Read more: Drawing on our study of the soul and the city, we use classical canons of thought and traditional hermeneutics to dissect Book 2 of the Republic! What was Plato really getting at with this cryptic, sometimes offensive work? And more importantly, is there any hope for the city, the society, or the state in... (). . .
Read more: Drawing on our study of the soul and the city, we use classical canons of thought and traditional hermeneutics to dissect Book 1 of the Republic! What was Plato really getting at with this cryptic, sometimes offensive work? And more importantly, is there any hope for the city, the society, or the state in... (). . .
Read more: After the fall of the Roman Republic, we ask the question: “why does it seem that no regime can endure?” According to Plato, part of the answer lies in the link between the soul and the city. In the words of Socrates, “the city is the soul writ large.” Tune in as we re-visit... (). . .
Read more: Have a podcast? Want some free publicity? In this C&C episode, I’ll be recommending other podcasts whose focus corresponds to one or more episodes on THP. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you want to have your show featured on the website. By the by, we’ll read some correspondence and address some... (). . .
Read more: Ever have one of those days where your lame boss demands a piece of political propaganda, and all you wanna do is write the definitive literary masterpiece of your civilization’s history?! Well, during the reign of Emperor Augustus, a man named Virgil had just such a day! Follow along with Virgil’s hero — Aeneas... (). . .
Read more: In this exciting conclusion to our three-part miniseries, we say “vale” to the Roman Republic! Along the way, we’ll see how Caesar’s gamble pays off, how his clemency policy doesn’t pay off, and why having a good PR team is a must-have for an aspiring emperor. Warning: Some listeners may experience deja-vu when they... (). . .
Read more: In Part 2 of our tripartite series on the last days of the Roman Republic, we’ll see if the three-man stalemate struck by Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar can sustain a lasting peace! Along the way, Caesar concocts a plan that’s just crazy enough to work, Crassus gets himself into a pickle, and Pompey is... (). . .
Read more: In Part 1 of a three-episode series on the dying days of the Roman Republic, we’ll meet the four key players of the 1st century B.C.: Sulla, Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar! Along the way, we’ll see how the line between buffoonery and awesomeness is sometimes very fine, why some public services ought not... (). . .
Read more: Tune in as we flashback to the Siege of Syracuse, visiting the Mad Scientist of Sicily and his space-age death contraptions! After that, we’ll touch base with Cato the Elder and see how he’s been holding up since the end of the Second Punic War. (Spoiler: he’s sad it’s over.) Finally, we’ll see how... (). . .
Read more: “Hi ho! Hi ho! It’s off to Rome we go! With war elephants and Numidian cavalry…hi ho! Hi ho! Hi ho! Hi ho!” Come sing along with Hannibal as he marches on Rome, fulfilling his childhood oath to destroy Rome on behalf of his home city of Carthage! Will he win? Find out in... (). . .
Read more: In the last episode, we built a Republic. In this episode, we’ll tear it down! Tune in to find out how the patron-client relationship sent the Roman constitution to sleep with the fishes! Along the way, we’ll see how the Roman legions invented new tactics, how the Gauls discovered wine, and why Jar Jar–despite... (). . .
Read more: How did the Romans go from masters of Italy to masters of the Mediterranean in only 53 years? Well, if you ask the historian Polybius, the answer you’ll get is “Government.” In this political case study on the Roman Republic, we’ll see how the various social orders and their special interests were represented by... (). . .
Read more: Salvete! And welcome to the Eternal City of Rome! In this introductory episode, we’ll learn how a pair of belligerent feral children who were raised by wolves  beat the geopolitical odds and founded a city that captured the world’s imagination (along with a good bit of its territory) for over 2500 years!... (). . .
Read more: In the rough-and-tumble Hellenistic World, new philosophies emerge that will influence Greece, Rome, and beyond! Tune in to find out how Eastern ideas seeped into the thought of those who followed Aristotle, bringing us Cynicism, Hedonism, and Stoicism. Finally, we’ll get a sneak peak as to what happens to Platonism in the millennium following... (). . .
Read more: After a cliffhanger ending, Part 2 of our series on the classical origins of political thought continues with the rest of Plato’s Republic, Book I. Next, we’ll see what Aristotle has to say about justice and the best society. Finally, we’ll get a sneak preview of what’s to come on our tour of social,... (). . .
