Is this Shhhparta? In this episode Jeff and Dave (with help from Peter Green) make their way toward the narrow pass at Thermopylae and lay the groundwork for one of the most crucial and mythic battles in the history of Western civilization. What led up to this heroic and tragic encounter? We watch as Darius the Great gets out-run at Marathon, Darius’ son Xerxes I seeks revenge with a horde of wicker-wearing Immortals, and the Greeks squabble over where to make a stand and how to pronounce “isthmus”. Join us by channeling your inner Leonidas and inexplicably brushing up on your Scottish accent.
Ad Navseam Episode 18: Cranks for the Memories – William Perkins, Alexander Dicson, and the Ars Memoriae
Don’t forget to join us this week as we ask the question, “What’s the best way to develop a super memory?” 16th century memory mavens William Perkins and Alexander Dicson each thought he knew best, and the result was a full-on, throttle-your-Aristotle dustup. Leaning on more familiar thinkers Giordano Bruno and Peter Ramus, P and D hash out competing memory systems. Should it be image-based, or use dialectical trees? Do walnuts and a decent haircut help? Come along with us for a tour de force of – wait, what was that again? And be sure to check our social media for a free giveaway of the big fat Perkins Volume 6.
This week Dave and Jeff wade into the deep waters of Greek Tragedy for the first time with a two-part look at Euripides’ Alcestis. Even devotees of tragedy may not be familiar with this one! But before we get there we poke around at a few questions: why did tragedy arise in Athens? Why did actors wear masks, and what's a deus ex machina? Then it’s on to Euripides himself—a poet well ahead of his time and the man the Athenians loved to hate—and his macabre marital masterpiece Alcestis. Apollo and Thanatos (NOT the purple guy) trade rap-battle insults while hubby Admetus behaves so insufferably maybe you’d die to get away from him too!
Filling every nook and cranny, Jeff and Dave this week focus on their fears, and the 8th century B.C. pottery masterpiece known as the Dipylon Vase. What drives an artist and a culture to create a work like this in which every inch of the surface is covered? Is there something to this “fear of the empty space”? What about the funeral scene that dominates the titular objet d'art, and when is that crunchy, creamy Jif sponsorship coming through? So come on in for a whirlwind tour of early Greek art, play a quick game of Where’s Waldopolous?, and even learn about Edward Hopper’s influence on Alfred Hitchcock. And don’t forget to water the ferns…unless you’re a pteridophobe, that is.
This week Jeff and Dave tag along with Cicero to sunny Tuscany where they find Cato Uticensis knee-deep in a pile of books on Stoicism. Gorging on books (helluari libris) and literary addiction (aviditas legendi) is our theme as we share favorite authors and works from the ancient and modern worlds. First up is a primo piatto of Plato, followed by savory servings of Sophocles, and Apuleian “afters.” If you still have room for more, stroll out with Jeff and Kazantzakis for a nightcap on Crete, and join Dave as he doles out cigars and Scotch to C.S. Lewis and Thomas Sowell. Which books have you feasted on recently?
This week Dave and Jeff access a Pylon and head back to the beginning—Hesiod’s Theogony (c. 700 BC), the closest thing we get to a canonical creation myth for the ancient Greeks. In between aggressive sickle-wielding, “foam births”, and largely pointless references to ‘90s movies, we find out where both the gods and the physical universe come from and why, in the end, Zeus does it best. If that’s not enough, tune in to witness Dave actually letting Jeff recite some Greek for once, two Aphrodites for the price of one, and big daddy Kronos angling for a guest-spot.
Jeff and Dave get into the dirt with the archaic Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.) and his seminal poem Works and Days. Is this near contemporary a match for Homer or does he deserve his (well-cultivated) second banana status? What should we think about the justice of Zeus, two kinds of competition (was Hesiod a capitalist?), fire-stealing, the myth of Pandora, and whether might makes right? Don't miss the five ages of mankind, from Golden right down through the Iron(ic), Age of Ultron in which we live. And one more thing--if you're not buying your fennel by the stalk, are you doing it right?
Jeff and Dave lead you on a tour down into the Scavi below St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. We take a look at some of the historical and archaeological evidence for the martyrdom and burial of the Apostle Peter. Did Peter die in Rome? Was he buried there? What is the long history of this site, from the reign of Nero, Constantine the Great, and Pope Julius II, right down to the mysteries and intrigue of Pope Pius XII and the brilliant Italian archaeologist Margherita Guarducci? What is so important about the 'graffiti wall'? Also, tune in for the special coupon code from our fabulous new sponsor, Hackett Publishing.