National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Glenn Bugh

Affiliation: Virginia Tech

Dr. Glenn Bugh is an Associate Professor of Ancient History at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Ancient History from Iowa State University (M.A. and B.S.), and Ph.D in Ancient History from the University of Maryland. His areas of specialization are Byzantine and Venetian history, as well as Ancient Military History. Dr. Bugh has held post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington, D.C.; the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, NJ; and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and has taught in England, Switzerland, and Greece.


In 1886 Albert Martin published his magisterial study on the Athenian cavalry, Les cavaliers atheniens. For almost 100 years it was the gold standard of cavalry studies, but with the publication of J.K. Anderson’s Ancient Greek Horsemanship (1961), the field exploded with threecbooks on ancient Greek cavalry and two others focused on the cavalry of Athens. And studies of the horse itself have found their way into three dissertations and a M.A. thesis. Martin had at his disposal the canonical Greek military historians Herodotus, Thucydides, and especially Xenophon, who wrote two fundamental fourth century BC treatises on equestrian topics, The Cavalry Commander (Hippachikos) and On
Horsemanship (Peri Hippikes). Aristophanes’ late fifth c. BC play, The Knights (Hippeis) offered a lens, albeit comic, into the military and social ethos of the youthful long-haired aristocratic horsemen of Athens. However, Martin did not have access to the Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians published in 1891. In section 40?, this treatise describes the annual inspection (dokimasia) by the Council of 500 of the cavalry mounts and their troopers every year in the fourth century BC and adds valuable information on the military office of the Hipparch to Lemnos. Martin made the most of the inscriptions and artistic representations (like the Parthenon cavalcade and vase paintings) available in his day, but he could not have imagined the incredible increase in epigraphical and sculptural artefacts that would emerge from the German excavations of the Kerameikos in the 1960’s and the American excavations in the Athenian Agora in the 1970’s and 1980’s. And the discoveries keep coming: an important cavalry inscription dated to the Peloponnesian War was uncovered (and is still not fully published) in the
excavations of the Palaiologou Shaft of the new Metro subway in Athens in 1995. To these have now been added the horse skeletons found in the recent excavations of the ancient Athenian cemetery at Phaleron and now being studied by American and Greek scholars in the Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. These discoveries in turn inspired the lecture series HIPPOS. The Horse in Ancient Athens and the accompanying exhibition hosted by the American School in the early months of 2022. To say that there has been a renaissance in cavalry studies in the last sixty years would be an understatement.
Nothing can demonstrate this point more clearly than the discovery of hundreds of inscribed lead tablets. In 1965, 574 inscribed lead tablets were recovered by German archaeologists from a well in the courtyard of the Dipylon Gate in the Kerameikos. These 3rd c. BC documents were studied by Karin Braun of the German Archaeological Institute and published in 1970. Four years later, another cache of lead tablets, 26 from the fourth century and 85 from the third were recovered from a well in the northwest quadrant of the Agora and published in Hesperia (1977) by Jack Kroll. The well also produced 25 fourth century clay discs naming Pheidon, Hipparch to Lemnos, and nine lead armor tokens, unquestionably related to the administration of the cavalry. This epigraphically rich area must surely be close to the-as-yet undiscovered cavalry headquarters, the Hipparcheion, attested only once by name in an inscription dated to 188/7 BC. The inscribed lead tablets from the Kerameikos and the Agora were folded or rolled up with the name of an Athenian in the genitive case on the outside for ready identification. On the inside were recorded descriptive elements of a horse: color, brand, and a sum of money in drachmas. Braun surmised and Kroll confirmed that these were appraisals of the monetary worth of war horses of the cavalry and that they represent the timeseis ton hippon, attested in two cavalry inscriptions of the 3rd and 2nd c. BC.

In the middle of the fifth century BC, Athens created a cavalry to advance its imperial ambitions. A thousand-man corps, along with 200 mounted bowmen, participated in numerous batt les to determine the fate of the Greek world. However, by the third century, after Alexander the Great had passed into legend, the Athenian cavalry corps had been reduced to a few hundred men. These changes are documented through the epigraphical record and trace the decline of Athens as a global military power. Text and artifact join to give us the most comprehensive portrait of a military institution in the Greek world.

