Aspasia and Pericles

This is often held up as one of history’s great love stories – Plutarch wrote that Pericles kissed Aspasia every single day. And that’s very sweet and romantic, but their high-profile relationship was central to a key period in Greek history.

The Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire was founded by Cyrus II in the 6th century B.C.E., and it became an empire unlike any the world had seen up to that point.

Crucifixion in the Greco-Roman World

While the crucifixion of Jesus is the most most well-known instance of this type of execution, crucifixion was a practice that was both common and taboo all over the Greco-Roman world for almost 1,000 years. Read the show notes here.

Embalming and Mummification Rituals of Ancient Egypt

So how did Ancient Egyptians actually embalm their dead? Thanks in large part to Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, we have some great descriptions of what happened to the deceased.

Zenobia and the Roman Empire

Our focus today is on a woman who was actually covered in the podcast several years ago. But she's a figure so mythic and with so many variations to her story that we wanted to give her another look and a little more time.

Hypatia of Alexandria

Hypatia was one of the earliest female mathematicians and astronomers -- though she wasn't the very first, she was among the greatest. At the time of her murder, she was the foremost mathematician and astronomer in the West - possibly in the world.

The Antikythera Mechanism

In 1900, a shipwreck was discovered near the island of Antikythera, including an assortment of luxury goods: statues, silver coins, vases ... and what turned out to be an amazing 2,000-year-old mechanism.

Boudica: Warrior Queen

Boudica was a queen of the Iceni who staged either a successful rebellion against the Romans or a massacre, depending on who's talking.

Five Historical Robots

Long before Czech playwright Karel Capek coined the term "robot" in his 1920 play "R.U.R.," mechanized creations -- automata -- were being created without electronics or computers. Many were simple, but they paved the way for the robots of today.

The Phoenician Alphabet

The Phoenicians were great ship-builders, sailors and textile experts. But they're most known for developing the alphabet that many modern alphabets are descended from. What drove a merchant culture to switch from cuneiform to a new writing system?