Literature

Literature and History

Doug Metzger

A podcast covering Anglophone literature from ancient times to the present.

Episodes

Episode 42: The Beginnings of Roman Literature
01:50:47
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:50:47
Episode 42: The Beginnings of Roman Literature

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.

Episode 41: Everything So Far
01:22:52
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:22:52
Episode 41: Everything So Far

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

Episode 40: Hellenism and the Birth of the Self
01:54:41
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:54:41
Episode 40: Hellenism and the Birth of the Self

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.

Episode 39: Medea and the Argonauts (Apollonius' Jason and the Argonauts)
01:36:32
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:36:32
Episode 39: Medea and the Argonauts (Apollonius' Jason and the Argonauts)

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

Episode 38: The Epic Anti-Hero (Apollonius' Jason and the Argonauts)
01:51:46
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:51:46
Episode 38: The Epic Anti-Hero (Apollonius' Jason and the Argonauts)

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.

Episode 37: The New Comedy (Menander's Old Cantankerous)
01:38:18
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:38:18
Episode 37: The New Comedy (Menander's Old Cantankerous)

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

Episode 36: War and Peace and Sex (Aristophanes' Lysistrata)
01:40:27
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:40:27
Episode 36: War and Peace and Sex (Aristophanes' Lysistrata)

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

Episode 35: The Great Thundercrap (Aristophanes' The Clouds)
01:38:42
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:38:42
Episode 35: The Great Thundercrap (Aristophanes' The Clouds)

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

Episode 34: The Traditions of Our Forefathers (Euripides' The Bacchae)
02:06:22
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 02:06:22
Episode 34: The Traditions of Our Forefathers (Euripides' The Bacchae)

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.

Episode 33: Woman the Barbarian (Euripides' Medea)
01:56:35
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:56:35
Episode 33: Woman the Barbarian (Euripides' Medea)

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?

Episode 32: Trees Bending to the Torrent (Sophocles' Antigone)
01:59:57
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:59:57
Episode 32: Trees Bending to the Torrent (Sophocles' Antigone)

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.

Episode 31: The Requiem at Athens (Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus)
01:29:28
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:29:28
Episode 31: The Requiem at Athens (Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus)

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.

Episode 30: Two Legs in the Afternoon (Sophocles' Oedipus the King)
01:54:29
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:54:29
Episode 30: Two Legs in the Afternoon (Sophocles' Oedipus the King)

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.

Episode 29: The Mound and the Furies (Aeschylus' The Eumenides)
01:28:31
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:28:31
Episode 29: The Mound and the Furies (Aeschylus' The Eumenides)

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

Episode 28: A Mother's Curse (Aeschylus' The Libation Bearers)
01:36:35
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:36:35
Episode 28: A Mother's Curse (Aeschylus' The Libation Bearers)

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

Episode 27: The Bloody King (Aeschylus' Agamemnon)
01:53:07
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:53:07
Episode 27: The Bloody King (Aeschylus' Agamemnon)

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

Episode 26: Ancient Greek Theater (The History of 5th-Century BCE Athenian Drama)
01:39:06
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:39:06
Episode 26: Ancient Greek Theater (The History of 5th-Century BCE Athenian Drama)

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.

Episode 25: Lyrical Ballistics (Sappho, Pindar, Archilochus, and Greek Lyric Poetry)
01:35:09
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:35:09
Episode 25: Lyrical Ballistics (Sappho, Pindar, Archilochus, and Greek Lyric Poetry)

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.

Episode 24: God May Relent (The Bible's Prophetic Books)
01:35:21
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:35:21
Episode 24: God May Relent (The Bible's Prophetic Books)

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

Episode 23: Love. Desire. Exegesis. (The Song of Songs/Solomon)
01:13:32
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:13:32
Episode 23: Love. Desire. Exegesis. (The Song of Songs/Solomon)

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?

Episode 22: Fatalism (The Book of Ecclesiastes)
01:25:28
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:25:28
Episode 22: Fatalism (The Book of Ecclesiastes)

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.

Episode 21: The Bible's Magic Trick (The Book of Psalms)
01:18:02
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:18:02
Episode 21: The Bible's Magic Trick (The Book of Psalms)

The Old Testament, Part 7 of 10. In the Book of Psalms,  a single, fascinating, familiar linguistic device propels the world’s most famous poems.

Episode 20: The Problem of Evil (The Book of Job)
01:26:17
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:26:17
Episode 20: The Problem of Evil (The Book of Job)

The Old Testament, Part 6 of 10. If God is so good, then why do the good and innocent suffer? The Book of Job’s aim is to answer this question.

Episode 19: The One Who Struggles with God (The Historical Books and Biblical Archaeology)
02:27:44
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 02:27:44
Episode 19: The One Who Struggles with God (The Historical Books and Biblical Archaeology)

The Old Testament, Part 5 of 10. The Historical Books tell of Israel’s conflicts with Syria, Assyria, Egypt, and finally, exile to the corridors of Babylon.

Episode 18: The 613 Commandments (The Pentateuch's Prescriptive Materials)
01:44:11
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:44:11
Episode 18: The 613 Commandments (The Pentateuch's Prescriptive Materials)

The Old Testament, Part 4 of 10. Eden, the Flood, the Commandments– all fine. But what’s with all the stuff about tents, sacrifices, and – uh – testicles?

