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Podcast: Ancient Greece Declassified

When the Founding Fathers were drafting the U.S. Constitution, the world around them had been dominated by kingdoms and empires for almost two millennia. But they looked back to an unusual moment in ancient history—the Classical period—and said, “That's what we want.” 

It was an extremely bold move for them to try to implement a political system that had not been attempted in over one and a half thousand years. But they didn't just copy the ancient models—they also tried to improve on them and fix some of the systemic weaknesses that had led those early republics to their eventual downfall. Amazingly, the ancient-inspired Constitution the Founders came up with not only worked but also formed the backbone of the wealthiest and most powerful country in history. In a recent episode of Ancient Greece Declassified, Stanford Humanities Center director Caroline Winterer is interviewed by host Lantern Jack on the influence of Classical models on early American history.

Below are excerpts of the conversation. Listen to the full interview.


Excerpt 1: Highlights include a discussion of the U.S. now and 9/11

Excerpt 2: Highlights include branches of government and class distinction

Excerpt 3: Highlights include African-American and women's history


Related Event: 
Democracy Then and Now: From Ancient Greece to This Week

 A Conversation with Caroline Winterer and Josiah Ober (Political Science and Classics, Stanford), moderated by Tyler Stovall (History, Dean of Humanities at UCSC)
 Feb 2, 7:30 PM | Marines' Memorial Theatre, San Francisco
 Learn More