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Syndication

A substantial portion of the Persian fleet was wrecked in a storm in 492 BCE, but after Darius ordered it to be rebuilt, they set sail for Greece in the summer of 490. Today's episode examines the state of the Persian navy at this point, after which we discuss the fleet's route to Eritrea and Marathon, the site of one of Greece's most famous military victories. It was a land battle though, so after a brief look at some naval elements connected to it, we paint a picture of Athens after Marathon, where political leaders like Themistocles had to fear the newly popular use of ostracism. We conclude by setting the stage for the third and final Persian invasion of Greece.

Direct download: 034_-_Marathon_and_Persian_Naval_Power.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 5:57pm CDT

In today's episode the curtain rises on a young man named Themistocles. He's always recognized for the role that he played at Salamis and in the Greek navy's stand against Persia, but today we go back to the earliest we know about his life. We ended last episode in 493 BCE when the Ionian Revolt was effectively ended at Lade, but in that same year Themistocles was made eponymous archon of Athens. Today we look at the early stages of the naval reforms he tried to institute in Athens, with a particular focus on the Athenian port of Phaleron. It was a weak port despite being the only port Athens had used in her history, so after looking at why it was weak, we then look at the location Themistocles proposed as an alternative, the Piraeus. A story that runs through the episode and probably shaped the views of a young Themistocles is one that involves an island rival of Athens, the mercantile power of Aegina. She'd become a naval power before Athens had, so today we look at an undeclared war that simmered between them, the naval focus of their conflicts, and why Aegina actually played an interesting role in the shaping up of the greater conflict with Persia. There's also a bit in there somewhere about Persia's first attempt to invade Greece and the storm that caused one of the biggest naval disasters to that point in ancient history. A meandering but interesting episode, I hope.

Direct download: 033_-_The_Heraldless_War_and_a_Man_Named_Themistocles.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:11pm CDT

Welcome to our third annual Halloween special here at the Maritime History Podcast. Rather than choose a grim, frightening, or eery tale, this year I felt that a more lighthearted fare was in order. This story was written by an Englishman named Richard Middleton. It tells of a quiet countryside village named Fairfield where the townsfolk are as comfortable with the ghosts that populate the village as they are with their neighbors. After a storm one night, a villager finds a ghostly ship at anchor in his turnip garden, and the story continues to elaborate the rather humorous consequences of having a ghost ship in temporary residence in "the ghostliest place in all England."

Backing music for this story comes courtesy of Danish pianist Peter Bille Larsen. This specific song is Piano Nocturne No. 2 (A Loving Venus Brought You Stars).

Direct download: The_Ghost_Ship_-_by_Richard_Middleton.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:34pm CDT

If Episode 031 covered the heady, opening stages of the Ionian Revolt, then today's episode covers the denouement and rather anticlimactic conclusion of the revolt. At the start of the episode we follow Aristagoras as he goes on a recruiting trip to Sparta and Athens, using a world map to try and sway the Spartan king into joining the revolt. Athenian ships join the revolt, but after some early success in Ionia, Athens quickly withdraws. She has gained the attention of the Persian king by briefly aiding Ionia, but before Darius repays Athenian meddling he resubjugates Ionia and the surrounding regions. The end of the Ionian Revolt and Darius' campaign to retake Ionia centers on Miletus, naturally. The conclusion of our episode focuses on the naval battle that brought an end to the revolt, a letdown of a naval encounter off the island of Lade. Herodotus gives us some great detail about the training of the Ionian navy and the events of the battle itself, so today's episode takes us all over the ancient Greek world.

Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-032-letdown-lade

Direct download: 032_-_The_Letdown_at_Lade.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:37pm CDT

In today's episode we begin our look at the events that directly contributed to the beginnings of the Greco-Persian War. After a brief summation of the events that brought the early Persian Empire into contact with the Ionian Greeks, we take a look at the evidence and theories about what the naval situation was like in the Aegean during the late 6th century BCE. We then consider how and why Persia went about building up its navy, including how Ionian Greek cities fit into the Persian system once they were subjugated. We then meet a tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, who's ambition and cunning spurred an Ionian/Persian invasion of Naxos, where a fleet of 200 ships besieged the island. Following this attempted invasion, we conclude by seeing how Miletus and an Ionian confederation decided to instead seize part of the Persian navy and start revolt against the empire from the east. Somewhere in there we also consider a unique form of punishment aboard a trireme.

