Greek Poet Pindar

By: Amanda Burciaga

Critics Quote:

“Pindar (522-438 B.C.), the greatest Greek lyric poet, brought choral poetry to perfection. Unlike the personal lyrics of his predecessors, his works were meant to be recited by choruses of young men and women and accompanied by music.”

Pindar’s early life:

Pindar was born at Cynoscephalae, near Thebes, in Boeotia of a very prominent aristocratic family. He is the son of Daiphantus and Cleodice. He comes from and musically talented background of Flute-players. Flute playing is important at Delphi in the worship of Apollo and was perfected and highly regarded at Thebes. His parents provided a good education for Pindar as he attended elementary school in Thebes, and later sent off to Athens, where he was educated under Apollodorus, Agathocles, and Lasus of Hermione, a competitor of Simonides. After receiving further education in Athens he returns to Thebes. When back in Thebes Pindar competed in poetry contests with Myrtis and Corinna. At the age of 20, Pinder composed his first ode, Pythian Ode X! His earliest preserved Olympian Ode was composed in 484. Pindar traveled a lot throughout the Greek world and achieved a Panhellenic reputation and numerous commissions.

Ancient Thebes Greece Customs  (Thebes)

What Pindar is known for:

Pindar is known for being the greatest lyric poet of ancient Greece and the master of epinicia, choral odes celebrating victories achieved in the Pythian, Olympic, Isthmian, and Nemean games. Pindar’s poetry borrowed certain fundamental characteristics from the cultural traditions of his native Boeotia. His poetry has a conservative attitude of absolute adherence to aristocratic values, a rigorous sense of piety, and a familiarity with the great mythological heritage that descended from the Mycenaean period, c. 16th–12th century bc, and achieved a first systematic presentation, significantly, in the work of Pindar’s Boeotian predecessor Hesiod toward the end of the 8th century. As a young man Pindar went to Athens to complete and refine his poetic education. Pindar had a love for poetry. There are approximately Seventeen volumes of Pindar’s poetry. These volumes are comprised of almost every genre of choral lyric, that was known in antiquity. Though only four of the seven books of epinicia have survived completely throughout time. And the only reason those four had survived was because they were chosen by a teacher as a schoolbook in the 2nd century ad and somehow got preserved their. These four volumes of poetry are supplemented by a lot of fragments, and 20th-century finds of papyri have helped to put the pieces back together to contributed to a deeper understanding of Pindar’s achievements. There is evidence that shows that epinicia were Pindar’s ultimate masterpieces. These are split up as Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, or Nemean. The games in which the victories he celebrated were held; the epinicia number was a total of 44 odes in all.  While traveling he would have seen the homes and places where people lived who were aristocrats and the courts of the tyrants whose triumphs he sang. Although he generally preferred to stay loyal to his native land and live in his home town of Thebes. Pindar’s character was very humble and his standards and values, like his poetry, changed little if at all over the corse of his life.

(Side note: An ode is a formal, often ceremonious lyric poem that addresses and often celebrates a person, place, thing, or idea. Its stanza forms vary.)


The opening stanza of Olympian 1 may give the reader a glimpse of Pindar’s effortlessly metaphorical and allusive style:

“Best of all things is water; but gold, like a gleaming fire
by night outshines all pride of wealth beside.
But, my heart, would you chant the glory of games,
look no farther than the sun”

The significance and Influence Pindar had in Ancient Greek Society:

Pindar’s style of writing has influenced poetry throughout the years. Poetry itself plays an important role in art and literature composed in Ancient Greece. Poems and any form of Ancient writing allow us to catch a glimpse of what is going through the mind of people decades older than us, who lived in a world nothing like modern Western Civilization.

Works Cited:

“Pindar.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. 10 Dec. 2015 <;.

Wang, Esther. “Thebes.” Ancient Greece -. Tangient LLC. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

“Pindar”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015

“WEST, Gilbert. PINDAR. Odes of Pindar. – $950 | Heritage Book Shop | Rare & Antiquarian Books.” WEST, Gilbert. PINDAR. Odes of Pindar. – $950 | Heritage Book Shop | Rare & Antiquarian Books. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

“Pindar.” – New World Encyclopedia. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.


By: Mariana Castillo, Denise Mojica & Cecilia Gregory

Early Life and How he Came to Be

Pythagoras was born in 570 BCE in Samos, Ionia. There isn’t much known about what his childhood was like, nor is there a lot of information on what he physically looked like. Pythagoras learned his skills from three famous philosophers who served as his teachers; Pherekydes, Thales, and Anaximander. Thales in particular contributed to Pythagoras’ fascination with astronomy and mathematics. Pythagoras traveled to Egypt to learn more about the topics that Thales intrigued him with. During his travel, he learned the Egyptian culture and then traveled back to Samos. Upon his return he then left to Croton, a city in the southern part of Italy. There he established a school called “the semicircle” and gained followers under the name of mathematikoi, that were taught by Pythagoras himself. With this, he was able to further his interests and become an influential Greek figure to not only the people he taught, but to many others around the world as well. After years of studying and furthering his work, Pythagoras died in 500 BCE in Metapontum, Italy; leaving behind a legacy that is forever known. 42-17214683

Mathematical Discoveries

Pythagoras and his followers sought to explain many explanations of the world through patterns and numbers. He and his followers believed numbers held truths, specific characteristics, and representations; for example, odd numbers were female and even were male. However, his most popular findings were geometric relationships and patterns.

