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Who were the Persians? Persian Empire – Iran – history

By |2018-04-25T23:56:36+00:00September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia, Where|

The Persians came from the Central Asian steppe The Persians and the Medes Around 1200 BC, some Indo-European people from Central Asia moved south into West Asia. These people were the Persians and the Medes. Nomads and cattle-herders in Central Asia The Persians and the Medes were distantly related to the Scythians, the Hittites, the Greeks and the Romans, and they spoke [...]

Oedipus Rex – Sophocles – Summary and Themes

By |2018-04-23T09:06:11+00:00July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Oedipus Rex: The shepherd tells his story to Oedipus, while Jocasta listens in horror (now in the Getty Museum) Sophocles wrote this very famous play in the 400s BC. It is mainly about fate, and how men do not control their own fate, no matter how much they try. It's about accepting that [...]

Medea – Euripides – Summary

By |2018-04-23T09:05:34+00:00July 10th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Medea: Creusa gets her new magic dress from a slave The Greek playwright Euripides wrote the play Medea in Athens, in the late 400s BC. It's about the opposition, the agon, between Greeks and barbarians, where the Greeks are rational, controlled people, and the barbarians are irrational, passionate, unthinking. In this way, the play [...]

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 [...]

Defeat at Thermopylae – Second Persian War

By |2018-04-23T08:07:48+00:00July 9th, 2017|Greeks, History|

Thermopylae The Spartans fought the Persians at the mountain pass of Thermopylae for three days, while the other Greek soldiers got safely away to the south. At the end of three days, every one of the three hundred Spartan soldiers was dead, along with the Spartan king, Leonidas. But meanwhile the Athenians and other [...]

Thermopylae – Xerxes and the Second Persian War

By |2018-04-23T08:07:20+00:00July 9th, 2017|Greeks, History, West Asia|

Map of Greece showing where Thermopylae is The Greeks heard that Xerxes and the Persians were coming. They disagreed about what to do. The Spartans and Corinthians wanted to abandon northern Greece and only defend southern Greece (where they were). But the Athenians insisted that they should try to defend northern Greece at the [...]

Battle of Plataea – Second Persian War

By |2018-04-23T07:20:43+00:00July 9th, 2017|Greeks, History|

Battle of Plataea: Iranian archers from the Persian Empire Battle of Plataea Now that the Greeks had won a major naval victory over the Persians at Salamis, they were braver. Now they were all eager to fight the Persian army on land too. So in the spring of 479 BC, when Xerxes sent [...]

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 [...]

The end of Sparta – Ancient Greece

By |2018-04-22T22:48:09+00:00July 7th, 2017|Government, Greeks, History|

The end of Sparta: a Spartan hoplite soldier Peloponnesian War In 441 BC, the Spartans decided that the Athenians were pushing everybody around too much, and they got an alliance of other city-states together (mainly Corinth) and attacked Athens to break up Athenian power. This is known as the Peloponnesian War, because Sparta [...]