In 1993, Washington, D.C. hosted ‘The Birth of Democracy: An Exhibition Celebrating the 2500th Anniversary of Democracy’ at the National Archives. It marked the 2500th anniversary of Kleisthenes’ reforms of the Athenian constitution in 508/7 BC that heralded the emergence of the democracy in Athens. The exhibition displayed archaeological artefacts from the time of the reforms of the Athenian lawgiver Solon (594BC) to the Kleisthenic reforms and beyond into the fourth century BC. They were intended to illustrate the practice and development of the Athenian democracy. They demonstrate how important the excavations of the Athenian Agora by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have played in complementing and illuminating our understanding of the structures of Athenian democracy beyond the preserved texts of the Classical period. We already know much about the Athenian democracy from the writings of Thucydides, Xenophon, the ‘Old Oligarch’, Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle, but there have been two pivotal events in the study of the institutions of Athens in the last 150 years: First was the discovery of an extensive papyrus fragment of the Constitution of the Athenians) attributed to Aristotle or his School in1890 and published in 1891, believed to be the only preserved Greek city-state constitution of an original collection of 158. Composed in the 320’s, it gives us a political history of the Athenian state and a detailed analysis of its democratic institutions in the fourth century BC. The second pivotal event was the excavation of the Athenian Agora by the American School starting in 1931. These excavations have yielded an incredible variety and quantity of artefacts that materialize the inner workings of the Athenian democracy. Text and artefact blend into a comprehensive portrait of the Athenian democracy in the Classical period, particularly in the so-called Golden Age of Periklean Athens in the fifth century BC. In this talk, I will focus on the principles of democracy, i.e., the operational procedures of sortition (election by lot), rotation, payment (a ‘radical’ practice in ancient Greece) and accountability. The institutions that form the backbone of the democracy were the archons (magistrates); the Council of 500; the Assembly at the Pnyx (ekklesia); and the popular courts (dikasteria). Standing in sharp contrast is the generalship, one from each of the 10 tribes, usually occupied by a member of the elite classes and open to direct election. This marks a lesson in Periklean political reconciliation between the elite and the demos that staved off potential stasis (social conflict) until violated twice during the Peloponnesian War. Along the way, we will survey the artifacts of democracy: ostraka (which gives us ‘ostracism’), kleroteria(allotment machines); and klepsydrai (water clocks for trials). Finally, who can ignore the philosopher Socrates, arguably the most famous Athenian to frequent the Agora, and whose death at the hands of the popular courts highlights the darker side of Athenian democracy. Character assassination, mud-slinging, and dirty politics is not an invention of the modern politics-we see it on the walls of Pompeii and we see it in Athens. We should not forget that demokratia, ‘power to the people’ was always limited to a small percentage of the total population. Excluded were women, slaves, and hundreds of tribute-paying subject states of the Athenian empire. Democracy is a hallowed term in modern political rhetoric, but the Founding Fathers were inspired more in practice by republican Rome than by democratic Athens.

Roy Kevin Victor Andrews was born in Beijing on January 20, 1924, the nominal son of Roy Chapman Andrews, the celebrated American explorer, naturalist, and dinosaur hunter. Raised in England and New England, Kevin Andrews entered Harvard in 1941 and graduated with an A.B. in Classics and English Literature in 1947. He won the prestigious Charles Eliot Norton Fellowship to attend the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in 1947-48. At the end of the academic year, he secured a second-year fellowship to study an unpublished portfolio of early 18th century castle plans commissioned by a high official of the Veneti an colonial empire in Greece, Francesco Grimani. This project kept Andrews in Greece until 1951. The finished work was published in 1953 as Castles of the Morea and won immediate praise as a minor classic. The publication of 1) Elizabeth Boleman-Herring’s Farewell to Ikaros (2006), a poignant memoir of Kevin Andrews’ last days before his tragic death from drowning off the coast of Kythera on Sept. 1, 1989; 2) a revised edition by G.R. Bugh of Castles of the Morea (2007); and 3)Roger Jinkinson’s biography American Ikaros: The Search for Kevin Andrews (2010) affords a fitting opportunity to revisit the career of Kevin Andrews, classicist, polemicist, and philhellene as we approach the centennial anniversary of his birth.
Kevin Andrews defies categorization. He did not pursue what would have been a promising academic career in classics. By 1955 he had taken up permanent residence in Greece, and twenty years later, after the fall of the Junta (1967-1974), Andrews became a Greek citizen. During his residency he published what would be (and still is) viewed as his other classic, The Flight of Ikaros (1959), an autobiographical account of his travels around Greece during the final years of the Greek Civil War (1946-1949). A revised version appeared in 1984. In essence, Andrews’ diaries and research notes, so meticulously taken over four years as a student at the American School, yielded two important books: 1) an academic study of medieval castles in the Peloponnese (Morea) and 2) an impressionistic encounter with contemporary Greek history.

For Kevin Andrews, the castles of the Peloponnese were more often tools of oppression and control over local populations than places of refuge and defense in times of invasion. The Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, and Turkish castles were (and are) marvels of military engineering and material culture, but they served foreign masters with more sinister purpose. Through the lens of his Castles of the Morea, we will explore a selection of Venetian fortresses of the southern Greece. It is altogether fitting that in 2017 the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee recognized the importance of Venetian fortresses in the military, political, social, cultural, economic, and architectural landscape of the Mediterranean world by awarding heritage site status to The Venetian Works of Defense between the 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra-Western Stato da Mar. Although the award does not include the Venetian castles of the Morea, the typology of construction, date, and function parallel their Italian and Adriatic neighbors. They are all keys to the defense of a Venetian empire that lasted over 500 years in Greece, Crete, and Cyprus.

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