Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Background on Oikos and Polis from Ryan Stitt

Ryan Stitt's series of podcasts entitled A History of Ancient Greece is now on its 99th post. I've listened to several posts -- maybe a couple of dozen -- and found each to be full of observant detail, and rewarding for the clarity that comes with simply reporting on how these people saw the world. (I've come to believe that if we all spoke Athenian Greek, we'd be spared a world of confusion.)

After skipping around I've now gone back to the beginning. Two posts I've just been listening to offer superb background as we turn to The Eumenides. If nothing else, the Oresteia is a panorama that begins on the rooftop of a king's house and ends in the public space of Athens, where Justice is performed.

The two I have in mind are:

From Oikos to Polis - Stitt traces the key transition from the world of Homer and the "dark ages" of the ancient world to the beginnings of the civic realm fully realized a few centuries in Athens, Corinth, and other cities.

Oligarchs and Hesiod - Continuing with the economic and demographic underpinnings of the transition, and its reflection in the poetry of Hesiod.

These podcasts are freely available through many channels -- Spotify, TuneIn, YouTube, Pandora -- and more. A list is available in the right column of his blog, which offers supplementary materials - links, images, scholarly studies for each podcast.