A very special number to the Pythagoreans, Pythagoras and his followers, was the “teractys” which was an equilateral triangular line-up of points. It’s a visual relationship with four rows of points starting with one point in the first row, two in the second, and so on. The sum of all the points is 10.


Pythagoras’ most useful finding was the “Pythagorean Theorem” in which a right triangle’s side lengths’ squares are related; the sum of squares of the two legs (sides creating the right angle) is equal to the square of the hypotenuse, a2+b2=c2. Stemming from this theorem are “Pythagorean triples,” sets of three numbers with the first two having their sum of squares equal the third number’s square. The most popular triple being (3, 4, 5).

Also dealing with triangles was the discovery that all the angles of the shape add up to 180 degrees. This finding led to the generalizations of polygons and their interior and exterior angles.

Another notable finding is by one of Pythagoras’ students who was interested in the square root of two. It could not be written as a fraction which led to the establishment of irrational numbers, numbers that could not be expressed as fractions. This contributed to much of geometry which is continuous with much its planes, lines, and angles.

Number theory was started by the Pythagoreans, in which along triangles and their squares, perfect numbers were looked at. Perfect numbers could be divided by two numbers, and the sum of those numbers also add up to the perfect number.
Another discovery by Pythagoras was the ratios among musical tones in harmony. Creating the common intervals, are the first four overtones: the octave, perfect fifth, perfect fourth, and the major third (1:1, 3:2, 4:3, and 5:4, respectively ).

Influence on Society

Pythagoras has influenced today’s in several way. Because of the Pythagorean Theorem, we have been tortured by our grade school math teaches, but most importantly, we have been able to mathematically determine very important questions that help all aspects of society. The Pythagorean Theorem is essential to many fields of mathematics. The Pythagorean Theorem is constantly used by architects, engineers and surveyors. The triangle also has its place in Computer Aided Drafting and military application.  For example, a rescue worker can use the Pythagorean Theorem to determine the necessary length of a ladder.


“Pythagoras – Greek Mathematics – The Story of Mathematics.” Pythagoras – Greek Mathematics – The Story of Mathematics. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.


The Successes of Alexander the Great

by Jared Garcia, Josue Souza, Aminta Gamez, Ryan Lane

Alexander (far left) in the battle of Issus
Kruck, Werner. Battle of Issus. 1st century BC. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples. Web. 5 Dec. 2015

What made Alexander “Great”?
The Macedonian King’s ambitions lent extension of Macedonian rule over Greece, Central Asia and land in India. In order to maintain Macedonian rule over a vast empire and unite people, he used several tactics to complete his conquests. Alexander was a brilliant military leader, an amazing tactician and he did so much in the years he ruled that he was named “the Great”.

What were Alexander’s tactics to unite and rule his empire?
First, defeat his enemies. Second, spread Greek ideas and mesh them with Macedonian ideas. Third, take advantage of religion as a steppingstone. Lastly, adopt foreign ways to finalize unification of people and consolidate his ruling.

How did he manage to rule an empire?
At the age of 20 Alexander takes the throne after his father, Philip II, had died. So he connects himself to Heracles, saying that he is descendent of him. Which is very important because Heracles was looked at as “the hero” of mythology. Heracles was the strongest of them all and to connect your self to someone that many people have told stories about and looked up to is very important, it allows justifies why he is the ruler of Greece and why he is allowed to rule, instead of someone else. He also links himself to the great god Zeus. He’s claimed to be Zeus’ son, there for a making himself a demigod, and essentially a hero people look up to. Throughout mythology we see that being a son of a god has its advantages since you are looked up to and are someone who shouldn’t have there authority challenge and is someone who you know has the divine right to rule.

Bust of Alexander the Great
Dunn, Andrew. AlexanderTheGreatBust. 2004. British Museum, London. Web. 5 Dec. 2015

In order to unite so many different people, what was his plan to do this?
Throughout his conquest, Alexander, the brilliant man he is, utilizes the norms and practices of other cultures, and he is able to adapt and even uses some things in other cultures to further his own power. Although he is only half Greek, Alexander understands the importance of mythology to the Greeks, and how if you are connected to a person of myth you can establish legitimacy to ruling the Greeks.
We can see an example of Alexander utilizing other cultures to gain power, when he is in Persia. He connects himself with the royal family. Not only does he connect himself to the royal family but creates a link between Greek/Macedonian and Persian gods. Alexander was trying utilized Persians gods and connects it with Greek gods so that he can have an advantage over the people in Persia to make them believe he was doing what the gods wanted him to do.
The way that Alexander was able to spread the Greek culture and ideas was in the cities he built. Like Greek cities, the cities he built in the places he conquered had marketplaces, temples, and theaters. One of the most famous of the new cities was called Alexandria. It was located in Egypt near the sea. Alexandria was designed with wide major streets crossed by narrower streets. It had many Greek features. It had a marketplace, a university, a gymnasium, and a theater. The city also boasted law courts and a library. There was even a temple dedicated to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea within it. This shows that Alexander was not only able to conquer Egypt, but he was also able to convince them to adopt major parts of the Greek culture within a newly built city.
Alexander’s plan to use the religion of the place he is conquering. When he began to attempt to conquer Egypt and Persia he recognized their gods and treated them as equals to the Greek gods. He would visit oracle sites, make sacrifices, and would have temples built in their honor. On one occasion, he visited the oracle site of the Egyptian god Ammon. When he arrived, a priest welcomed him as “God’s son.” When the priest said this it helped Alexander gain the loyalty of the Egyptians. After being called “Gods son”, Alexander began encouraged the idea that he himself was a god. After his visit to the Egyptian oracle, he began to start wearing a crown of two rams’ horns. This crown was the sacred headdress of the Egyptian god Ammon. Seeing Alexander wearing the crown encouraged the Egyptians to accept him as a god. So by accepting and then becoming part of the Egyptian religion, Alexander was able to be hugely accepted by Egyptians and then was also able to keep peace between Greek and Egyptian culture while he was conquering Egypt.

