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Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World
Nearly finished with my current Teaching Company course, which is a relatively long one: 48 half-hour MP3 lectures. My review, from the inventory page:
Very neat course. The professor has a quaint accent (northern British?), and a generally good teaching style. This is a history of Ancient Greece, but specifically a political history. Its main themes are the development of Imperium, Democracy and Law in the Greek world. So it spends a lot of time on topics you don't hear about so much -- for instance, two full lectures on the rise of rhetoric, which became crucial as Athens went in for radical democracy, and four on how the law courts worked. (I find myself wanting to write a LARP set in the courts: it's a rich topic.) The course is principally focused on Athens, but spends a few lectures on Sparta, and the final quarter mainly on Macedonia. (Where he argues persuasively that Philip II was the really "great" King, and Alexander, aside from his skill on the battlefield, was largely an increasingly paranoid loon.)

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Excellent. I always enjoyed these aspects of Greek history. The courts and the senate are excellent settings for a game. The personalities are almost literally larger than life, the politics and the tactics, the showmanship...

And Alexander definitely stood on the shoulders of his giant father. Philip was the one who knew how to hold and to rule and to stabilize. Alexander's tactic was much like the German blitzkrieg -- overwhelm and move on. But he never really tried to hold or consolidate the territory into a single state. Even the British empire was arguably more cohesive politically. Look at the breakup that happened after Alexander died. Now that's also an interesting setting....

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