Ancient Greek History - Video
by Donald Kagan
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(CLCV 205) This is an introductory course in Greek history tracing the development of Greek civilization as manifested in political, intellectual, and creative achievements from the Bronze Age to the end of the classical period. Students read original sources in translation as well as the works of modern scholars. This course was recorded in Fall 2007.
|1||Video01 - Introduction||Professor Donald Kagan explains why people should study the ancient Greeks. He argues that the Greeks are worthy of our study not only because of their vast achievements and contributions to Western civilization (such as in the fields of science, law...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|2||Video02 - The Dark Ages||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan explores the earliest history of Greek civilization. He demonstrates how small agricultural enclaves eventually turned into great cities of power and wealth in the Bronze Age, taking as his examples first Minoan ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|3||Video03 - The Dark Ages (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Kagan addresses what scholars call the Homeric question. He asks: what society do Homer's poems describe? He argues that in view of the long oral transmission of the poems, the poems of Homer probably reflect various ages...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|4||Video04 - The Rise of the Polis||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan offers a sketch of the Greek heroic code of ethics. He shows that in this community, arête (manly virtue) and honor are extremely important and even worth dying for, as the case of Achilles makes clear. In ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|5||Video05 - The Rise of the Polis (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan tells the story of the emergence of the polis from the Dark Ages. He shows that by the time of the poet Hesiod, there is already a polis in place. He describes the importance of the polis in the Greek world and ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|6||Video06 - The Greek "Renaissance" - Colonization and Tyranny||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan discusses the emergence of a new style of warfare among the Greeks, the hoplite phalanx. After discussing the panoply of the hoplite solider and the method of fighting, he argues that this style of fighting came...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|7||Video07 - The Greek "Renaissance" - Colonization and Tyranny (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan explores the rise of Greek colonies. He argues that the rise of new colonies was primarily due to the need for new farmland, although he acknowledges several other important reasons. He also shows where the ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|8||Video08 - Sparta||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan explores the rise, fall, and significance of tyrannies in the Greek polis. He argues that the various tyrannies in the Greek world had both negative and positive aspects, which need to be appreciated. For ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|9||Video09 - Sparta (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan explores the development and character of Sparta. He points out that in Sparta, the ethos of the polis was present to an extraordinary degree. Then he describes how this came about. In short, Professor Kagan ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|10||Video10 - The Rise of Athens||In this lecture, Professor Kagan finishes up his description of the Spartan constitution. He argues that Sparta had a mixed constitution and gained great power due to alliances that the Spartans made with their neighbors. After the discussion of ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|11||Video11 - The Rise of Athens (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Kagan traces the development of Athens. He argues that Athens, like other poleis, undergoes political and social turmoil due to the rise of the hoplite farmer. This unrest is first seen in the attempted coup d'état of Cylon ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|12||Video12 - The Persian Wars||In this lecture, Professor Kagan examines in detail the development, growing pains, and emergence of Athenian democracy. He argues that the tyranny under the Peisistratids led to the development of the idea of self-government among the Athenians...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|13||Video13 - The Athenian Empire||In this lecture, Professor Kagan traces the development and the power of the Persian empire. He also shows how the Persian empire and the Greek world eventually came into conflict through a few incidents concerning Ionian Greeks in Asia Minor, which ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|14||Video14 - The Athenian Empire (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Donald Kagan examines the developments that took place after the Greek victory over the Persians in 479 BC. He argues that even after the Greek victories, there was great fear amongst the Greeks that the Persians would ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|15||Video15 - Athenian Democracy||In this lecture, Professor Kagan describes the mechanics of the Delian League and its transformation into the Athenian empire. This transformation caused Athens to rival Sparta as an equal in power and prestige. He also argues that this process took...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|16||Video16 - Athenian Democracy (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Kagan continues to discuss the constitution of Athens. In particular, he explores the judicial workings of Athens. He describes in detail the effort of the Athenians to create a system of justice that would not only minimize ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|17||Video17 - The Peloponnesian War, Part I||In this lecture, Professor Kagan describes the events that lead up the Peloponnesian War. He argues that the rise of Athenian power and the concomitant challenge to Spartan dominance pointed to potential conflict. However, Professor Kagan also points ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|18||Video18 - The Peloponnesian War, Part I (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Kagan describes the aftermath of the Thirty Years Peace. He argues that the Peace had the potential to keep peace between Athens and Sparta due to the arbitration clause. In addition, he argues that during this time, Athens ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|19||Video19 - The Peloponnesian War, Part II||In this lecture, Professor Kagan focuses on the causes of the Peloponnesian War and the possible motivations for Thucydides' book, The History of the Peloponnesian War. Concerning the first point, Professor Kagan parts ways with Thucydides and argues ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|20||Video20 - The Peloponnesian War, Part II (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Kagan examines Pericles as a general. First, he describes Pericles' strategy of war and then he evaluates this strategy. According to Professor Kagan, Pericles' strategy was characterized by being both defensive and rational...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|21||Video21 - The Struggle for Hegemony in Fourth-Century Greece||In this lecture, Professor Kagan describes the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War and how the Spartans began to dominate other Greek poleis, instead of liberating them. The Spartan general Lysander at this point not only grows in influence and power...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|22||Video22 - The Struggle for Hegemony in Fourth-Century Greece (cont.)||In this lecture, Professor Kagan examines the continuation of Spartan tyranny over the Greek poleis and the response of the Greek world. According to Professor Kagan, it became clear that the Greek poleis needed to do something to check the power of ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|23||Video23 - Twilight of the Polis||In this lecture, Professor Kagan describes the growth of a new power: Thebes. Under the leadership of Epaminondas and Pelopidas, Thebes grows into a major power among the Greek cities. In fact, the Thebans even rout the Spartans in a standard hoplite ...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
|24||Video24 - Twilight of the Polis (cont.) and Conclusion||Overview: In this lecture, Professor Kagan tells the story of the rise of Philip and describes his early actions: unifying Macedon, defeating barbarian armies, and creating a new, professional, national army. According to Professor Kagan, through these...||10/9/09||Free||View In iTunes|
Great lecture style!
I picked this series up casually when I got my iPad, but became so engrossed in Kagan's lucid lecture style that I finished all 24 lectures and purchased the textbook and did the assigned readings! It's been 35 years since I was in college, and the experience was unexpected, to say the least!
I can't evaluate Kagan's presentation compared to other scholars, but found his knowledge and command of the topic very compelling. My only (minor) criticisms are that it would be beneficial to have graphics, maps, etc. in the lectures (I found myself holding a map of the Greek world in one hand and my iPad in the other) and, second, that Kagan's conservative views on present day politics (yes, he's THAT Kagan) to be a little heavy-handed.
All hoplites, all the time
This course is best described as a political or military history of Greece. Poets, philosophers, and artists are mentioned only when they are commenting on politics or history. Aristotle's "Constitution of Athens" is the only time he shows up; Plato's "Republic" --- but no mention of Plato's involvement with the tyranny that briefly took over Athens during his time --- Aristophanes plays enter in solely through a scene involving a disgruntled bumpkin waiting for a meeting of the Athenian Assembly, Euripides is mentioned only for taking refuge in Macedonia.
Mind you, the political history is great. You'll want to supplement the lectures with readings from Thucydides and Herodotus since Kagan doesn't cover things they cover well, but Kagan will also inspire you to do so.
A wonderful story by a great storyteller!
This course tracks the history of the the Greeks through it's epicenter: the Polis. Granted, the course strays a touch in order to allow for a broader picture, which is not a negative point at all. If you're looking to gain some fantastic comprehension of the Ancient Greek world, look no further. What a great class!