Were his conquests successful?
An example of Alexander the Great successfully utilizing other cultures to benefit him is when he is invading India. His conquests in India lead him to a battle against 2 kings of Indian tribes. During the battle the Indian army had brought out something that Alexander had never seen in battle before, which were the war elephants. Alexander the Great was not accustomed to fighting war elephants since he never had, so he was brilliantly able to adapt to these new instrument of war and was able to defeat the elephants. It is only because Alexander is so gifted in being able to adapt to different cultures and adapt to the situation at hand that he was able to defeat the Indian army.
Another example is when he goes into Egypt during the campaigns of Persia. Egypt saw him as a liberator and welcomed him with open arms. Alexander the Great sets up the city of Alexandria to link it to Greece. Also wile in Egypt he rebuilds temples for the Greeks, and he openly embraces the Egyptian culture, which can be seen as a political move to try and have them as an ally or even try to rule Egypt himself.
Alexander’s tactic to show respect for the cultures of the people he conquered. For example, in Persia he adopted the Persian system of government. He allowed Persian governors to run the day-to-day business of their lands. Alexander also borrowed Persian customs. He began wearing decorative Persian-style clothes. He received official visitors as a Persian king would, in a luxurious tent. The tent was supported by 30-foot columns. The columns were covered in gold and silver and decorated with precious stones. Alexander even encouraged marriage between Macedonians and Persians. He himself even married the eldest daughter of Darius.

Alexander covering the body of Darius with his cape
Steakley, James. Den Leichnam des Darius. 2009. Privately Owned. Web. 5 Dec. 2015.


In Conclusion
Alexander the Great was a man that conquered many places. The places that are most surprising are Persia and Egypt, he was able to conquer Egypt by mixing into their religion and make him very trustworthy to them. He was able to conquer Persia by embracing their style of clothing and making himself look very much like a Persian. He not only made himself look like a Persian but he demanded that he be greeted like a Persian king when meeting people. By doing these things and fully embracing other cultures and their beliefs, Alexander the Great was well liked everywhere, even while he was conquering their land.

Works Cited

Walbank, Frank W. “Alexander the Great | King of Macedonia.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 07 Apr. 2015. Web. 05 Dec. 2015. <;.
Pomeroy, Sarah B. A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.


Created by John Mohacey & Kollin Strey

Themistocles was an Athenian general who was an excellent tactician as well as a renowned statesman.  Born in 524 B.C.E. Themistocles had good claim to being the man who saved Greece during the Second Persian War.


Bust of Themistocles 3

Despite this, Themistocles would be surrounded by controversy for most of his life and would die in exile in 459 B.C.E..


Themistocles’ early life

Themistocles began life as part of the family of a minor Athenian noble, named Neocles.  His mother was non-Athenian, either a Thracian woman named Abrotonum or a Carian named Euterpe, which is Greek for ‘well-pleasing.’  This, combined with the possibility of his mother being a prostitute, denied Themistocles’ status as an Athenian citizen.2

According to Plutarch, Themistocles spent a good deal of his youth leading members of other social classes in their exercises in an effort to overcome class restrictions.  He also spent a large amount of time practicing oration, prompting the comment from one of his teachers that he was destined for greatness.1

Themistocles’ early political career

In 508 B.C.E., Themistocles gained Athenian citizenship thanks to Cleisthenes, who granted citizenship to all free, property holding men in Athens.2  He very quickly aspired to greater political office, attaining the position of Archon in 493 B.C.E. at around the age of 30.

Themistocles was one of the advocates for the construction of the harbor near Piraeus and further enhancing the power of the Athenian navy. He also advocated for increasing the rights of those Athenians who served as rowers for Athens’ ships, increasing his popularity amongst the common citizens.2


Modern day Piraeus 4


Along the way, Themistocles gained a number of enemies during his rise to power.  Thanking all of his achievements to the power of democracy, Themistocles advocated for bringing more rights and power to common citizens, making him enemies with the established aristocratic families.  Furthermore, by styling himself as an ally of the common man, Themistocles gained a great deal of popularity and power in the democracy, which caused others seeking political power to be wary of him.1

Themistocles during the Persian Wars

During the First Persian War, Themistocles spoke in favor of Miltiades, a former tyrant of Athens who is often credited with the strategy that defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in the First Persian War.1


A model of Themistocles at war 5


After the defeat of the first Persian invasion, Themistocles advocated for the strengthening of the Athenian navy to combat future Persian invasions.  Though he initially faced heavy opposition to his plan, he was able to convince his fellow Athenians in the Ecclesia by implying that the ships would be used to fight against another Greek city-state.1

During the Second Persian War, Themistocles’ ships proved instrumental in turning the tide of the war and the saving of the population of Athens.  When the Persians marched upon Athens, Themistocles used an old prophecy about the ‘wooden walls’ of Athens saving it, reinterpreting the ‘wooden walls’ as being it’s navy, thus convincing the leadership to evacuate the people.  Later, at the island of Salamis, Themistocles tricked the Persian and Greek forces into a full fledged conflict.  Despite the larger size of the Persian navy, the Greeks were able to defeat the Persians thanks to the cramped area in which they were fighting, rendering the numerical advantage of the Persians useless.1  Without this naval victory, Greece wouldn’t have been able to win the Persian War shortly afterwards at the land battle at Platea.

