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Who were the Lydians? West Asian history

By |2018-09-17T15:26:42+00:00September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

A Lydian gold coin King Gyges About 687 BC, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, King Gyges started the new country of Lydia (LID-ee-ah), in modern Turkey where the Hittites had ruled before the Dark Age. Who were the Hittites? When was Herodotus writing? Now that the Assyrian Empire had collapsed, and the Neo-Babylonians were not very strong, it was pretty [...]

Oracles in ancient Greece – definition of a Greek oracle

By |2018-05-31T23:37:52+00:00July 16th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

What is an oracle? The Greek oracle at Dodona in northern Greece Greek oracle definition: What is an oracle? The definition of the word oracle is actually pretty tricky. The word oracle in Greek can mean several related things, because Greek had fewer words than English does. An oracle means a god who predicts the [...]

Cassandra and the fall of Troy

By |2018-04-23T10:13:17+00:00July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

The Cassandra myth: Ajax the Lesser drags Cassandra away from the statue of Athena Apollo curses Cassandra Cassandra was a priestess of Apollo in Troy before the Trojan War. She was very beautiful, and Apollo saw her and fell in love with her.  He offered her the gift of prophecy (being able to see  what [...]

Greek religion – ancient Greece

By |2017-07-13T02:34:25+00:00July 13th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Athena protects her worshippers (Andokides Painter, ca. 520 BC) Greek religion was a mixture of old Minoan beliefs, Central Asian gods that the Indo-Europeans brought to Greece, and West Asian ideas they got from their neighbors. Like all of those people, people in ancient Greece believed that there were invisible, powerful gods and spirits that could control what happened to you. Most people also thought [...]

Delphi oracle – Predicting the future

By |2018-04-23T09:48:52+00:00July 12th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Temple of Apollo at Delphi Delphi (DELL-fee), in central Greece, seems to have been a sacred shrine even before the Greeks arrived in Greece around 2100 BC. Later Greek myth said that Delphi was originally sacred to a giant snake, but when Apollo came he killed the snake and took over its shrine. [...]

The Curse of the Alcmaeonids

By |2018-04-22T23:02:15+00:00July 7th, 2017|Greeks, History|

Alcmaeonid curse: These skeletons of men who were killed with their hands tied may be some of Cylon's supporters. The Alcmaeonids (alk-MEE-oh-nids) were a very rich family who lived in Athens in the Archaic and Classical periods. "Alcmaeonids" means the descendants of Alcmaeon. The Athenians thought that all the Alcmaeonids were under a [...]

Athens under the Tyrants – Ancient Greece

By |2017-07-06T22:14:18+00:00July 6th, 2017|Government, Greeks, History|

Obol minted under Pisistratus with the head of Medusa At first people were happy with Solon's changes. They had their farms back, and they didn't owe any money, and they weren't being killed for little things. They could (if they were free men) be judges and vote in the Assembly. But the people [...]

Ancient Greek climate, plants, and animals

By |2018-09-17T07:53:12+00:00July 6th, 2017|Environment, Greeks|

Ancient Greek climate: The island of Rhodes Good fishing Fishing was very important to early Stone Age people, and fishing is probably what brought the first people to Greece. No part of Greece is more than about forty miles from the sea: a couple of days walking. So Greece was a great place [...]

What is the I Ching? Ancient Chinese religion

By |2018-04-18T09:54:15+00:00June 7th, 2017|China, Religion|

Nobody knows for sure who wrote the I Ching, or when. But most scholars think somebody wrote the I Ching around 800 BC, during the last years of the Western Zhou Dynasty in China. That makes the I Ching the oldest piece of writing in China other than the oracle bones. Like the earlier oracle [...]