 

Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-031-a-persian-navy-an-ionian-revolt

Direct download: 031.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:23pm CDT

Today we have a lengthy primer focused only on the trireme. After a jaunt through some of the evidence related to when the trireme first came into use on the seas of ancient Greece and the Near East we then take a deep dive into the numerous aspects of the ship itself. We discuss the materials used by ancient shipwrights, the process of building and outfitting a trireme, and the design of this ship that set it apart from the oared galleys of archaic Greece. The trireme was essentially an oar-powered maritime missile, so we then outline the various sailors who made up the typical 200-man contingent of each trireme. The trierarch functioned as a ship captain, and from there we meet the other 199 men, 170 of whom were oarsmen. Much of what we know about the trireme has been confirmed via the reconstruction of Olympias and the ensuing sea trials that she underwent. After a bit about Olympias, we conclude with a look at the naval tactics that developed in the wake of the trireme taking over the naval scene in ancient Greece. All in all, what we've got is a 105-minute ode to the most important ship of the ancient world: the trireme.

Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-030-trireme-101-how-to-build-sail-and-ram-and-ancient-greek-warship

Direct download: 030_-_Trireme_101-_How_to_Build_Sail_and_Ram_an_Ancient_Greek_Warship.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 4:51pm CDT

In this installment, we continue to follow the Greeks as they expand yet further. Our first destination is Egypt, where the Greek emporion at Naukratis was set up by a diverse group of mercenaries and traders. The recently discovered port of Thonis-Heraklion also makes an appearance, and we see that mercenary sailors worked for the pharaoh at various times. Greece also like Egyptian prostitutes, apparently. The second part of the episode focuses on the extent of Greek meddling in the far western Mediterranean. There the Phocaeans founded Massalia, and tried to get on friendly terms with the locals. But, Cyrus the Great sacked Phocaea in 546 BCE and the Greeks fled to the colony of Alalia on the island of Corsica. Feeling hard done, the Greeks turned to piracy and thereby united Carthage and the Etruscans against them, which resulted in the Battle of the Sardinian Sea. We cover a lot of ground in today's episode!

 

Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-029-trade-with-egypt-conflict-with-carthage

Direct download: 029_-_Trade_with_Egypt_Conflict_with_Carthage.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 8:23pm CDT

In today's installment, we'll tell a tale of two cities in one sense. The age of colonization in Greece had an early leader in the island of Euboea, but as the Euboeans were stretched thin, Corinth and Miletus rose to become the leaders of Greek colonization. We'll look at the wealth that Corinth controlled thanks partially to her location, but also to the diolkos and other maritime innovations that she instituted. Our second city of focus is Miletus, the 'jewel of Ionia'. She was at the forefront of the Greek push into the Euxine Sea, or, the Black Sea. So after laying out the geography of the 'Pontus Euxinus' and her approaches, we'll look at the colonies, resources, and importance of the Greek effort to unlock the Black Sea. We also consider the aeinautae, a group of magistrates who ruled Miletus by sailing out to sea and weighing anchor until they'd made whatever decision was at hand. An interesting method of governing, to be sure.

Direct download: 028_-_Unlocking_the_Pontus_Euxinus.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 9:07pm CDT

Welcome to our second annual Halloween special here at the Maritime History Podcast. This year I opted for a nautical tale by the ever-popular American author of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Some people love this tale, some hate it, but no matter your side, this is a proper sea-tale of weirdness, "ghosts" and an underlying current of horror, so, without any further rambling, I bring you my reading of Manuscript Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe.

Direct download: Manuscript_Found_in_a_Bottle.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 12:12am CDT

Today we fill in some gaps concerning Greek colonization, looking first at the founding of colonies along the eastern coast of Sicily. The Greeks colonized by force more so than did the Phoenicians, so we'll draw some distinctions there and see how the two cultures began to come into more conflict in and around the central Mediterranean. Then, we learn a bit more about the process of Greek colonization, including a small bit about the role that religion played. The Homeric epics then inform us about the state of shipbuilding in the 8th century BCE, with the famous passage where Odysseus builds a boat taking central stage. We wrap up by trying to flesh out why exactly the Greeks and Phoenicians developed animosity toward each other, with tales from Odysseus and Eumaeus from the Odyssey giving us a window into Greek perceptions. The Greeks continue the push west!

 

Show Notes - http://maritimehistorypodcast.com/ep-027-odysseus-builds-boat

 

Boat Radio - http://boatradio.tv

Direct download: 027_-_Odysseus_Builds_a_Boat.mp3
Category:history -- posted at: 10:39pm CDT