Did “ancient Greece” exist? Are all epicureans decadent dandies? What do we really know about Alexander the Great? Explore the people, places, and philosophies of the classical world through these four podcast episodes from the expert authors of our Very Short Introductions series.
Listen to the episodes (each under 15 minutes) below or subscribe and listen to the Very Short Introductions podcast through your favorite podcast app.
1. Ancient Greece
“The title ‘Ancient Greece’ is, in a way, obvious, but on the other hand, it is problematic. I sometimes say – partly in jest – that there was no “ancient Greece”.
In this episode, Paul Cartledge presents ancient Greece, a period of unparalleled influence on the politics, philosophy, religion and social relations of Western civilization.
Listen to Paul explain what is so problematic about our characterization of this diverse and sprawling era and how he tackled such a vast subject.
Or subscribe and listen to the “Ancient Greece” Very Short Introductions podcast episode on your favorite podcast app.
“As for Homer, his identity has been the subject of much speculation.”
In this episode, Barbara Graziosi introduces “the Homeric question” and explains where we are, exactly, in the search for when, how and by whom The Iliad and The Odyssey were composed.
Join Barbara as she investigates the contemporary and continuing appeal of Homer’s tales, widely considered two of the most influential works in the history of Western literature.
Or subscribe and listen to the “Homer” Very Short Introductions podcast episode on your favorite podcast app now.
“The image of Epicureanism that comes to mind is of a wealthy dandy fussing over food, but it’s all really off the mark. In fact, Epicureanism is a philosophy that covers all aspects of experience in a tightly integrated way and explicitly criticizes self-indulgent behaviors.
In this episode, Catherine Wilson presents the school of thought based on the teachings of Epicurus which promotes modest pleasure and a simple life, ideals that still hold true today.
Listen to Catherine dispel common misconceptions about Epicureanism and explore her “radical” theory and its connections to the history and philosophy of science.
Or subscribe and listen to the “Epicureanism” Very Short Introductions podcast episode on your favorite podcast app.
4. Alexander the Great
“More accounts of his life survive from antiquity than any other figure in ancient Greek history, but the paradox is that we know far less about Alexander than we think.”
In this episode, Hugh Bowden introduces Alexander the Great, a legendary figure whose legacy permeates modern culture but about whom we still have much to discover.
Join Hugh as he assembles the evidence to construct an image of Alexander III of Macedon, the first person in Western history to be given the title “The Great”.
Or subscribe and listen to the “Alexander the Great” Very Short Introductions podcast episode on your favorite podcast app.
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