Ancient Greek History 1: From the Origins of Greeks to the Greco-Persian Wars

Spyridon (Spiros) Loumakis
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(737)
In this 19-week class the student will delve into ancient Greek History (up to the 470s BCE), discuss major ideas, personalities and events, and combine them with the material culture, artistic expression and religious beliefs of the Greeks

Class experience

US Grade 7 - 9
Intermediate Level
In this course the students will be able to appreciate the beauty and importance of the study of history. Having studied myself history at a graduate and postgraduate level, and trained in archaeological excavations, ancient languages (Greek, Latin), and the use of various aspects of ancient material culture (art, architecture, coins etc), I want to bring this full picture to my classes. 

We will discuss together in class not just about events and personnalities of ancient Greek history, but also about major Greek monuments, Greek art, Greek religion, Greek society, and classical Greek texts in English translation, so as to understand Greek history in its entirety. The epistemological approach according to which History means facts based on reliable primary sources, remains still relevant for me, if not necessary today.
Ancient History means also appreciating ancient cultures, respecting them, learning from their mistakes, and admiring them for their accompishments. History can be also used as a point of reference or a measure of comparison between an ancient pre-modern society and our contemporary post-modern world. 

For students who are taking Greek History classes at their school, this class can be used as a supplementary class to refresh their memory, strengthen their knowledge, advance their understading and sharpen their critical thinking.   
I have a B.A. and M.A. in Ancient Greek and Roman History and Archaeology, as well as an M.A. in History and Philosophy of Religions. I have excavated in ancient Greek sites, I speak Latin and ancient Greek and I am currently finishing my PhD. 
Homework Offered
Homework, designed to take no more than an hour in total per week, will be assigned in two forms: (a) the students will have to read carefully a source sheet of primary sources from ancient Greek literature in English translation (chosen and distributed by me in advance each week), related to each weeks topic, in order to enrich class discussion, with the purpose of introducing the student in the skill of critical thinking, (b) an optional Mid-Term quiz for classes 1 to 9 will be distributed during the 10th week, and a second optional final quiz for classes 10-19 at the end of the course.
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
I do not believe that a letter grade is meaningful for an one-on-one tutorial. However, as I often do with my camps, which are small classes (up to 5 or 6 students), I communicate with the parents and the children directly, providing my personal comments, private feedback and an informal assessment.
Grades Offered
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
In the ancient Greek art gods are depicted often (but not always) naked. The Greek word for a naked man is "gymnos" and that is why in English today we say "gymnastics" or "gym" although our children and athletes wear uniforms. This being said, any artistic reproduction in ancient art should be expected to show nude gods. I try to use as less as possible, but it is not always within my hands since this is the nature of the ancient Greek art itself. Since, it is an art that comes from an era where there were no photographs, or videos, the art is found only on painted vases, wall paintings and sculpture. Nudity was never meant to provoke, but to tell to the ancient viewer that gods are not mortal humans and, thus, they do not need clothes. As you may very well understand, I cannot change the history of art, nor my preference as teacher of mythology to show students the original art from ancient times.
Throughout the class and in the form of homework, students will discuss in class under my guidance and read at home before class illuminating sources by the two greatest Greek historians (Herodotus and Thucydides). They are all provided by me in English translations by the excellent series of Oxford World's Classics and/or Penguin Classics. 

A great online source which I personally use and recommend to students, is Perseus Digital Library (section Collections/Texts), under the auspices of Tufts University, available here: 

In addition, archaeology, art, architecture, epigraphy and numismatics will be used, whenever relevant, to enlighten aspects of ancient Greek history that are not so apparent in the classical historical accounts listed above. My background in all these fields will guide students through these peculiar sub-fields of history, in order to be abe to "read" them and complete their knowledge. 

The goal is to apprehend the bigger picture of ancient history in the eastern Mediterranean, and open the mind of modern learners by including aspects of the Persian culture and civilization. The Persians were the arch-enemy of the Greeks, and the typical "other" in their biased historical narrative. On the contrary, Persians had not left behind but a few literary traces. With my scientific knowledge and University training of the ancient Persian civilization (which was my minor in my second M.A. degree) I will guide them through the traces the ancient Persians left in architecture and art, as well as in Old Persian inscriptions.   

Finally, the class is not only based on my 20-years of experience in the scientific study of this era, but also on a long list of modern sources, of which a small sample is the following one:

Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History by Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan et al. (Oxford, 2017)
The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought by Christopher Rowe and Malcolm Schofield, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 1: Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War  by Charles W. Fornara (Cambridge University Press, 1983)
A History of the Greek City States, 700-338 B. C. by Raphael Sealey (University of California Press, 1976
Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical by Walter Burkert (Wiley-Blackwell, 1991)
A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000-323 BC by Marc Van De Mieroop (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015)
A History of Ancient Persia: The Achaemenid Empire by Maria Brosius (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020)

Meet the teacher

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(737)
As a father of two young kids, I put a lot of effort so as to entertain them in a productive, and educational way, making sure I feed their natural curiosity and encourage them to keep asking questions. Undoubtedly, television and video games are... 
Group Class


weekly or $380 for 19 classes
1x per week, 19 weeks
60 min

Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(6)
Completed by 24 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 12-15
3-7 learners per class

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