Athens and Its Allies

Athens and Its Allies
By Daniel Stein

In March of 2021, Discentes published an article by Andrew Liu entitled “Athens: Cruel Imperial Power or Falsely Maligned?” It argued that the fifth century Athenian Empire was “a cruel imperial power” that maintained a “regime of control . . . based on fear and intimidation, not willing compliance” over subject peoples, concluding, “it is hard to argue that the Athenians were not a cruel and hated empire.”[1] This essay will take the opposing position. I argue that the Empire was not universally hated…

Plague, Climate Change, and the End of Ancient Civilizations

Plague, Climate Change, and the End of Ancient Civilizations
By Daniel Stein

Periodically, civilizations collapse. Whether through war, disease, famine, or internal strife, complex societies can rapidly vanish, leaving the survivors to start a process of rebuilding that can take centuries. “A society has collapsed,” writes anthropologist Joseph Tainter, “when it displays a rapid, significant loss of an established level of social complexity”…

γνῶθι σαυτόν: A Reassessment of Plato’s Medical Metaphors, The ‘Self’ as a Scientific Subject of Ethics

γνῶθι σαυτόν: A Reassessment of Plato’s Medical Metaphors, The ‘Self’ as a Scientific Subject of Ethics
By Sheena McKeever

Cohered with empirical knowledge, Plato’s medical metaphors illuminate the physical and ethical constituents of the human being. His interrogative dialogues set out to identify personhood, to know thyself (γνῶθι σαυτόν). Plato places the person, as opposed to physical elements of the universe, at the center of his philosophy. As a scientific subject, the person provides access to understanding human nature. Plato imbues his dialogues with medical analogies that delineate the person systematically as a subject of ethics. His medical metaphors, highlighting a range of phenomena…

Seth, a Dynamic and Enigmatic God

Seth, a Dynamic and Enigmatic God
By Will Byun

Multiple debates concern the true nature of Seth, Son of Nut. Since he is described as the god of confusion and disorder (te Velde, “Seth”), one may be tempted to compare him to Loki of Norse mythology, or even perhaps to Hermes of the Greeks, both notorious for being mischievous tricksters. However, Seth’s character is more complicated than this…

An Examination of Severan Women and Their Power in the Royal Family

An Examination of Severan Women and Their Power in the Royal Family
By Anna Komisarof

The Severan dynasty controlled Rome from 193 to 235 CE following a seizure of the state by Septimius Severus. A North African native, Septimius Severus tried to emphasize the legitimacy of his dynasty throughout his rule. However, the failure of the male line and short marriages by later emperors meant that the legitimacy of the Severan dynasty came from the maternal side, as women were the most constant figures within the royal family…

Aristotle and the Argument for American Slavery

Aristotle and the Argument for American Slavery
By Olivia Haynie

Throughout history, philosophers and authors from ancient Greece and Rome have inspired later civilizations and generations. Their ideas on governance, morality, and democracy have launched countless movements for political liberty and justice. However, they have also inspired proponents of bigotry: The Involuntary Celibate (Incel) Movement drew inspiration from Ovid and the Stoics, the Third Reich was influenced by Tacitus, and in antebellum America, proponents of slavery found an advocate in Aristotle.

Electra and Clytemnestra

Electra and Clytemnestra: Foils in the Liminal Realm
By Ashley Koca

The relationship between the characterizations of Clytemnestra and Electra in Aeschylus’ Oresteia can be visually synthesized through an Archaic shield dating back to 570 B.C. (see fig. 1). The shield itself embodies a combination of…

Demonstering: A Postcolonial Reading of Aeneid 3, & The Practice of Humanizing Monsters in Ancient Literature

Demonstering: A Postcolonial Reading of Aeneid 3, & The Practice of Humanizing Monsters in Ancient Literature By Anna Coopey   Introduction Virgil was a witness to colonization and imperialism. He grew up in Mantua, and experienced, as a young man, the results of the civil wars where Augustus’s allies carved up the land for themselves. […]