Donald Kagan and Ancient Greece
A new gadget for Christmas: an iPod shuffle. It's smaller than my pinky and weighs about an ounce. Amazing. Now I have music for my walks and workouts. Or lectures. the iTunes store has an impressive offering of free podcasts. One of the first things I downloaded is Donald Kagan's Introduction to Ancient Greek Civilization course at Yale. I've already listened to the course introduction and the first lecture, which talks about Mycenaean culture. (And while listening, sitting at the computer, I discovered this course is also available for free on video. Check out this spectacular website, AcademicEarth.org. I don't believe "revolutionary" is overstating it if we want to talk about the democratization of educational opportunities.Kagan, of course, has become a prominent neo-conservative, but he is best known as the author of a mammoth four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War. I started to read Thucydides' famous history once, but never got very far. This past year, Kagan published, most appropriately, a biography of Thucydides. A good review from the Washington Post can be found here. And if you're not sure how to pronounce the name of the famous Greek historian, listen here. Some other day maybe I'll write about Kagan's politics, but for today suffice to say I'm most happy with this new toy. (My first impression is that Kagan is not an especially engaging lecturer, but neither is he dull.) In the image, Thucydides.