Themistocles’ exile and death

After the Second Persian War, Themistocles’ actions finally caught up with him.  He was exiled from Athens after building a temple to Artemis in his hometown and naming it Aristoboule, or good counsel.  To make matters worse, his constant boasting about his achievements made him a number of enemies both inside and outside of Athens, most notably the Spartans, who accused him of colluding with a known traitor.  As a result, Themistocles fled Greece.1

After his exile from Greece, Themistocles would end up serving as an aide to the Persian king.  He was held in high regard by the Persian king, Artaxerxes, and served as a consul on matters involving Greece.  He was given governorship of the province of Magnesia, where he served until his death in 459 B.C.E..  There are several depictions of his death, as, while some claim he died of natural causes, others, such as Plutarch, made the claim he poisoned himself to avoid failing a task assigned by Artaxerxes, which Plutarch claimed was an assault upon a Greek city-state.1

Controversies surrounding Themistocles

Themistocles was a man of many ambitions, which in turn led him to be accused by his peers of power mongering.  His critics often cited Themistocles’  as being boastful of his many accomplishments, such as his status and rank.  Many of the Athenian aristocrats didn’t like Themistocles because he gained a large amount of power so quickly and was not from an affluent family. 

While he was the main catalyst in defeating the Persian Empire in the Second Persian War, Themistocles did so by a number of underhanded methods.  During the evacuation of Athens, Themistocles looted the city and used some of the money he found to pay the wages of the rowers of the boats evacuating Athenian citizens.  Later, at the island of Salamis, Themistocles accepted a large bribe to protect the island from the Persian navy.  In order to ensure the battle happened, Themistocles bribed many of the other Greek forces to stay and fight, and when some refused, he forced them to fight by telling the Persians the location of the Greek navy.  As insurance in case the Greeks lost, Themistocles mentioned in his letter that he was willing to betray Greece and join the Persians.








The Life of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great served as king of Macedonia from 336 to 323 BC. During this time, Alexander united Greece, reestablished the Corinthian League, and conquered the Persian Empire.

Alexander’s Childhood:

He was the child of King Philip II and Queen Olympia. Alexander was raised with his sister in Pella’s Royal Court. Alexander rarely saw his father, as he was busy with military campaigns and extra-marital affairs. Alexander grew up resenting his father because of his absence and philandering.

Alexander received a unique education, as he went through a many tutors. His Tutors were supposed to teach Alexander math, archery, and how to ride a horse. His tutors struggled to control Alexander because he was rebellious.

In 343 BC, King Philip II hired Aristotle, a philosopher, to teach Alexander, and even some of his friends, philosophy, poetry, drama, science, and politics. Aristotle introduced Alexander to the Iliad, which inspired Alexander to pursue becoming a heroic warrior.

Alexander finally finished his education at Meiza in 340 BC. In just a year after that, Alexander became a soldier and went on his first military expedition, which was against the Thracian tribes. In two years, Alexander took charge of the Companion Cavalry and supported his father in defeating the Athenian and Theban armies. However, as soon as King Philip succeeded in his campaign to unite all Greek states, except Sparta, the father and son relationship dissolved. After which, Alexander’s father ousted his mother and married Cleopatra. Alexander and his sister would live on the run with his mother’s family until he was able to solve the differences between he and his father.

Alexander: The King of Macedonia

In 336 BC, Alexander’s sister married the Molossian king. King Philip II was murdered by Pausanias at the festivities that followed the wedding.

After his fathers death, Alexander, a man only 19 years old, was determined to take the throne at any cost. He easily gained the support of the Macedonian army, and the soldiers that fought with him at Chaeronea. Olympia, Alexander’s mother, was very loyal and sought to aid her son’s claim to the throne. She murdered the daughter of King Philip II and Cleopatra, and even drove Cleopatra to commit suicide.

Even though Alexander was the feudal king of Macedonia, he did not obtain control of the Corinthian League immediately. After Philip II’s death, the southern states of Greece were divided and expressed divided interests. They actually hoped to take control of the league. In response, Alexander sent his army south and forced the southern states to recognize him as the rightful ruler.

Alexander’s Campaigns and Conquests

As Alexander was nearing the end of his northern campaign, he was delivered the news that Thebes, a Greek city-state, had forced out the Macedonian troops that were garrisoned there. Fearing a revolt among the other city-states, Alexander leapt into action, marching his massive army consisting of 3,000 cavalry and 30,000 infantry southward all the way to the tip of the Greek peninsula.

Alexander and his army arrived in Thebes so fast, that the city-state was unable to pull its allies together to aid in there defense. Alexander hoped that Thebes would serve as an example to all city-states that this was the result of revolting. This intimidation tactic would prove to be very effective, the remaining states pledged their loyalty to Alexander, or remained neutral.

Next up on Alexander’s agenda was his campaign to conquer Egypt. After besieging Gaza on his way to Egypt, Alexander easily achieved his conquest; Egypt fell without resistance. In 331, he created the city of Alexandria, designed as a hub for Greek culture and commerce. Later that year, Alexander defeated the Persians at the Battle of Gaugamela. With the collapse of the Persian army, Alexander became “King of Babylon, King of Asia, King of the Four Quarters of the World.”

