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Literature and History

A podcast covering Anglophone literature from ancient times to the present.
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Literature and History
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Dec 9, 2017

Cicero (106-43 BCE) was the undisputed master of the Latin language. During his first thirty years, he witnessed events that heralded the Republic’s end.

Nov 16, 2017

Lucretius (c. 94-53 BCE) is our most important source for Epicurean philosophy, perhaps the most misunderstood school of thought from the ancient world.

Oct 20, 2017

The Roman playwright Terence (c. 184-159 BCE) produced a string of brilliant comedies in the 160s BCE. His masterpiece, The Brothers, continues to astonish us today.

Sep 29, 2017

Plautus (c. 254-184 BCE) was a prolific comedy writer. His late play, The Rope, captures the dizzying changes sweeping Rome after the Second Punic War.

Sep 17, 2017

Roman literature grew slowly from Greek traditions during the 300s and 200s BCE. Learn about its earliest figures, and how they paved the way for the Age of Cicero.

May 3, 2017

A retrospective of everything L&H has covered so far, plus some special announcements.

Apr 24, 2017

The Hellenistic period – 330-30 BCE, saw Alexander’s successor kingdoms rotting away in the east, the rise of Rome, and the birth of modern consciousness.

Apr 4, 2017

Apollonius’ Jason and the Argonauts, Books 3-4. Mesmerizing Medea takes center stage at the Argonautica’s end, dominating the epic’s events.

Mar 22, 2017

Jason and the Argonauts, Books 1-2. Journey with Jason to find the Golden Fleece, and learn about the Greco-Egyptian writer, Apollonius of Rhodes.

Mar 3, 2017

Menander’s Old Cantankerous (316 BCE), produced during the New Comedy period, shows theater beginning to take on its modern form.

Feb 22, 2017

Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, with all of its nudity, sex, and explicit language, was nonetheless his most powerful salvo against the Peloponnesian War.

Feb 7, 2017

Aristophanes’ The Clouds is a dazzling satire on Athenian philosophy, showing a very different Socrates than Plato’s.

Jan 24, 2017

Euripides’ The Bacchae, one of the darkest  and bloodiest works of Ancient Greek tragedy, is about the spread of cult religions during the late Peloponnesian War.

Jan 5, 2017

Euripides’ Medea is Ancient Greece’s most famous play. But what did it mean to the Athenians in 431 BCE who watched it on the Acropolis?

Dec 21, 2016

Sophocles’ Theban Plays, 3 of 3. Antigone is a timeless and dark story about a clash of wills. But it’s also fascinating snapshot of the philosophical brawls of 5th-century BCE Athens.

Dec 7, 2016

Sophocles’ Theban Plays, 2 of 3. Oedipus at Colonus, out of the ashes of the Peloponnesian War, is a story about a man who has lost everything but his own dignity.

Nov 23, 2016

Sophocles’  Theban Plays, 1 of 3. Oedipus the King is one of literature’s great stories. It’s also a haunting window into the fears of war torn Athens in 429 BCE.

Nov 11, 2016

Aeschylus’ Oresteian Trilogy, 3 of 3. Pursued all the away to Athens by the monstrous Furies, will Orestes prevail, or be torn apart?

Oct 27, 2016

Aeschylus’ Oresteian Trilogy, 2 of 3. The infernal House of Atreus had witnessed almost every imaginable act of depravity. Except for one.

Oct 14, 2016

Aeschylus’ Oresteian Trilogy, 1 of 3. A terrible family curse. A wronged queen. The Trojan War was only the start of the bloodshed.

Sep 30, 2016

Masks. Choruses. Huge prosthetic penises. Before you read Sophocles, Euripides, and company, it’s a good idea to know a bit about Ancient Greek Theater.

Sep 15, 2016

The work of Sappho, Pindar, and other remarkable Greek lyric poets makes us question everything we think we know about poetry, what it is, and what it does.

Sep 1, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 10 of 10. The seventeen Prophetic Books, produced during war and diaspora, are both despairingly bleak and searingly hopeful.

Aug 25, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 9 of 10. What’s the Song of Songs doing in the Bible? Is it a pious hymn to God, or just a couple of horny lovers talking to each other?

Aug 16, 2016

The Old Testament, Part 8 of 10. If there is one Biblical book that explains all of life, thick and thin, love and anguish, that book is probably Ecclesiastes.

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