Episodes: 36 - 47

36: Herodotus, The Father of History

“Herodotus of Halicarnassus here presents his research so that human events do not fade with time. May the great and wonderful deeds – some brought forth by the Hellenes, others by the barbarians – not go unsung; as well as the causes that led them to make war on each other.”

These are the opening lines of one of the oldest works of history written by Herodotus, labelled the father of history. In this episode I turn to looking at who Herodotus was, what he covers in his histories and how he went about putting it together.

37: Herodotus, The Father of Lies

“because it is simple and lacking in effort and easily runs over events, has thoroughly deceived many people” (Plutarch, on the Malice of Herodotus)

Herodotus, the father of history has also been tared with the title, Herodotus the father of Lies. This comes from his willingness to include strange and fantastical tales throughout his work. Though, a number of his reports that were long thought made up have been vindicated in our times. In this episode we will be turning to looking at Herodotus’ reliability, his critics and the criticisms they level at him.

38: The Greek Periphery, Sicily

The Island of Sicily, just below Italy would be one of the first areas colonised by the Greeks during the 8th century migrations. Later the island would be known as Magna Grecia, greater Greece, due to the number of Greek cities that would come to dot the island. In this episode I will look at the early history of Sicily before the Greeks arrival, which is covered in mystery and still debated to this day. Then we will look at the initial colonising activities of the Greeks.

39: Sicily, Conflict and Tyrants

Greek colonies would continue to be founded on Sicily as a new wave of expeditions would flow from the Greek mainland into the 6th Century BC. This continued growth in the region would see competition over trade and the trade routes start to develop between the Greeks and Phoenicians. One of the largest Phoenician cities Carthage now a power in its own right would take measures to secure it interest in the western Mediterranean, while the Greek cities would start to see the emergence of Tyrants in a number of their cities, following in the footsteps of their mother cities.

40: Sicily, The battle of Himera

The Greeks by the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC had expanded and were now well and truly established on Sicily. As events were moving towards the Greco-Persian war over in Greece, Sicily would see the rise to power of the most powerful Tyrant yet, Gelon. He would bring many Greek cities under his influencing, including the wealthy city of Syracuse. Though, the Greeks would face their own invasion crisis coming from Carthage, which would see the first Sicilian War develop.

41: The Greek Periphery, Thrace

North East of Greek lands would be another region that would enter the Greek periphery as Greece was emerging from the dark ages. The Greeks would refer to the peoples that occupied these lands as the Thracians. Though, these people would be a lose collection of tribes with a shared common culture rather than a united people. Herodotus would say of the Thracians; “If they could all be united under one ruler and think the same way, they would, in my opinion, be the most invincible and strongest of all nations. But that is impossible; it will never happen, since their weakness I that they are incapable of uniting and agreeing.”

42: Thrace: Crossroads of Campaigns

The Thracians would become famous for their fighting abilities in foreign armies as mercenaries, often fulfilling the role of skirmishes, excelling at hit and run tactics. Though, in the 6th and early 5th centuries we receive very little detail of their battles. We do hear that they were able to defeat Greek colonists and inflict heavy losses on the Persians during a period that their lands would become a crossroads of campaigning for the Persian empire with their attempts to expand north to Scythia and west towards Macedon and Greece.

43: The Greek Periphery, Macedon

The Macedonian kingdom would develop on the Periphery of the Greek world becoming intertwined in Greek affairs as the centuries past. Though before this, their origins would only come down to us through references in myth and from the traditional tales related by ancient writers. The Macedonians, themselves would present the ruling dynasty as descending from the hero Heracles, with its founder Perdiccas being exiled from the polis of Argos. He would unite local tribes up in the Balkan region establishing the Kingdom of Macedon, before then expansion would see the kingdom grow.

44: Macedon, Balancing Interests

As the Greek and Persian wars would enter into the historical record, so to would one of Macedonia’s kings. Alexander the first of Macedon and its seventh ruler would be the first to be given more detail treatment in a historical work. Alexander would be shown as a king in a precarious position on the eve of the Greco-Persian Wars. He held a strong relationship with the Greeks and held a particular friendship with Athens. Though, having submitted to Xerxes and with Persia occupying his lands, Alexander was forced to play a delicate balancing act as the war unfolded.

45: The Greek Periphery, Anatolia

Coming Soon

28th January 2022