Helen of Athens

A lone woman comes to Athens. In a span of six years she somehow becomes a household name. Meanwhile, Athens tries to find some more permanent peace solution with Sparta as they face rebellions across their territory. The first existential threat that Athens has had to face in decades is beginning to show its face. This episode covers approximately 450 BC – 440 BC.

Cheat Sheet:


Aspasia: A lone traveler to Athens from Miletus. Little is known about her early years in Athens but she establishes a school of some variety and in the mid 440s moved in with Pericles. She is seen as intelligent by virtually everyone but some question how much influence she has over Pericles… and therefore Athens.

Pericles: The effective leader of Athens. Elected to general several times by now we actually only shapes Athenian policy through convincing the masses and keen political skills. This episode sees his reaching the peak of his influence and we begin an unbroken streak of nearly a decade and a half of him elected to power every year as a general.

Protagoras: One of the greatest in the Sophists movement of his time. He is a big believer in moral relativism and claims that "man is the measure of all things." He is in the inner circle of Pericles.

Anaxagoras: The Galileo of his day. He is fascinated with the heavens and the way they work. Though, in this fascination with the natural world, he dismisses the gods. Also in the inner circle of Pericles. 

Notable Cities

Miletus: Aside from being the home of Aspasia and the center of culture for its region, this city on the western bank of modern day Turkey rebels twice against Athens. Athens generally treats it leniently though and eventually has to aid it in its struggle against Samos.

Samos: A large island off the coast of modern day Turkey, the city here is one of the few actual autonomous members of the Athenian lead alliance. However, they have an open disdain for Athens and author a rebellion that may lead to Athens’ demise.

Megara: Located to the west of Athens, they are strategically located between Athens and the isthmus leading to Corinth and Sparta.