Alexander’s next conquest was eastern Iran, where he created Macedonian colonies and in 327 seized the fortress in Ariamazes. After capturing Prince Oxyartes, Alexander married the prince’s daughter, Rhoxana.

In 328, Alexander defeated King Porus’ armies in northern India. Finding himself impressed by Porus, Alexander reinstated him as king and won his loyalty and forgiveness. Alexander forged eastward to the Ganges but headed back when his armies refused to advance any farther. On their way back along the Indus, Alexander was wounded by Malli warriors.

In 325, after Alexander had recovered, he and his army headed north along the rugged Persian Gulf, where many fell prey to illness, injury and death. In February 324, Alexander at last reached the city of Susa. Desperate to retain his leadership and recruit more soldiers, he tried to connect Persian nobles to Macedonians in order to create a ruling class. To this end, at Susa he commanded that a large number of Macedonians marry Persian princesses. After Alexander managed to recruit tens of thousands of Persian soldiers into his army, he dismissed many of his existing Macedonian soldiers. This enraged the soldiers, who spoke critically of Alexander’s new troops and condemned him for adopting Persian customs and manners. Alexander appeased the Macedonian soldiers by killing 13 Persian military leaders. The Thanksgiving Feast at Susa, which had been geared towards solidifying the bond between Persians and Macedonians, shaped up to be quite the opposite.

Alexander’s Death

While considering the conquests of Carthage and Rome, Alexander the Great died of malaria in Babylon (now Iraq), on June 13, 323 B.C. He was just 32 years old. Rhoxana gave birth to his son a few months later.

After Alexander died, his empire collapsed and the nations within it battled for power. Over time, the cultures of Greece and the Orient synthesized and thrived as a side effect of Alexander’s empire, becoming part of his legacy and spreading the spirit of Panhellenism.


This was created by Collin Janecka



By Isis Burks and Michele Stewart


Euripides is one of the three great Greek tragedians along with Aeschylus and Sophocles. He was born in 480 BC in Athens. Many of his approximately ninety plays have survived; we have more of his plays than of Aeschylus and Sophocles. The Medea (see below), Helen, and Orestes are his most well-known plays. His plays were performed in the City Dyonisia in the drama contests. He won the contest only four times. His plays were frequently disliked by his contemporaries because they challenged traditional Athenian values. Specifically, he wrote women with strong roles and language. Some of his plays were left unperformed when he died in 406 BC in Macedon.


The Medea is one of Euripides’ most famous tragedies, he created it in 431 BCE. The Medea was a play about a sorceress name Medea and her revenge that she seeks against her husband Jason for leaving her to be with a different woman.

Jason was on a quest given by Pelias to retrieve the Golden Fleece in order to win his rightful throne back and along the way received aid from Medea. They quickly fell in love but after Medea killed Pelias, they moved to Corinth.  However, Jason married the king of Corinth named Creon’s daughter, Glauce for political gain, which angered Medea tremendously. She then killed Creon, Glauce, and her own two children that she had with Jason. Since Jason broke his vows with Medea, Hera cursed him and he died alone.

In the beginning of the play Medea is heartbroken by the fact that her husband Jason, does not love her anymore and that he’s married to Glauce now. Her nurse and a group of women, also known as the Chorus of Corinthian Women, were worried for her safety and her children’s safety, fearing that she could possibly do something irrational. The King, Creon, was also nervous so he exiled her from Corinth but Medea convinced him to give her one more day.

Jason came to clear up the misconception and explained to Medea that he married Glauce for political gain. Glauce is a princess and is rich, which could help him further his career. He continued by telling her that he does not love Glauce and he still wants to be in a relationship with Medea while he is married. Unpleased with his response, she quickly reminds him of all that she has done for him and his love. She murdered her own brother and slew a dragon while on the quest for the Golden Fleece for him, but he paid little mind to these facts. In return, Medea warned him that he is going to regret what he did to her, not telling him that she’s going to kill his wife and the king.

Aegeus, the king of Athens came to Medea asking or her to help his wife because she is having trouble becoming pregnant. Medea agreed to help them as long as he would give her refuge and he agreed, but she did not tell him what she really needed it for.Next Medea informed the Chorus of how she is going to get revenge on Jason. First she is going to give Glauce a golden robe from Helios but the robe will be poisoned. Then she decided to kill her children because the really wants to hurt Jason in the worst way that she can think of. Medea decided to carry out her plan by giving Jason an apology and told him that she has a gift for Glauce and that her children will bring it to her.

While Medea was thinking about what she just did, someone came and told her that her mission was accomplished. Glauce and Creon were killed by the poison from the robe, Creon was poisoned because he was trying to take the robe off of her once he realized it was killing her. After hearing the news of her success, she then struggled with idea of actually killing her own children, but she decided that it was the best thing for them so they would not have to be punished for her actions. Medea spoke softly to them displaying how much she loved them, then moments later she killed them. The Chorus heard all of their screams but they did not go in and stop Medea. After learning of Glauce and Creon’s death, Jason hurried to Medea to reprimand her for killing them but when he arrived, he realized that she killed their children also. Medea emerged holding her children’s dead bodies basking at how hurt Jason is and how good her revenge felt. She told him that she foresaw his life ending terribly and then she left for Athens. At the end of the play, the Chorus blamed all of the tragic events that took place on the gods.


Works Cited

“Euripidēs.” Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World. Ed. Roberts, John. : Oxford University Press, 2007. Oxford Reference. 2007.

