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Ancient Greece Declassified

The podcast that transports you to the ancient world and back, with some good conversation along the way. It's not just about ancient Greece. It's about a huge chunk of human history that the Greek texts give us access to: from Egypt and Babylon, to ancient Persia, to Carthage and Rome, we'll sail the wine-dark sea of history with some expert guides at the helm. Topics include archaeology, literature, and philosophy. New episode every month.
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Jan 9, 2017

Historian Josiah Ober of Stanford University joins us for a discussion on classical Athens and how the Athenian system compared to our own democracy. As Ober writes in his recent book The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece,

“Democracy and growth define the normal...conditions of modernity: Autocracy, while still prevalent, is regarded as aberrant, so that most autocrats pretend to be democrats.... These conditions were not normal, or even imaginable, for most people through most of human history. But, for several centuries in the first millennium BCE, democracy and growth were normal for citizens in ancient Greece."

Ober's book brings together archaeological data, economic theory, and historical and demographic models in order to explain the political developments of the classical Greek world. In it, he suggests that the Ancient Greek world was historically exceptional in many of the same ways that our modern world is. If that's true, what lessons, if any, can we take away from the Athenian experience?

Don't forget to check out the web page for this episode at greecepodcast.com/5 where you can join the conversation and vote in a poll we've set up about the future of democracy.

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