About This Podcast
My name is Darby Vickers and I write/produce/narrate this on the history of Ancient Greece. I started this podcast because I wanted to create a history of Greece that would parallel the wonderful and engaging History of Rome podcast that I enjoyed so much when I studied for my Roman history comprehensive exam. My aim here is to provide a detailed, but accessible, account of the history of Greece. The podcast form offers the opportunity to move beyond the various constraints by which a class on the same subject would be bound. I also hope to offer a story that can stand on its own without requiring supplementary reading. However, I will provide a bibliography for those who are interested as well as a list of supplementary resources.
The podcast will come out once per month. In between, I will post a transcript of the podcast complete with citations. I will also make corrections, when appropriate, and re-post the corrected versions.
I have to admit, I’m not really a tech person. So creating this podcast is a learning experience for me. There may be a certain amount of technical glitches from time to time. Please let me know what technical difficulties you run into (via comments, email, or twitter) and bear with me as I attempt to fix them. I’m going to start by hosting the podcast on Soundcloud with a set of backup files for download from Google Drive. If this proves to be too slow and cumbersome for users, I will probably switch over to Amazon S3, which looks useful but extremely complicated.
Please note: transcripts may be more up to date than the podcasts they represent, because I will try to correct any errors by editing the transcripts. Transcript editing dates will be posted at the top of the transcript
Since the podcasts are not an academic paper, I will include references to tertiary sources in the citations on the transcripts and I will at least attempt to provide at least a single scholarly source (primary, secondary, or tertiary) as a reference for things considered common knowledge. I will try to document my sources as extensively as possible in case anyone would like to follow up on one of the sources. I will also attempt to make some kind of note where views present my own interpretation (above and beyond a synthesis of other views) for the sake of clarity. If I have missed some documentation, please alert me and I will attempt to correct the issue.
My name is Darby Vickers. I am a graduate student in philosophy. My BA and MA are in classics and my primary interest is in Ancient Greek philosophy. The history of Greece is a fascinating and engrossing topic that has engaged me ever since I was young. I am not trained a historian nor am I an archaeologist, so bear with me, I may make some mistakes. However, I think this material is exciting and fun so I would like to share it. If you do find mistakes, don’t hesitate to comment on the posts with corrections (or send me an email). Most of the topics that I cover– especially in the early episodes– are deep prehistory and our data is entirely archaeological. This material is particularly far afield from my areas of expertise, so I would be happy to receive advice from those with expertise in this area.
All views and research within this podcast and the blog that accompanies it is my own and do not represent the views of any universities with which I am, have been, or will be affiliated or the scholars therein.
Pronunciation is always a contentious topic especially in Classics. It is often difficult, especially as a native English speaker, to choose between different possibilities for pronouncing Greek names (e.g. Anglicized, Latinized, Modern Greek, Erasmian). And, generally, those of us in English-speaking countries who have learned Ancient Greek pronounce it with one (or an amalgam) of the various reconstructed pronunciations, whereas Greeks (and other groups, e.g. scholars of early Christianity) tend to carry over a modern Greek pronunciation to the ancient texts. My plan is to try to introduce important names using an Anglicized, reconstructed, and modern Greek pronunciation. After my initial display of various pronunciations, I will pick one of them to use consistently and use it throughout. Usually, I will probably pick either the Anglicized on the reconstructed Classical Greek pronunciation (probably closest to Erasmian, although with an attempt at pitch accent and probably my own peculiarities). If you still have qualms about a particular pronunciation, you’re welcome to comment on that episode or email me, but bear in mind that I am attempting to acknowledge the major issues that might arise.
As with pronunciation, the representation of dates is a tricky topic when dealing with the ancient world. There are many different competing methods of orthography, including BC/AD, BCE/CE. Beyond this, there is some minor contention over whether AD should occur before or after dates.While generally these methods of writing are interchangeable and employed because of personal (or more often publisher) choice, I know that there are some who feel very strongly about their orthographic preferences. I employ BCE/CE because this is the system that I learned in elementary school. However, I know there are those who feel that while BCE/CE attempted to remove the religious overtones of the previous system of writing dates, the system backfired. Daniel Boyarin provides an explanation in the preface to his book Socrates and the Fat Rabbis (Boyarin 2009:xiv):
I do not use BCE and CE to mark the years before and after Christ, respectively, as these are usually glossed with reference to a “common era,” to which I wish not to submit myself. I write BC and AC for before and after Christ, in accordance with continental usage, adapted for English (of course, AD would be an even more uncomfortable submission).
I can see Boyarin’s point, but I naturally dislike the BC/AC orthography because it fails to conform to any standard system. Moreover, I tend to think of BCE and CE as representing “before the current era” and “the current era,” respectively, which helps to strip them of their Christian and value-laden implications, although I realize that their traditional glossing is “before the common era” and “the common era”. I am sure this explanation will not satisfy some of you, but this is the orthography that I have chosen. In quotations, however, I will obviously employ whatever method the authors themselves used to write the dates.