Read more: Join us for the first episode in a two-part introduction to social thought as we re-trace our steps through history and see how past civilizations created legitimacy in their political and economic orders. Specifically, we’ll learn how geography, the natural world, and an understanding of the divine order shaped beliefs about human affairs. From... (). . .
Read more: Climb aboard the Heritage SpacePod as we blast off toward an exploration of Aristotle’s cosmos! Along the way, we’ll learn how Aristotle organized the universe into a set of concentric spheres, how he explained the motions of the heavenly bodies, and finally, how God fits into the picture. While we’re at it, we’ll see... (). . .
Read more: In Part 2 of our series on Aristotle, we discover how Plato’s finest student went on to break with his teacher on such topics as the forms, the theory of mind, and epistemology. Tune in to find out how Aristotle brought Plato’s forms “down to earth,” paving a fork in the road in the... (). . .
Read more: In this episode, we officially meet Plato’s greatest student (…and, incidentally, Alexander’s greatest teacher)! As we learn about the life and labors of the man whom medieval scholars knew simply as “The Philosopher,” we’ll see how Aristotle’s scientific mind organized the world into a logical system of categories, causes, and change.. . .
Read more: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them…or so Shakespeare tells us. But which case does Alexander–King of Macedonia from 356-323 B.C.–fall into? Maybe all three! In this episode about the life and conquest of Alexander the Great, find out how a 19-year old prodigy led the Greek... (). . .
Read more: In part two of our study of the Peloponnesian War, we extract three historical lessons from the 30-year conflict that pitted Athens against Sparta and destroyed the ancient Greek world. Tune in to find out how smaller states can manipulate great powers, how free democracies are capable of great atrocities, and how prolonged war... (). . .
Read more: In this first episode of our two-part series on the Peloponnesian War, we destroy ancient Greek civilization! Well…not just yet…first we learn how the Spartans and the Athenians divided the Aegean between two alliances in a cold war that would make the Americans and Soviets blush! Along the way, we’ll see why the Spartans... (). . .
Read more: In this corrections and correspondence episode, we hear from listeners around the world about Buddhism, Phidippides, and royalty-free music! Also, find out how your music can be featured on the podcast (with a shout-out!) and how you can support the show as a card-carrying “Heritage Ambassador!”. . .
Read more: When it comes to knowledge, some people say “you can feel it in your bones!” But what about in your soul? Find out why Plato’s theory of forms entails a theory of innate, a priori knowledge in this episode on Platonic epistemology. Additionally, we’ll consider candidates for Plato’s God, and their significance to later... (). . .
Read more: In order to help us better understand his theory of forms, Plato paints a picture of an ignorant humanity, trapped by empiricism, and unaware of its own limited perspective. Occasionally, though, a rare individual escapes the confines of this “cave.” After an arduous intellectual journey, the philosopher discovers a higher realm, a true reality,... (). . .
Read more: If every human disappeared tomorrow, would 1 + 1 still equal 2? If none of us has ever seen a perfect circle, does that mean circles don’t really exist? Plato believed that the world we perceive through our senses was different from the world that we perceive through our minds. It’s in this other... (). . .
Read more: “The safest characterization of Western Philosophy is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato” …or, so says Alfred North Whitehead. In this episode, find out how the philosophic agenda for the last 2500 years was set by dude whom history honors with the nickname “Tubby.” Along the way, we introduce the... (). . .
Read more: What is justice? What is virtue? In a world governed by unexamined assumptions and pretenses to knowledge, is there value to revisiting these fundamental questions? This is the guiding question asked by Socrates of Athens, a 70-year-old sculptor known by the Oracle of Delphi as “the wisest man in the world!”. . .
Read more: Thanks to guys like Socrates and Plato, “sophist” is a dirty word! Were these itinerant teachers of rhetoric actually progressive thinkers who questioned the prevailing social mores of their time? Or were they unscrupulous charlatans who would talk out of both sides of their mouths for a drachma? Truth, justice, and virtue are at... (). . .
Read more: E Pluribus Unum or Ex Uno Plures? Is the fundamental nature of reality one thing, or many? In this final episode on the Pre-Socratic metaphysicists, find out what Greek philosophers like Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Leucippus had to say on the subject!. . .
Read more: We give more well-deserved attention to Parmenides, exploring his mind-boggling assertion that all reality is one! After developing his thought in greater detail and offering up new criticisms, we’ll check our mail re-visit the Hebrew conception of the soul.. . .