Mastin, Luke. “Medea – Euripides – Ancient Greece – Classical Literature.” Medea – Euripides – Ancient Greece – Classical Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

“Medea.” Medea. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

“What Did Euripides Say about the Child-killer Medea?” Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

King Leonidas

Life overview

Not much is known about Leonidas  from his younger days. It is believed that Leonidas was born in the year 540 BC and died in the year 480 BC. He was a member of the Agiad house and was the third son of Anaxandridas II. Leonidas’ half brother named Cleomenes was the king of Sparta and had only one child – a daughter named Gorgo. Since, Cleomenes died without having a son, and Leonidas was the most closely related to Cleomenes, Leonidas thus inherited  the throne to Sparta. When he became the new king of Sparta he married the daughter of Cleomenes, Gorge. Gorge was very supportive of  the majority of the decisions Leonidas made including one of the most memorable –  his involvement at the battle of Thermoplae.

Battle of Thermopylae

The Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) was a key point in the Persian war because it allowed the Greek navy to position itself and also allowed Athens to be evacuated. Leonidas had received a request from the main Greek forces to help defend all of Greece from the invasion. He went to the Delphic oracle to help decide what he should do. There he was told a prophecy : “For you, inhabitants of wide wayed Sparta, Either your great and glorious city must be wasted by Persian men, Or if not that, then the bound of Lacedaemon must mourn a dead king, from Heracles’ line. The might of bulls or lions will not restrain him with opposing strength; for he has the might of Zeus.”.  Leonidas decided to aid the Greek forces by defending against Persia even if it meant his death.  Leonidas’ role in this historic event was  as a general in the battle leading a small army made up of  at least 300 hundred Spartan soldiers and other Greek forces into battle. They fought at a valley created by two cliffs to help funnel the Persian’s large army into a small area. This caused the Persian’s large numbers to be a disadvantage instead of helping them overwhelm the Greek’s army. The size of the two military forces  were estimated to be 150,000 Persian soldiers, and about 14,000 troops under Leonidas’ command. The battle consisted of 3 days of  intense fighting between the two forces. Leonidas’ goal was to hold off the Persian army long enough to force Xerxes to sail somewhere to resupply on food and water which would lower the Persian army’s size and force. Leonidas was able to cause large number of casualties for the invading Persian army within the three days. This was the result of both Leonidas’ soldiers who were better trained and  the superior equipment of the Greeks. For example; the Greek spears were longer and they had more durable armor compared to the Persian’s woven armor, wooden shields and short spears. The formation Leonidas was using was known as  the phalanx, which is a rectangular or square mass of soldiers armed with shields and spears to defend and attack as one through synchronized movements. Using these advantages, Leonidas was able to hold the Persians off successfully without losing very many men.  The only issue with his tactic was that when a part of the formation is broken, the whole group becomes vulnerable which could lead to a large number of causalities if not a wipeout of the entire army.  On the third day of the battle the phalanx formation was broken due to a betrayal. A traitor named Ephialtes betrayed the Grecian army by revealing a path that led to the back of the phalanx formation and allowed the Persians to flank the Spartan army and defeat them. Leonidas and his troops fought hard but they were all nearly killed. The deaths included King Leonidas himself. Leonidas’ body was rumored to have been fought over, but the Greeks failed to retrieve it. It was said that Xerxes ordered his head to be put on a stake and displayed for others to see. His body was recovered 40 years after his death. If it wasn’t for his sacrifice, the Persian invasion may not have been stopped and the world as we know it wouldn’t be the same.


Work Cited


Jacquelyn, Kristen, Miranda


Socrates who was believed to be born in Classical Athens had lived his childhood during the Golden Age. Where his father Sophroniscus made a living as a stonemason and his mom, Phaenarete had been a midwife.



Bust of Socrates


Many people seemed to give Socrates a bad reputation since he would walk around Athens with his hair a mess, with no shoes, and with dirty clothes. People started to wonder why he went from a war hero to someone who seemed to not care anymore. Socrates had started living his life constantly questioning what he was doing, and how to live what he had called a “good” life. As a philosopher he gained many followers of his beliefs. One of his well-known followers or “student” was another philosopher named Plato. Who would later carry out Socrates’s philosophical ways. Socrates was known for constantly pushing the limits of ones human knowledge.


  • Euthyphro – Piety/Impiety
    • The persecution of Socrates questions on whether his actions are deemed piety/impiety. In the discussion with Euthyphro, Socrates can be seen in the story as a patient witness to Euthyphro claims on the right path towards being piety. As he claims when he heads to his on personal trial on the same day of Socrates as the plaintiff to a murder that he believes was committed by his own father. Socrates on the other hand can be seen heading to trail for being accused of corrupting the youth and lack of faith in the gods. Though compared to Socrates own trial, he can be shocked of this knowledge of knowing that Euthyphro has brought about charges against his own father. Due to the knowledge of the ways of the value of connections between families in Ancient Greece, in which family is the most important factor in Greek culture. Though the main focus of “Euthyphro” is whether the actions of his father lead him towards the path of impiety. Seeing as one of the workers of Euthyphro’s father was in fact at fault for killing one of his servants, he sought justice by sending a messenger off to the city to see the steps needed to be taken to complete this task. Although in the process of doing this he had decided to tie up the killer and toss him a ditch till the appointed time, who unfortunately didn’t live to hear the messenger’s verdict due Euthyphro’s father’s lack of care throughout the time. This Euthyphro deems enough fact to charge his own father for his actions that lead towards the man’s death. This leads Socrates to begin questioning Euthyphro’s on the facts that make a man to be pious, which causes an obscuring view of a determined answer of a proper term for piety/impiety. Though from a person’s own perspective that piety can only be achieved if they hold a honest/pure amount of virtue and their own beliefs.


