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Thomas Paine – American Philosophy

By |2017-08-14T13:00:34+00:00August 14th, 2017|North America, Philosophy|

Thomas Paine (by Matthew Pratt, about 1790) In the late 1700s AD, around the same time that Voltaire, du Chatelet, and Rousseau were writing philosophy in France, and Hume was writing in England, Thomas Paine was writing philosophy in America. Paine was born in England, and his father was a Quaker, and owned a small business. Young Paine didn't go to [...]

Victorian England – British History

By |2018-04-11T09:32:48+00:00August 6th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom When the King of England, William IV, died in 1837, his niece Victoria became queen of England. She was also the queen of many other countries. But she was only 18 years old. Like the kings before her in England, Victoria didn't really have much power. Her Prime [...]

Greek hoplites and democracy – Classical Greece

By |2018-05-30T23:35:45+00:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Greek hoplites and democracy - a Corinthian helmet from the 600s BC Hoplites needed armor When the Greek city-states turned to this new hoplite way of fighting, it meant that each man had to have the right armor. Nobody could fight without a shield, and a helmet, and all that. So you could only be a [...]

Who was Demosthenes? ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T08:49:34+00:00July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Demosthenes Life of Demosthenes Demosthenes was born in Athens about 385 BC, in the Hellenistic period. He was an Athenian citizen from a rich family (though not a VERY rich family like Plato) and so he got a good education. Demosthenes' parents died when he was only seven years old, and his guardians [...]

Antigone – Sophocles – Summary

By |2018-04-23T08:27:51+00:00July 9th, 2017|History|

Antigone at her brother's grave, from the Louvre (Paris) Sophocles' Antigone Antigone is a play that Sophocles wrote. He was an Athenian, who lived in the 400s BC.  The play tells the story of Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus. It takes place in Thebes, a traditional enemy of Athens. People in Athens especially hated Thebes [...]

Who was Aeschylus? Athenian playwright

By |2018-04-23T07:40:50+00:00July 9th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Aeschylus's plays were performed in the Theater of Dionysos here on the Acropolis below the Parthenon in Athens Biography of Aeschylus Aeschylus (ESS-kill-us) is the earliest playwright in any language whose plays survive today, though other Greek men did write plays a little earlier. Aeschylus lived in Athens in the late 500s and [...]

Sicilian expedition – Peloponnesian War

By |2017-07-09T01:19:34+00:00July 9th, 2017|Greeks, History|

Alcibiades (from a later portrait done after he was dead) The Peloponnesian war was not going so well for Athens. So the Athenians decided to try a really dramatic, aggressive move. A young Athenian general named Alcibiades (al-se-BUY-a-dees) had a plan. He convinced the Athenian Assembly to send almost the entire Athenian army [...]

End of the Peloponnesian War

By |2018-03-30T20:12:43+00:00July 9th, 2017|Greeks, History|

The end of the Peloponnesian War: Tissaphernes, the Persian satrap Alcibiades changes sides The Spartans defeated the Sicilian Expedition in 415 BC. Plus, now they had the help of the Athenian general Alcibiades, who had gone over to the Spartan side. Alcibiades taught the Spartans how to fight naval battles.So the Spartans started [...]

Battle of Marathon – First Persian War – Ancient Greece

By |2017-12-22T09:46:02+00:00July 7th, 2017|Greeks, History|

Battle of Marathon: The plain of Marathon The First Persian War The Persians were attacking Greece! They landed at Marathon in the fall of 490 BC. When the Athenians heard that the Persians had landed, the citizens (the free men) met in their assembly to decide what to do. Should Athens fight or [...]

Thebes – a city in ancient Greece

By |2017-07-07T01:09:59+00:00July 7th, 2017|Government, Greeks, History|

Thebes bell in the shape of a person, 700 BC (Louvre Museum, Paris) In Greek mythology, Thebes was where Oedipus lived with his mother-wife Jocasta. It was where Oedipus' daughter Antigone died, and where Dionysos drove Pentheus mad. In Thebes, Niobe boasted about her children, and Medea killed her children. The Athenians (who we get [...]