Read more: Before we can get to the great Athenian philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, we first need to learn what their contemporaries in Italy had to say about mathematics, the mind, and knowledge. From the ideas of thinkers like Pythagoras, Parmenides, and Zeno, we’ll lay the foundations of Rationalism, one of the two great... (). . .
Read more: Returning to the long-lost city of Miletus, we begin our journey through the history of Western philosophy alongside pre-Socratic thinkers such as Thales (who thought that everything was water), Anaximander (who thought that everything was nothing), and Heraclitus (who thought that everyone was a waste of his time)! Building on our vocabulary of philosophy,... (). . .
Read more: What is the universe made of? Why does nature operate in the ways that it does? What is truth? Can we even know truth? Is there a God? Ought we to behave in certain ways? These questions are the subject of the timeless conversation that is Western Philosophy. In this episode, we’ll define some... (). . .
Read more: Enter stage right! It’s time to break a leg as we explore the world of Greek Drama. Drawing on Homer and the great myths of ancient Greek religion, these early plays “set the stage” for 2500 years of Western Literature! We’ll explore how and why the ancient Greeks wrote plays, examine the differences between... (). . .
Read more: In this corrections and correspondence episode, we delve a little deeper into the history of the Persian Empire. In particular, we learn more about Cyrus the Great and his son, Cambyses, clearing up some misconceptions about the Persian War from the last episode. Thanks to everyone who wrote in!. . .
Read more: Something is coming…something big! All of Asia is mustered, and they’re coming to enslave Athens, Sparta, and the rest of the gang! In this episode about the Persian War, we’ll hear Herodotus’ account of the titanic conflict that pit the Aegean world against Xerxes, King of Persia. From Marathon, to Thermopylae, to Salamis, we’ll... (). . .
Read more: The Ancient Athenian Tourism Bureau welcomes you, Spartan, to our walking tour of the City of Athens. On the way, we’ll learn about the differences between our two great city-states. Farming, government, and social life…you’ll see it all on our tour of the polis! (It’s a good thing the archons gave you special permission…I... (). . .
Read more: In this episode on ancient Greek warfare, we learn about the fabled military formation that would take the Balkan city-states from amateur skirmishers to imperial powers: the phalanx! Alone, each hoplite (or shield-carrying soldier) was a helpless target, but as part of a phalanx, the Aegean citizen-soldier became a force to be reckoned with.... (). . .
Read more: In this episode on Greek Mythology, we’ll see how from Chaos came Darkness, from Darkness came Love, and from Love came Light and Day. …Before long, the universe had created the gods! Still, the universe was not ready for Greek Civilization. The barbaric world of primordial violence had to be tamed by the anthropomorphic... (). . .
Read more[audio:] : Better call upon a muse…because it’s time to revisit the epic! Focusing on Homer’s Iliad, we see how fate, anger, individualism, and hubris are viewed in the ancient Greek world, and how Homer employed these themes to give ancient Greece her heroes and her history!. . .
Read more: It’s anchors aweigh as we set sail for the stormy Aegean Sea! Before the Greeks came to inhabit the Mediterranean, the Aegean was home to two Bronze Age Civilizations: the Minoans and the Mycenaeans. In Episode 19, we’ll learn how myth and archaeology have shaped our understanding of these civilizations along with the rest... (). . .
Read more: [THIS EPISODE IS UNDERGOING REVISION AND WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!] In this whirlwind tour of the Hebrew Bible, we follow the history of ‘God’s Chosen People’ from the Creation of the World to their captivity in Babylon. The Garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel, the Ark of the Covenant, and more…these magnificent stories play... (). . .
Read more: In this literature episode, we share in the plight of Job: a good man to whom bad things happened! As long as people have believed in a just universe or a loving, all-powerful God, they have been dogged by The Problem of Evil, or “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” Tune in... (). . .
Read more[audio:] : [THIS EPISODE IS UNDERGOING REVISION AND WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!] In episode 16 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we discover a small Semitic kingdom that changed the world. Historically, philosophically, literarily, and religiously: the legacy of the Hebrews weighs in far out of proportion to their humble beginnings and small territory. As essential pillars of... (). . .
Read more: In our first literature episode on “The Heritage Podcast,” we follow in the footsteps of history’s oldest hero: Gilgamesh of Uruk. Beginning with a discussion of the epic poem, we then read what is probably the oldest work of literary fiction: a story of adventure, friendship, death, and the meaning of life. We practice... (). . .
