October 16 2012

Nobody expects the Macedonian Expedition

Here's episode 25 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head around our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

Athens and the rest of Greece has risen, high on its defeat of Persia. And now it has fallen into internal wars and bickering, disunited and collapsing in on itself. Much of this can be blamed on Athen's avarice, wanting to rule the other city-states. Thebes then looked to imitate Athens, by conquering surrounding lands, but it was not only met with mixed success, but also created some unintended consequences: educating and providing opportunity for a father and son from Macedonia to rise to power over the Greek and Persian worlds...

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October 9 2012

One Greek practice in the many

Here's episode 24 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

In this class, the High School class is finished with the Greco-Persian wars, and they're now looking at just what the Athenians got up to, now this victorious, relatively prosperous power in the Mediterranean. Like the Lower Elementary class, they've been looking at one of the greatest of these occupations: Philosophy. I think you'll get an idea of the difference between the Lower Elementary and High School classes with this episode. This is is a short section of an hour long lesson (compared to the Lower Elementary half-hour lesson), and goes into more, and more abstract, detail about the significance of philosophy to the Greeks and to us.

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September 24 2012

What did the Athenians ever do for us?

Here's episode 23 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

In this class, the Lower Elementary students have started the Golden Age of Athens, a period which came in the peace following the Greek triumph over the invading Persian forces. The Lower Elementary class are introduced to one of the main industries of this time - Philosophy - and one of one of the main characters produced in that time, someone to whom we owe a great debt: Socrates. This is a man they class have actually already encountered in their History Through Art classes - in this famous piece by David - but now they get to spiral back, as we're found of doing here, approaching the same material but from a different angle, integrating different pieces of knowledge.

As students progress at History At Our House they don't just hear about Socrates. In fact, upon entering the High School level, they actually get the chance to study some of Socrates' writings!

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September 18 2012

“Doesn’t play well with others” - Sparta spurns Athens

Here's episode 22 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

Athens and Sparta always had very opposed ideologies and, even though they were not at war with each other for much of their existence, the peace between them was very uneasy. Sometimes it's best to just avoid each other... but when one group of people goes out of their way to help another group, and is then spurned, well... things can get messy!

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August 27 2012

The Greco-Persian wars: a rag-tag group of rebels vs the Empire

Here's episode 21 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

The period of the Greco-Persian wars is one of those triumphant moments in history, where something incredibly good actually happens. History tends to have a lot of muddling forward, and a lot of people making bad decisions. The Greco-Persian wars themselves aren't utterly bereft of any of this, but they are still a mighty triumph, one which made possible a golden age in Athens which gave us a lot of art, science and philosophy which we still enjoy and are moved by today!

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August 21 2012

The destructive tensions in a society of slaveholders

Here's episode 20 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

As anyone from the United States well knows, slavery can cause massive tensions and rifts in any state. Particularly when that state is establishing itself as a "free" state, and trying to figure out what that word means. Greece had its own trouble with this (something students will see repeated in the Roman empire!). Although the slaves were "self-made" in a certain sense (they forfeited their and their family's freedom when they went bankrupt), it was still a cruel system, creating a lot of resentment - with tensions that came close to exploding!

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August 15 2012

Athens: A terrible place to build a monarchy

Here's episode 19 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

One of the things we're hot on here is the significance of events. It's not enough to know that such-and-such a people believed this or that such-and-such an event happened. We want to make sure students understand why it all matters. The Athenians had what is in many ways a strange form of government (one that went through many changes in its lifetime). In the period looked at here, we look at the significance of a certain aspect of their form of government: namely that there existed "monarchs", but these were very different creatures from the Kings we know of Europe. Indeed, because of the limits placed on this monarch it was very difficult to build any lasting legacy as a monarch, to have an enduring thing which could be called "The Monarchy", as we'll see!

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August 6 2012

The Ancient and Spartan ideology of Communism

Here's episode 18 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

This week we're with the High School class, where students grapple a lot more with the ideas being bandied about in each period. They work to understand what these ideas are and how they influenced events. In this particular class the students studied why the Spartans were one of history's earliest examples of a Communist culture, and how understanding this is important in integrating ancient events with modern events. Students gain a better grasping the nature of various forms of governments as well as forming an enduring picture of humans as having a certain nature, as reacting in characteristic ways to similar conditions.

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July 31 2012

The Peculiarly Greek Olympics

Here's episode 17 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round our classroom doors here at History At Our House!

Well, the Olympics are in full swing now, so why don't we learn a little bit about their origins? This clip comes from a class late last year, but it's especially relevant now. Nowadays, the Olympics is a pretty standard event. It's a tribute to great mastery, tenacity, and passion no less, but it meant something even more back in its founding...

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July 23 2012

The Limits of the Persian Empire

Here's episode 16 of the podcast, where we let you peek your head round one of our classroom doors, here at History At Our House!

And so we reach the edges of the Persian Empire, its borders and its capabilities. As the class looked at last time, there's a reason we're so interested in Mesopotamia: it's because of the Persians! And in particular, we care about why they came into conflict with another ancient peoples, and what led to that ancient battle we hear so much clamouring about (particularly in recent years, after a certain film). What was it that bounded their Westward expansion - geographically and, more importantly, ideologically?

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