However, the controversy about dates is not quite that simple. Archaeology, especially of the deep past of human history, often employs slightly different system of dating based upon carbon dating. These dates are usually expressed as a date in years ± a number which shows the accuracy of the date BP (before present), where the date in years is the number of years by which the object precedes 1950 CE (Renfrew & Bahn 2016: 149). According to Renfrew and Bahn, Radiocarbon dates are quoted with an error range of one standard deviation, so, for example a date 3700 ± 100 BP means that there is a 94% chance that the date is between 1850 BCE and 1650 BCE. I will usually translate this date at 1750 BCE for the sake of ease.
Some orthography also distinguishes between calibrated dates (BP) and calibrated dates (bp). Calibration is something that is necessary for carbon dating to be accurate. Originally, scientists assumed that there was a constant rate of decline of C-14 in object over time, but this is not true. Now, they use tree ring data and various other factors to make better estimates about how much C-14 was in the atmosphere during various periods, which allows them to calibrate the dates to account for these fluctuations. If I have the information, I will try to note in footnotes on the transcript whether the dates are calibrated.
About (Potentially) Forthcoming Features
Photos: I would like to add photos to this podcast to provide a context for the various sites and artifacts that I discuss. I had the incredible fortune of being able to visit Greece one summer, courtesy of an NEH summer seminar, but there were many times when I forgot my camera or, because I do not have a DSLR camera, my pictures did not turn out well. I would be most appreciative if listeners would be willing to contribute photos. Obviously those photos will have to be photos to which you own the copyright or photos which are shared under a license which allows others to use them freely. If you have pictures of the places or artifacts that I have discussed in the podcast that are either in the public domain or for which you own the copyright, feel free to send them to me at historyofgreecepodcast AT gmail DOT com, with the subject line “History of Greece Podcast Photos.” In that email, you must specify whether the picture is in the public domain or if you own the copyright for the photo and, if you own the copyright, to what name and in what format you would like me to attribute the photo.
Interviews: One other thing that I would eventually like to work into the podcast is interviews with scholars who have worked in the field. This is especially important for those things outside of my training, e.g. eras outside of the classical period, topics other than literature and philosophy, topics that require the knowledge of ancient languages other than Greek and Latin. I have not figured out exactly how these interviews would work, but if there are any scholars who are experts in a particular topic would be interested (even if it is a topic that I have already covered due to its chronology), or who are experts in an archaeological method I discuss (i.e. Radiocarbon dating), I would love to hear from you. I would be particularly delighted to talk to those authors whom I cite in the podcast and archaeologists who can provide authoritative information and first hand experience about the sites that I reference but I would be happy to talk to any expert in the field. If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact me by email at historyofgreecepodcast AT gmail DOT com, with the subject line “History of Greece Podcast Interview” so I can discuss possibilities with you.
Copyright for this podcast: This podcast is copyrighted under creative commons licensing, which allows the sharing of the work included in the podcast, provided that the sharer attributes the work to the author and is not using the work for commercial purposes. It also allows for the distribution of adaptations for the work, so long as they are shared under similar conditions and not used for commercial purposes.
History of Greece Podcast by Darby Vickers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Copyright for works which I cite in this podcast: I am attempting to comply with all US copyright laws and I cite and quote under fair use according to U.S.C. 17 § 107, which allows the use of works “nonprofit educational purposes” under this fair use clause. If you own the copyright to something that I have cited, quoted, or used another way, and you feel that I have in some way violated fair use, please contact me at historyofgreece AT gmail DOT com and I’ll try to rectify the situation.
All podcast transcripts and bibliographies employ MLA formatting. You will notice that my in-text citations do not precisely follow traditional MLA standard procedure: I add in the date of the work along with author’s name and page number. I created the addition because I often use works by the same author and I find the MLA practice of short titles to differentiate between works by the same author to be cumbersome and frustrating. In citations that appear in the works cited section, contrary to typical MLA formatting, I also provide a full author list for works with three or more authors. There were also a few circumstances where I was not entirely sure what procedure to follow, so I sometimes added extra information so that I would not leave anything out. More information about the works cited formatting and procedure may be found on the Overall Bibliographies page. That same page contains my acknowledgements section.
Works Cited on the About Page
Boyarin, Daniel. Socrates and the Fat Rabbis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Print.
Duncan, Mike. The History of Rome. 27 July 2007. Web. 20 Sept. 2014. <http://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/the_history_of_rome/>
Renfrew, Colin and Paul Bahn. Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice. 7th ed. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2016. Print.
U.S.C. 17 § 107.”U.S. Copyright Office – Copyright Law: Chapter 1″. Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices. Third edition. US Copyright Office., 2016. Web. 4 Mar. 2016. <http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107>