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 long—below or subscribe and listen to the Very Short Introductions podcast through your favourite podcast app.
1. Ancient Greece
“The title ‘Ancient Greece’ is, in a way, an obvious one but on the other hand it’s problematic. I sometimes – partly as a joke – say there was no such thing as ‘Ancient Greece.’”
In this episode, Paul Cartledge introduces Ancient Greece, a period of unmatched 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 set about tackling such a huge subject.
Or subscribe and listen to the “Ancient Greece” Very Short Introductions podcast episode on your favourite podcast app.
“As far as Homer is concerned, 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 continued appeal of Homer’s tales, widely considered to be 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 favourite podcast app now.
“The image of Epicureanism that comes to mind is of a rich dandy fussing over food—but all this is really off the mark. In fact, Epicureanism is a philosophy that covers every aspect of experience in a tightly integrated way and is explicitly critical of self-indulgent behaviour.”
In this episode, Catherine Wilson introduces the school of thought based on the teachings of Epicurus that promotes modest pleasure and a simple life—ideals that still hold relevance today.
Listen as Catherine dispels common misconceptions of Epicureanism and explores its “radical” theory and connections with the history and philosophy of science.
Or subscribe and listen to the “Epicureanism” Very Short Introductions podcast episode on your favourite podcast app.
4. Alexander the Great
“More accounts of his life survive from antiquity than any other figure from Ancient Greek history but the paradox is that we actually know much less about about Alexander than we think we do.”
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 pieces together the evidence to build a picture of Alexander III of Macedon—the first person in western history to have been given the title “The Great.”
Or subscribe and listen to the “Alexander the Great” Very Short Introductions podcast episode on your favourite podcast app.
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Featured image via pxhere.com, public domain