Odyssey

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Nero’s Golden House – Domus Aurea – Rome

By |2018-04-24T23:35:24+00:00August 26th, 2017|Architecture, Romans|

The inside of Nero's Gold en House: it's very dark! After the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD, the Roman Emperor Nero took advantage of the space where many buildings had burned down to build himself a new palace right in the middle of downtown Rome, which he called the Golden House ( in Latin, that's the Domus [...]

Anna Comnena’s Alexiad – Byzantine literature

By |2017-08-03T21:02:22+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Anna Comnena, author of the Alexiad Anna Comnena was born a princess in 1083 AD, the oldest child of the Byzantine emperor Alexios. She was named for her grandmother, the powerful empress Anna, who ruled the Empire whenever Alexios was away fighting wars. This Anna raised her granddaughter, little Anna, with the hope that she would [...]

Arabic language and literature

By |2018-04-08T01:10:49+00:00July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Sabataean writing Arabic is in the Semitic language group. Semitic languages seems to have gotten started before the beginning of writing, somewhere near modern Syria. They spread from there through Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan down to the Arabian peninsula. Because the Arabian peninsula was more isolated, people there kept speaking an older version of the language. [...]

Menelaus and Helen – Trojan War

By |2018-04-23T09:02:50+00:00July 15th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Menelaus and Helen lived in Sparta  Menelaus was the son of Atreus, so he was also the younger brother of Agamemnon. The older brother, Agamemnon, inherited his father's kingdom at Mycenae. So Menelaus didn't have a kingdom. Instead, he competed with everyone else and won the contest to marry Helen. Helen was the daughter of the [...]

Who was Ajax? The Iliad – Greek mythology

By |2018-04-23T10:06:15+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Ajax carrying the dead Achilles He brought back the body of Achilles Ajax was one of the great heroes of the Trojan War. He was the king of Salamis, near Athens. Homer says Ajax was a very big and strong man. Only his cousin Achilles, who he had gone to school with, was a better fighter. When Achilles [...]

Who is Athena? Ancient Greek gods

By |2018-04-23T08:41:51+00:00July 12th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Birth of Athena Athena is one of the younger Greek goddesses; she is Zeus's daughter. Her mother was Metis (Wisdom). The story is that Zeus swallowed Metis, already pregnant with Athena, and then Athena was born, fully grown and armed, out of the head of Zeus. One day Zeus complained that he had [...]

Who was Homer? Greek epic literature

By |2018-04-23T09:02:17+00:00July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Cup by Sophilos, showing a race from the Iliad (as the inscription says - Athens, ca. 570 BC) To the classical Greeks, Homer's epics played very much the same role that the Bible plays for a lot of people today. People memorized big chunks of Homer's writings in school, and they repeated bits [...]

Athena in Homer’s Odyssey

By |2018-04-23T08:41:50+00:00July 9th, 2017|Greeks, Literature, Religion|

Athena in the Odyssey: Odysseus and Athena, on a red-figure vase Athena in the Odyssey In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Athena was on the side of the Greeks, because she hated the Trojans. Athena hated the Trojans because Paris was a Trojan and he had voted against her in the Judgment of [...]

Ancient Greek houses – Where did Greek people live?

By |2018-08-21T20:25:33+00:00July 1st, 2017|Architecture, Greeks|

Ancient Greece house foundations at Alkyrnas, in western Greece near Patras What is a courtyard house? Beginning in the Bronze Age, and continuing through to modern times, most Greek houses, like Egyptian and West Asian houses, were grouped in villages, and had a courtyard in the middle, open to the sunshine, and rooms [...]