The Idealized Ship | Part 1: Curved, crowned, and garlanded

Both the Iliad and the Odyssey play a key role in our understanding of the ancient Greek ship, in her physical and her metonymic appearance. In this section we will consider the epithet korōnis [κορωνίς] that describes the form of the ancient Greek ship. The word in Greek that we translate as ‘form’ is ideā [ἰδέα]. There is also the word eidos [εἶδος]. In Plato there is no real difference… Read more

Aegina and its enmity with Athens

Aegina is a Greek island not far from Attica; it is well known for the Temple of Aphaia, situated on an elevated site. Figure 1: Temple of Aphaia On the island, there is also a city named Aegina, at the northwestern end of the island, with a famous little harbor. The temple of Apollo was the main sanctuary in the town of Aegina. The remains of the foundations are still… Read more

The Classic Ship | Part 3: The Battle of Salamis

In the last days of September of the year 480 BCE, King Xerxes proceeded to Athens, after having had his victory at Thermopylae. Also his naval forces moved southward for the final stroke. Among the Persian naval contingent were 120 triremes from Thrace, 100 ships from Ionia, 60 ships from Aeolia including Lesbos and Samos, and an unspecified number of ships from the Greek islands, including the Cyclades, and lastly,… Read more

The Classic Ship | Part 2: The Battle of Artemision

When the news of the Greek victory at Marathon (490 BCE) came to the Persian king Darius the Great, he first sent heralds to Hellas to demand earth and water—the usual token of submission—which he received from many cities of Greece. [1] He instructed Ionia and the islands to build ships and to enroll their best men for service against Hellas. King Darius died, and the royal power descended to… Read more

Law and Courts in Ancient Athens: A Brief Overview

When we investigate how the law and the courts of Classical Greece worked, the law of ancient Athens provides most of our source material. This overview will therefore focus on Athenian law in the fifth and fourth centuries, BCE.[1] Before that time, disputes were adjudicated by officials called archons. The archons may have heard testimony from parties and witnesses, may have questioned them, and perhaps the parties were allowed to… Read more