Ancient Greece

“Greece” covers both the Bronze Age Aegean, with the Cycladic, Minoan, Helladic, and Mycenaen cultures, as well as the Greek world of the first millennium BC, when Greeks settled beyond the Aegean basin, in Southern Italy, Sicily, Spain, southern France, and the coast of the Black Sea. By the fourth century BC, the Athenian philosopher Plato was able to state that the Greeks had spread around the Mediterranean Sea “like frogs around a pond” (Phaedo 109b).

The blinding of Polyphemus

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The blinding of Polyphemus

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A scene on an amphora from Eleusis, near Athens, is the earliest representation of the blinding of Polyphemus by Odysseus and his men.

Odysseus the jerk

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Odysseus the jerk

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While modern audiences tend to be sympathetic towards the trickster hero Odysseus, a closer look reveals him to be a terrible person.

The language of tyranny

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The language of tyranny

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Different types of government use different language. A short treaty from Athens provides an example of this from the ancient world.

The suicide of Ajax

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The suicide of Ajax

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The suicide of the hero Ajax, the result of a dispute over the ownership of Achilles’ armour, was a popular motif in Archaic Greek art.

The death penalty in Athens

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The death penalty in Athens

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In ancient Greece, serious crimes were punishable by death. What forms did the death penalty take in Classical Athens?

A Trojan Horse from Mykonos

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A Trojan Horse from Mykonos

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A large relief pithos (storage jar) from Mykonos features a rare early Greek depiction of the Wooden Horse used to capture Troy.

The heroine Atalanta

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The heroine Atalanta

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In ancient Greek mythology, there is a dearth of stories centred on female heroines. An important exception is the fearless Atalanta.