Epilogue with Dr. John Hale

Today we welcome Dr. John Hale to the show, author of the book Lords of the Sea. It is a compelling look at the history of Athens, largely from the seat of a rower’s bench behind an oar. The New York Times has called Dr. Hale an intellectually series historian who knows how to tell war stories, and I couldn’t agree more. Of course, we spend a good bit of time inside the wooden walls of a trireme and we also spend some time with the various leaders of Athens. He also provides some salient comparison to the United States and how our democracy runs before giving us a preview of the new book he is working on!

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Robert Sims
Epilogue with Dr. Melissa Lane

Today we welcome Dr. Melissa Lane to the show, author of the book The Birth of Politics. Her book was the final straw in convincing me to start the show and centers around eight political ideas, what they meant to the Greek and Romans, and why they matter today.  She provides some clarity to different Athenian institutions and I take advantage of her expertise to have her critique some of the thoughts I had while doing the show. We wrap up with a few question on how the story of Greece can change the way we live today. I think you will enjoy our conversation and if you want to learn more about Greece, Rome and about the foundation to the political ideas of today, then pick up her book: The Birth of Politics. 

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A Splendid Rope

The Peloponnesian War comes to a sudden and unexpected end. The defeated will face the fate the victor thinks it deserves.  We witness both timid and brutal approaches to war and are forced to ask: Is there a difference between acting cruelly out of desperation versus cruelty as a matter of course? This episode covers approximately 405 B.C. – 404 B.C.

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Liquidation

More than twenty years into the Peloponnesian War Athens has given nearly everything to the fight, but more is required. Sparta requests peace but Athens refuses and looks for more resources to continue the war. While Athens scrounges for money, Sparta and Persia renew their alliance with Sparta leading the fight while Persia funds the war. Meanwhile, the weight of carrying the Athenian military is beginning to crack their society. This episode covers approximately 407 B.C. – 405 B.C.

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Resurgence

Athens is broke. The sole hope for retaining its empire rests in their fleet of triremes at Samos. To make matters worse a Spartan fleet, supported by a Persian army and Syracusian ships, has wedged itself into the Hellespont, the crucial route by which Athens receives most of its food. Alcibiades, though still refusing to return to Athens for fear of the death penalty on him, contributes to the fighting in any way he can. Some sort of miracle is needed for Athens to step back into security.  This episode covers approximately 411 B.C. – 407 B.C. 

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Traitor is Such an Ugly Word

After the disaster of the Sicilian Expedition, the largest defeat in the history of Athenian Democracy, the whole Mediterranean world expected Athens to fall. Refusing to surrender the Athenian assembly accepts previously unthinkable changes in order to continue to the fight against Sparta, the revolting cities across the Empire, and to keep the ever ambitious Persians in check. Amid this pressure the democracy in Athens is reexamined and some citizens desire a change, either through legal reforms or terror tactics. This episode covers approximately 413 BC – 411 BC.

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Echoes of Glory

Nicias and Alcibiades have both gained political power but can’t push past the other. The gridlock is broken when representatives from a Sicilian town show up asking for help and offering to foot the bill for Athenian assistance. In a rapid escalation, the Athenians agree not only to help but to send an armada to Sicily to bring down Syracuse. One step at a time the Athenians throw everything they have into the Sicilian expedition. This episode covers approximately 416 B.C – 413 B.C.

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That Leviathan

Nicias and Alcibiades struggle for control of Athens after a power vacuum appears. The back and forth leads to an Athens that pursues no grand strategy but plays a game of rapid, hectic tactics. All of Greece is swept up in political pinball as the traditional allies of Sparta reconsider their place in Greece and Sparta struggles to reclaim its political standing. As the stakes rise, Athens rebrands its role as the head of its empire and does whatever is necessary to keep control. This episode covers approximately 421 B.C. – 415 B.C.

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They Created A Desert

Bolstered by a recent victory, Athens follows Cleon further into war in hopes of achieving absolute victory. There are many areas where victory is needed. Once back on the streets of the city we meet Socrates who is busy asking everybody he can irritating questions. Questioning your assumptions may be the basis to a true understanding of yourself and society, although it can be very frightening. This episode covers approximately 425 B.C. – 422 B.C.

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