I was listening to a podcast the other day. The discussion was about history and the nature of modern history broadcasting. In particular the host of the Hardcore History podcast mentioned that, these days, he couldn’t bring himself to watch most of what passes for historical documentary or drama. During the course of their discussion one them mentioned that he had been learning about Sparta. It seems that Yale has been putting up lectures on many subjects free of charge. This is the sort of thing that the web was born to do.
I’ve also been learning about ancient Greek history. A year or so ago I read a book by a professor Donald Kagan called The Peloponnesian War. I thought it was rather good. This period is particularly interesting as it revolves around the two major powers at that time: Sparta and Athens. In modern times the heroes would be Athens (Democracy – yay!) while the Spartans would be the baddies (Tyranny – boo). Of course the truth is much more complex. In brief, the bad guys won but ultimately failed and really horrible atrocities were committed on both sides.
You can check these lectures out here at Academic Earth
There are many things to be learned here; I have to say that if I had children who were wanting to research something for an essay or piece of fiction, then I would point them here. With advent of freely available education could we be looking at a time when schools become less relevant: replaced with a combination of video and audio with social interaction done remotely or through some sort of youth centre?