Bowdoin Student Research: Did Rowing Help Power Up Democracy?


It didn’t take much to get Elliott Munn ’12 to dip his oar into research. He feels the pull of history every time he gets into a Bowdoin rowing shell. The classics major and longtime Bowdoin crew member is working on an independent study project that links the act of rowing with the rise of democracy in ancient Athens.

Elliott Munn ’12 (far right) rows bow seat for Bowdoin Men’s Rowing Club.

“The Athenians were the best navy in the Aegean for two centuries,” says Munn, who won a Surdna Foundation Fellowship to begin his research last summer. “There has to be a reason why they were dominant for so long and from what I can tell from modern reconstruction of classical archaeology “¦ it’s because they had the best, most skilled rowers.” Read more.