  • Death and Immortality


  • Symposium
    •  The speech given by Socrates concerning the “Ladder of Love”, best describes the process of how humans build up a close relations towards one another. All human beings that are born into existence wish to be remembered in some way in hopes of staying immortal to others in history. To succeed in this great heroic figures would be portrayed in sacrificing themselves for those they love in retribution and passion. The “Ladder of Love”, basically shows us the stages of human interest for one another through desire for another body to the possible similarities between one another and how they truly connect in the final stages, such as in observing that persons characteristics and knowledge within them. Although humans can be seen searching for love in

      hopes of living life forever due to the magnificent feelings it grants them. Although in learning love in this process is that love doesn’t have to be about a person physically touching another human being, but also spiritual, such as loving another from a distance and knowing their partner feels the same for them.

      The explanatory strengths of this speech is that it describes the facts of how an actual person in the motion of the beginning, middle, and ending of falling in love with one another. Although the theory of Socrates speech could questionable, due to the fact that the source he originally found this speech could be lacking some truth, especially with the facts that Socrates himself claims that not even he knew that much about love. Though the philosophical work that’s portrayed within the speech in process of desire for a lover to having a deeper understanding for their personal being.


  • On the Nature of the Soul


  • Republic
    • In books I and II, Socrates and his fellow scholars can be found within Celphalus’ house, speaking of how to achieve a good lifesocrates and platothrough the process of justice. Thus causing Socrates to give his own speculation of the term of justice, which he believes to be the process of “telling the truth and paying ones debts” as the only exempt way to achieving a good life. Although this causes each scholar within the house to go into a deeper discussion of the advantages and disadvantages with his own term of justice, thus giving their own conclusions over the form of justice.


  • Was tried for two charges:
    • Corrupting the youth
    • Impiety
      • Failed to acknowledge the Gods
      • Created new Gods, or lack thereof
  • He also questioned almost everything, which Greek authority did not agree with
  • Was killed by being forced to drink Hemlock, a poisonous plant.



Works Cited

  • Plato, and C. D. C. Reeve. “Euthyphro.” A Plato Reader: Eight Essential 

Dialogues. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2012. N. pag. Print.

  • Plato, and C. D. C. Reeve. “Republic.” A Plato Reader: Eight Essential

Dialogues. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2012. N. pag. Print.

  • Plato, and C. D. C. Reeve. “Symposium.” A Plato Reader: Eight Essential

Dialogues. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2012. N. pag. Print.


Bucephalas, Hephaistion, & Olympias

By Linda McNulty, Madison Brazan, Bianca Pulido

When studying Alexander the Great and his empire, many often make the mistake of focusing only on Alexander himself, or upon the Diadochi following his death. However, Alexander did not cultivate significant relationships only with his generals, but with a few other key figures as well. In this section of the Roadrunners’ Guide to the Ancient World, we will explore three of these figures as they are depicted both in history and in myth, in order to form a more complete picture of the relationships that impacted Alexander and his life—his second-in-command, best friend, and possible lover Hephaistion, his mother Olympias, and his horse since childhood, Bucephalas.


Medallion depicting Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, part of a series to honor Roman Emperor Caracalla as the descendant of Alexander

The story of Olympias, wife of Philip II of Macedon and mother of Alexander the Great, is often clouded by myth and accusation if not eclipsed by her son’s own tale of greatness. However, it is important to recognize her individually, as a wife, as a mother, and more importantly perhaps as a calculating statesperson whose position was threatened by her husband’s practice of polygamy.

Olympias was the daughter of Neoptolemus, king of Epirus, and likely enjoyed dominance in Philip’s court because her son, Alexander, was treated as the heir quite early in life.[1] The mental deficiencies of Philip’s older son, Arrhidaeus, and Alexander’s superior education and regency in Macedonia[2] all worked to secure Olympias’ position in court until Philip’s marriage in 337 BC to a Macedonian noblewoman, Cleopatra. [3]A quarrel between Cleopatra’s father and Alexander over his legitimacy caused Olympias to withdraw with her son to Epirus until Philip’s assassination the following year.[4]

Though it is not likely she was complicit in the assassination of her husband, Olympias worked to secure her position and Alexander’s by having Cleopatra and her infant with Philip killed.[5] During Alexander’s invasions, she maintained her position in Macedonia against the current regent, Antipater, until tense relations caused a second retreat to Epirus in 331.[6] Though she was asked to be regent for her grandson, Alexander IV, she did not return until Antipater’s son Cassender, placed Arrhidaeus on the Macedonian throne.[7]

Olympias, whose return was initially supported by the Macedonian army, quickly lost popularity when she chose to secure stability for her family by torturing and ordering the deaths of Arrhidaeus (stabbing) and his wife (suicide by hanging).[8] She continued with the death of a selection of roughly 100 of Cassender’s friends and supporters, but her efforts to undermine Cassender’s leadership in Macedonia ultimately failed in 316 BC when a blockade in Pydna forced her to surrender.[9] There are various accounts of her subsequent death, but tombstone inscriptions indicate that her memory was revered well after her fall.[10]

Mosaic of Alexander the Great

Alexander and Bucephalas at the Battle of Issus, as shown in the famous Alexander Mosaic from the Roman House of the Fawn, c. 100 BCE.

