance World - Act II
  • The Online Course Information Site and Summary Syllabus for History 4C:  Western Civilization:  The Modern World - Act III

    For Registration and Process/Course Information, Contact Global Access Courses at the  FOOTHILL COLLEGE SITE.  

   Internet Book and Site Created, Designed, Executed
By Dr. K. F., Professor of History/Political Science. Author, Hitler's Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness. Site  Full Copyright, Revised regularly.
Internet Books and Sites on loan to Foothill College for Web Courses.

I created this site for folks in the Web World who enjoy Ancient history as much as I do: the "public," history buffs, families, students of all ages, elementary and high school teachers, university faculty.  I have tried to be intensely aware of others' work and respect copyrights.  I don't think I have violated anyone's work - and only highlighted the special efforts of others. If anyone feels to the contrary, contact me. I wanted this site to be available for public use, personally or in a classroom - and as a resource for teachers at all levels.  Thus no passwords are required. I only ask that if you refer your students to this site, that you credit me properly for the years of work this entailed.


and their amazing support of educational technology.


Thanks for joining us. Last Update: October 2015