Episode 17: Roots of the Pentateuch (The Pentateuch and Comparative Mythography)
01:57:18
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:57:18
Episode 17: Roots of the Pentateuch (The Pentateuch and Comparative Mythography)

The Old Testament, Part 3 of 10. Hear the Biblical story of creation and the first founders of Israel, and the texts that may have influenced this story.

Episode 16: Four Main Parts (Introduction to the Bible's Structure)
01:09:14
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:09:14
Episode 16: Four Main Parts (Introduction to the Bible's Structure)

The Old Testament, Part 2 of 10. There are tons of books,  thousands of proper nouns, and many versions of the Old Testament. But all of it fits into four main parts.

Episode 15: Canaan (Biblical History and Archaeology)
01:28:46
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:28:46
Episode 15: Canaan (Biblical History and Archaeology)

The Old Testament, Part 1 of 10. 1207 BCE. Two world empires. And between them, an unassuming strip of seacoast land that has been at the center of history, ever since.

Episode 14: The Autumn Leaves (Homer's Odyssey, Books 17-24)
01:42:01
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:42:01
Episode 14: The Autumn Leaves (Homer's Odyssey, Books 17-24)

The Odyssey, Part 3 of 3.  As we reach the violent climax of Odysseus’ great adventures, it’s time to spend some time considering Homer’s worldview.

Episode 13: His Mind Teeming (Homer's Odyssey, Books 9-16)
01:30:07
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:30:07
Episode 13: His Mind Teeming (Homer's Odyssey, Books 9-16)

The Odyssey, Part 2 of 3.  We know Odysseus and Achilles well. But what motivates, and distinguishes these two great Ancient Greek heroes?

Episode 12: Kleos and Nostos (Homer's Odyssey, Books 1-8)
01:29:41
2017-09-27 14:32:09 UTC 01:29:41
Episode 12: Kleos and Nostos (Homer's Odyssey, Books 1-8)

The Odyssey, Part 1 of 3.  Adventure, monsters, temptresses, and a whole lot of wine-dark Aegean. Learn all about the world of Homer’s Odyssey.

Episode 11: Who Was Homer? (Homer's Iliad, Books 17-24)
01:27:52
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 01:27:52
Episode 11: Who Was Homer? (Homer's Iliad, Books 17-24)

The Iliad, part 3 of 3.  As the Iliad reaches its  spectacular climax, it’s time to ask a big question. Who wrote it?

Episode 10: Homer's Gods (Homer's Iliad, Books 9-16)
01:23:16
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 01:23:16
Episode 10: Homer's Gods (Homer's Iliad, Books 9-16)

The Iliad, part 2 of 3. They’re violent, unreliable, horny, and sometimes just plain weird. They’re the Homeric pantheon.

Episode 9: Glittering Bronze Men (Homer's Iliad, Books 1-8)
01:35:40
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 01:35:40
Episode 9: Glittering Bronze Men (Homer's Iliad, Books 1-8)

The Iliad, part 1 of 3. Homer’s Iliad is the Tyrannosaurus Rex of ancient epics. And at the core of its 24 books is one shiny metal.

Episode 8: Before Orthodoxy (Hesiod's Theogony)
57:20
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 57:20
Episode 8: Before Orthodoxy (Hesiod's Theogony)

Elementals, giants, titans and gods! Hesiod's Theogony chronicles a great war - one which would leave one entity sovereign over the cosmos.

Episode 7: Hesiod's Lands and Seasons (Hesiod's Works and Days)
01:08:53
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 01:08:53
Episode 7: Hesiod's Lands and Seasons (Hesiod's Works and Days)

Before Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, there was a grouchy farmer poet whose Works and Days continues to fascinate us.

Episode 6: The Pros and Cons of Wisdom (Ancient Egypt's Wisdom Literature)
45:30
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 45:30
Episode 6: The Pros and Cons of Wisdom (Ancient Egypt's Wisdom Literature)

Ancient Egypt produced a great deal of proverbs and wisdom literature. Some of it even slipped into the Bible. But how wise is wisdom literature?

Episode 5: Beneath the Obelisks (Ancient Egyptian Fiction)
50:21
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 50:21
Episode 5: Beneath the Obelisks (Ancient Egyptian Fiction)

We know about Ancient Egypt's pyramids, temples, and sarcophagi. What about its folktales and stories?

Episode 4: Divine Judgment (The Book of the Dead)
52:44
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 52:44
Episode 4: Divine Judgment (The Book of the Dead)

In the 3,500 year old Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, we can find the roots of the world's religions.

Episode 3: He Who Saw the Deep (The Epic of Gilgamesh)
56:55
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 56:55
Episode 3: He Who Saw the Deep (The Epic of Gilgamesh)

The Epic of Gilgamesh, composed 3,000-5,000 years ago, and translated in the 1860s and 70s, was one of the greatest literary discoveries of all time.

Episode 2: Before the Flood (The Enuma Elish and Atrahasis)
53:02
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 53:02
Episode 2: Before the Flood (The Enuma Elish and Atrahasis)

The Enuma Elish and the Atrahasis, in circulation 3,800 years ago, were Mesopotamia's creation and flood epics, making them 1,000 years older than Genesis.

Episode 1: The Tower of Babel (Cuneiform)
01:17:54
2017-09-27 14:32:10 UTC 01:17:54
Episode 1: The Tower of Babel (Cuneiform)

For thousands of years, cuneiform was the means of transmitting information through space and time in the Ancient Near East. Then, something happened.