The most honorable man of Athens according to Herodotus: Aristides. His sense of morality, justice, and prudence, made him famous all over the Greek world. He was reputed to be so fair-minded, that he was known to everyone as Aristides ‘the Just’ (dikaios). He was so scrupulously honest that, in spite of the wealth that passed through his hands, he remained poor. Now, sometime in … Continue reading Ostracism & Aristides
The Stoa of Attalos is the only example of a fully restored ancient shopping arcade. It was built by and named after Attalos II, King of Pergamon, as a gift to the city that gave him his higher education. It’s an impressive two-storey building, 116 m x 19.4 m (381 ft x 63 ft 8 in), with a Doric colonnade on the ground floor, and … Continue reading Stoa of Attalos
Our democracies today are representative. We elect politicians, politicians govern us. In Ancient Athens, you were ruling yourself. Participation was seen as a fundamental element of Democracy. Athenians that behaved as ‘private citizens’ were seen through a negative eye and actually the Greek word for private citizen is “idiotes”, which is where the word ‘idiot’ comes from! Plato wrote that ‘one of the penalties … Continue reading Influencing the vote
In a lesser known book of Plato, we find Socrates in the Athenian Agora coming across Euthypro – a soothsayer he knew well – and the two men engage in a short conversation just outside the Royal Stoa. After sharing their news, the two men engage in an argument about morality. Their conversation ended abruptly after Euthyphro felt a bit cornered and found an excuse … Continue reading What makes us moral? (The Euthyphro Dilemma)
The Parian Chronicle is a chronology of events, inscribed on a marble stele, covering more than 12 centuries of Ancient Greek history. Focusing a lot on events linked with the city-state of Athens, this chronicle presents us with a timeline from the year 1582 BC to 299 BC. It’s a unique timeline that, surprisingly enough, few scholars are familiar with. Most people don’t even know … Continue reading Parian Marble
Imagine a system of taxation where only the rich contribute, while middle and lower class citizens don’t have to pay any taxes. On top of that, imagine that in this system, the rich love to pay their taxes and they sometimes compete who’s going to pay more! Sounds crazy? The monument of Lysicratres in Athens, stands as a solid proof that this crazy idea was … Continue reading Best Tax-System ever?
When in Athens, you know you’re in the favorite city of goddess Athena. Athena is accompanied by an owl, which over time became her symbol and one of the symbols of Athens too. The exact reason why the owl became a bird sacred to Athena is lost in time. No story survives that gives us a clear explanation but we can piece together bits from … Continue reading The owl of Athena