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Athens

The world’s most important museum dedicated to the history of ancient Greece, the National Archaeological Museum boasts 11,000 exhibits from 7000 BC to the Roman conquest. 

In this episode, we accelerate an ancient warship to ramming speed to discover why Athenian democracy beat Persian tyranny, then visit a king’s grave to reveal how bogus archeology helped fuel the pseudo-historical ravings of Adolf Hitler. We suit volunteers in armor made of bronze and armor made of linen, and then shoot arrows at them to discover which is better. (Spoiler: Alexander the Great preferred linen.) We visit the cave where Plato and Pythagoras secretly imbibed psychedelic chemicals, then go underground to face our fears in the labyrinth that inspired the myth of the Minotaur. And finally, we meet an engineer who has spent a lifetime recreating an ancient gadget called the Antikythera Mechanism to reveal its mysterious purpose.

Secrets revealed in this episode

Athens' Weapon

How did the Athenians save their city from an overwhelming Persian invasion?

Minotaur Bust

Did a natural underground labyrinth on a Greek island inspire the legend of the Minotaur?

Mask of Agamemnon

What were the historic repercussions when an a-type archaeologist tried to prove the legends of Homer were true?

Psychedelic Ritual

Were the visions experienced by Plato during a religious festival caused by a psychedelic herbal drink?

Strange Device

What is the purpose of the enigmatic object known as the Antikythera Mechanism – a rust encrusted artifact found deep beneath the sea?

Linen Armour

Why did Alexander the Great reject bronze for amour made of cloth?