Greece

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

On September 2, 1814, German archaeologist and historian Ernst Curtius was born, who directed the excavation of Olympia from 1875–1881, the most opulent and sacred religious shrine of ancient Greece and site of the original Olympic Games. “It is the relationship to the Eternal that gives us strength and endurance and self-denial; it teaches us in science to distinguish the essential from the unessential; it makes knowledge a virtue and research a…
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Adolf Furtwängler and Photographic Archeology

Adolf Furtwängler and Photographic Archeology

On June 30, 1853, German archaeologist and historian Adolf Furtwängler was born. He revolutionized archeological science with his use of photography for documentation. His use of photography in research supplanted the use of drawings because a camera gives objective reproduction with more accuracy, which enabled fragments to be scrutinized, even when they were miles apart. Adolf Furtwängler Background Adolf Furtwängler grew up in a very educated family. His father was a classical…
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Euclid of Alexandria – the Father of Geometry

Euclid of Alexandria – the Father of Geometry

At about 330 BC, Euclid of Alexandria was born, who often is referred to as the Father of Geometry. His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, serving as the main textbook for teaching mathematics (especially geometry) from the time of its publication until the late 19th or early 20th century. In the Elements, Euclid deduced the principles of what is now called Euclidean geometry from…
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Pierre de Coubertin and the Idea of the Olympic Games

Pierre de Coubertin and the Idea of the Olympic Games

On June 23, 1894, French educator and historian Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Because of his initiative he is considered the father of the modern Olympic Games, the first one organized in Greece only two years later in 1896. “In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit…
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Aspasia of Miletus – Greek Philosopher

Aspasia of Miletus – Greek Philosopher

Aspasia was a female Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC. Little is known about her life, but she appears in the writings of Plato, Aristophanes, of Miletus Xenophon and other greek philosophers. It is said that Aspasia‘s teaching should have influenced Socrates, the most important of all Greek philosophers. A Well Known Person in the Streets of Athens Aspasia was born in the Greek city of Miletus (in today’s province Aydın, Turkey)…
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Heinrich Schliemann and his Dream of Troy

Heinrich Schliemann and his Dream of Troy

On December 26, 1890, Heinrich Schliemann, German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and livelong advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of ancient Greek poet Homerpassed away. His dreams came true when he succeeded in excavating Hissarlik, now presumed to be the site of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. Without Schliemann, the world of ancient Greek history and the verses of Homer would have remained…
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Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

On January 22, 1788, George Gordon Noel Byron, 6. Baron Byron of Rochdale, commonly known simply as Lord Byron, English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement was born. I remember to have learned about Lord Byron back at school with his lengthy narrative poems like Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage or the shorter and much more beautiful poem “She Walks in Beauty“. Anyway, Byron is considered one of the greatest British…
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Harriet Boyd Hawes and the Minoan Culture

Harriet Boyd Hawes and the Minoan Culture

On October 11, 1871, American archaeologist, nurse, and relief worker Harriet Boyd Hawes was born. Hawes is best known as the discoverer and first director of Gournia, one of the first archaeological excavations to uncover a Minoan settlement and palace on the Aegean. Harriet Ann Boyd Hawes  was the daughter of leather merchant Alexander Boyd and had four older brothers. Her mother Harriet Fay Wheeler Boyd died when she was a child. She…
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Basilios Bessarion and the Great Revival of Letters

Basilios Bessarion and the Great Revival of Letters

On January 2, 1403, Roman Catholic Cardinal Bishop Basilius Bessarion was born. The titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, Bessarion was one of the illustrious Greek scholars who contributed to the great revival of letters in the 15th century. One of the most learned scholars of his time, Bessarion spread knowledge of Greek language and learning by building a personal library that included a large collection of Greek manuscripts, by his patronage of…
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Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician in the second century BC. He is considered the founder of trigonometry but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. His other reputed achievements include the discovery and measurement of Earth‘s precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalog of the western world, and possibly the invention of the astrolabe, also of the armillary sphere, which…
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