Read more: In episode 14 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we caravan to the Land Between the Rivers…or is it “The Cradle of Civilization”…what about “the Fertile Crescent”? Whatever you call it, it’s a land of important firsts, where unpredictable floods and capricious gods sustained a civilization whose legacy stands the test of time. From the Sumerian... (). . .
Read more: In this corrections and correspondence episode, we end our two month hiatus by catching up on old mail, honoring Memorial Day, and laying out the plan for the next few episodes. It’s good to be back!. . .
Read more: In episode 13 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we sail along the banks of the Nile River to the land of pharaohs and pyramids. From the Old Kingdom to the New, we learn how an isolated desert valley played host to the first great African empire and founded a civilization that would captivate students of... (). . .
Read more: In episode 12 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we journey in the footsteps of Siddhartha Gautama–or the Buddha–on his quest for spiritual awakening and enlightenment. Considering the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, we discover what Buddhism and its major denominations have to say about life, suffering, and the nature of reality.. . .
Read more: In episode 11 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we discover what the Hindu religion says about the nature of reality and the meaning of life. Exploring religious texts like the Ramayana and the Bhagavad-Gita, we learn about such concepts as the Brahman, the Atman, and the pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses. Additionally, certain terminology... (). . .
Read more: In episode 10 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we travel West, crossing the Himalayas into the Indian subcontinent: a land of infinite diversity, but unmistakable unity. The Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic India, and the Mauryan Empire are explored, paying special attention the Aryan Migration theories that try to explain the origins of ancient India.. . .
Read more: In episode 9 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we delve into the tumultuous “Spring and Autumn” period between the Zhou and Qin dynasties, where deep thinkers proffered new philosophies that continue to shape China and the world today. Topics include Confucius, Mencius, Mozi, Daoism, and the Legalism of Han Fei.. . .
Read more: In episode 8 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we journey along the banks of the flooded Huang Hu (or “Yellow”) River, where five dynasties–the Xia, the Shang, the Zhou, the Qin, and the Han–forged a unique civilization that remains today. From antiquity to year 0, dynastic history and achievements are emphasized; the philosophic developments of... (). . .
Read more: In this corrections and correspondence episode, we read our mail from previous weeks and then preface our study of the upcoming River Valley Civilizations with a word on the usage of “civilization.” An outline of what’s to come is provided, along with several announcements.. . .
Read more: In episode 7 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we develop a lens for analyzing the many myths, religious texts, and creation stories that we are going to encounter in the ancient world. Beginning with Carl Jung and his theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious, we then discuss Joseph Campbell’s theories of comparative mythology, and... (). . .
Read more: In episode 6 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we explore the revolutionary effect that agriculture had on early humans, and how pre-historic cities “cropped” up all over Eurasia. Before going into too much detail, though, we explain the phenomenon of the Ice Ages, and how the last one had to end before humankind could truly... (). . .
Read more: In episode 5 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we search for the origins of man among the early hominids in the Old Stone Age, trying to answer the question “What Makes Us Human?” From Australopithecus to Homo neanderthalensis, how did our ancestors live, work, and worship in the world before history?. . .
Read more: In episode 4 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we kick off our study of history with a brief look at historiography, and how historians do what they do. Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary sources are defined. On a lighter note, we learn why Herodotus was way more gullible of an historian than Thucydides.. . .
Read more: In this follow up to episode 3 we read our correspondence from last week and then review the third and final element of the Trivium: Rhetoric. Recommendations are offered for further reading.. . .
Read more: In episode 3 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we offer a quick lesson in deductive logic, inductive logic, and common fallacies. We also examine how the principle of non-contradiction causes problems with relativistic thinking.. . .
Read more[audio:] : [THIS EPISODE IS UNDERGOING REVISION AND WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON!] In episode 2 of “The Heritage Podcast,” we attempt to define the concept of Western Civilization in a world history context. Next we discuss the concept of the “dialectic” as a perennial conversation between thinkers in history. Finally, we review our syllabus and... (). . .
Read more: In this inaugural episode of “The Heritage Podcast,” we examine the history of the classical, liberal arts education from Ancient Greece, to Medieval Europe, to the modern university. We also discuss the purpose of this podcast while exploring several past attempts to define the liberal arts and discover how we can become self-educators in... (). . .
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