To open this year’s Thursday Forum series, Assistant Professor of History Angela Ziskowski will present a historical, archaeological and art historical introduction to the Greco-Persian wars and their aftermath. Greece went to war with the Persian empire in 490 BCE and many believe this event fundamentally changed the course of western civilization. The small, divided city-states of Greece succeeded in holding back the forces of the massive Persian empire and by 479 BCE, the war was over and Greece was the victor. The aftermath of this event had far-reaching repercussions on the cultural identity of Greece. On the positive side, the fifth century BCE is a period in which democracy blossomed and art and architecture reached new heights. However, there was a dark side to this cultural prosperity. The city-state of Athens turned into an oppressive imperial power over the rest of Greece while also demonizing the people and cultures from further east. If you were not Greek, you were the “other.” For better or worse, “Classical” Greek culture was defined in the period after the Persian Wars. Its lasting impact on western society remains profound, if muddled. Most Thursday Forum lectures are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with registration and refreshments from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. The class meetings blend lecture, use of media such as film and music, and discussion. A luncheon is offered at the conclusion of each series. The courses are open to all adults. Admission to the entire four-week course can be purchased for $35 on the first day or in advance. Admission to individual lectures is $12 per week. The closing luncheons cost an additional $8. For more information, call 319-399-8523.