General Knowledge

The Rise and Fall of Athenian Democracy

2500 years ago, the small city-state of Athens helped lead a barely-united Greece to victory against the massive, invincible forces of the invading Persian Empire. Out of that fiery crucible, a culture and an ethos arose in Athens that gave birth to the humanistic ideals on which Europe was founded and through which she prospered. In less than a century, the citizens of Athens either created or brought to perfection most of those arts and disciplines that still define our Western culture today. In this series, I shall trace the events that led to the birth and flowering of Athenian democracy, study the forces that led to its downfall, and consider its lasting legacy.

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Created by Louis Markos
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2h 21m
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About the author

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Louis Markos, PhD, Professor in English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities. His two lecture series with The Teaching Company/Great Courses and twenty-one books include "From Plato to Postmodernism," "From Achilles to Christ," "From Plato to Christ," "The Myth Made Fact: Reading Greek Mythology through Christian Eyes," and Worldview Guides to the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid. The information covered in this series is discussed in much greater detail in his Ancient Voices: An Insider's Look at Classical Greece.