Like a great many normal people, Alexander the Great had a beloved companion animal—his horse, Bucephalas. According to Plutarch, Bucephalas was a Thessalian horse whom Alexander tamed by virtue of his own courage and intelligence when he was just a boy. [1]  He took Bucephalas with him on campaign throughout the East and, again according to Plutarch, would frequently ride him into battle, although Alexander was careful not to tire out the horse too greatly beforehand because of his age—“While he was drawing up the phalanx in formation, reviewing the troops, or giving out orders, he rode another horse to spare Bucephalas, who was by now past his prime; but when he was about to go into action, Bucephalas would be led up, and he would mount him and at once begin the attack.” [2]

Apparently, Alexander so loved his horse that once, when his expedition was near the Caspian Sea, a local tribe captured Bucephalas for ransom and enraged Alexander to the point that he declared he would slaughter their entire village if Bucephalas was not returned safely to him. [3] Again, this source is Plutarch, and his accounts, while highly entertaining, are not always very reputable. However, this anecdote is probably true in conveying how attached Alexander was to his horse.


A coin minted for Roman-controlled Macedonia, c. the 200s AD. On the obverse is a helmeted Alexander, the text reading ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, or “Of Alexander”. On the reverse side, Alexander is shown with the rearing Bucephalas. The inscription designates it as a Macedonian coin.Alexander did get Bucephalas back, if he had indeed been captured, and the horse lived until he was estimated to be about 30 years old, dying in 326 BCE after the Battle of the Hydaspes. Whether he died of injuries from the battle or from old age is disputed among the ancient sources, but what modern scholars do know is that Alexander’s grief was so great that he founded a city on the banks of the Hydaspes River in present-day Pakistan which he named Bucephalia in honor of his fallen horse. The city remains to this day, and is now thought to be either the town of Phalia or of Jalalpur Sharif.














Hephaestion was born around 356 B.C.E, the same year as Alexander the Great, in the capitol of Macedonia, Pella, to an aristocratic family. Like all Greek boys, he would have been educated and it highly likely that he was educated by the philosopher, Aristotle, alongside of Alexander the Great. This is how some many sources believe the two young men met and became close childhood friends.


The weddings at Susa; Alexander to Stateira (right), and Hephaestion to Drypetis (left). Late 19th-century engraving.

However, childhood friends are not the only thing Alexander and Hephaestion became. They became family by marriage when Alexander the Great gave Hephaestion his wife’s sister, Drypetis. Many historians have found the two men closer to lovers rather than simply childhood friends. He was by far the dearest to the king of all his friends [1] according to the historian, Quintus Curtius. During the campaigns across Greece, Hephaestion and Alexander went to the tomb of Achilles and Alexander laid a garland on his tomb while Hephaestion did the same to the tomb of Patroclus [2]. This is partially why the pair have been compared to the heroic lovers from Homer’s infamous Iliad. Now, the other reason has more to do with Hephaestion’s tragic death.

Around 324 B.C.E, Hephaestion fell gravely ill from a fever and Alexander the Great was absolutely devastated.  While the accounts of Alexander’s grief differs from each author who transcribes it, they can all agree on one thing and that is that his anguish was abundant. There are also different accounts on what Alexander the Great did after Hephaestion’s death. In Plutarch’s Life of Alexander the Great, he writes that Alexander killed the physician, Glaucus, because he believed it was his fault [3]. He also is said to have not appointed anyone else as commander of the cavalry, so that the “division of the cavalry was still called Hephaestion’s” according to Arrain’s The Anabasis of Alexander. While the modern world has no true way of knowing what the friendship of Alexander and Hephaestion truly was like, it’s unlikely the pair were merely friends. Whether they are believed to be lovers or not, Alexander the Great cared for Hephaestion more than any of his men and far more than simply a king to one of his generals.


Busts of Alexander the Great (right) and Hephaestion (left) at the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu, California. Made from Parian marble, dated at about 320 BCE

[1] Plutarch, The Age of Alexander. London and New York: Penguin Books, 2011. “Life of Alexander,” 6. Pgs. 284-5.

[2] Ibid., 32. Pg. 317.

[3] Ibid., 44. Pg. 329.


[1] Carney, Elizabeth, “The Politics of Polygamy: Olympias, Alexander and the Murder of Philip,” Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte 41 (1992): 171-172, accessed November 28, 2015,

[2] Carney, Elizabeth, Olympias: Mother of Alexander the Great (New York: Routledge, 2006), 25.

[3] Britannica Academic, s. v. “Olympias,” accessed November 28, 2015,

[4] Ibid.

[5] Carney, Elizabeth, Olympias: Mother of Alexander the Great (New York: Routledge, 2006), 44.

[6] Britannica Academic, s. v. “Olympias,” accessed November 28, 2015,

[7] Ibid.

[8] Carney, Elizabeth, Olympias: Mother of Alexander the Great (New York: Routledge, 2006), 75.

[9] Ibid, 77.

[10] Edson, Charles, “The Tomb of Olympias,” Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 18 (1949): 95, accessed November 28, 2015,

Medallion depicting Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, part of a series to honor Roman Emperor Caracalla as the descendant of Alexander

[11] “Medallion with Olympias” by Unknown – Walters Art Museum. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –


[1] Curtius Rufus, Quintus. Histories of Alexander the Great. Trans. Rolfe, John Carew. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Univ. Press, 1946. Print.

[2] Arrianus, Lucius Flavius. The Anabasis of Alexander. Trans. Chinnock, E. J. Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London. 1884. Print

[3] Plutarch, John Dryden, and Arthur Hugh Clough. The Life of Alexander the Great. New York: Modern Library, 2004. Print