Euripides: Alcestis

In the 2004 film, Alexander, Alexander the Great addresses his army before the battle of Gaugamela – “I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: conquer your fear and I promise you, you will conquer death!” Conquering death is a feat that has fascinated mankind from time immemorial. Mankind has devised many ways to achieve this feat. Some cultures have advised that people can conquer death by performing heroic deeds and thereby achieve immortal fame. Other cultures have created resurrection myths, which narrate a hero’s victory over death and return to life. In this video, we will explore the resurrection myth of Alcestis, as presented by the Ancient Greek playwright Euripides. Continue reading

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Thucydides: Melian Dialogue

In his 2012 book, On Politics, political historian Alan Ryan reflects on the conflict between Athens and Melos during the Peloponnesian War – “It is famous as the worst atrocity committed by a usually decent society, but even more as one of the most famous assertions in history of the rights of unbridled power.” In this video, we will explore the encounter between the Political Realism of Athens and the Political Idealism of Melos. Continue reading

Aristophanes: The Clouds

The Clouds, written by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, is a work of Old Comedy. Old Comedy is a comedic genre that utilizes satire, caricature, and vulgar dialogue to ridicule public figures, politics, ideas, trends, and institutions. The drama is very amusing and entertaining, but it also expresses serious concern about the radical new ideas arising in Athens at the time of the play. Aristophanes chiefly focuses on the new ideas espoused by Socrates and by the Sophists, and emphasizes the threat these new ideas pose to traditional values and morals. Continue reading