Ancient Greece: A Political, Social and Cultural HistoryHardback
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- Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
- Format: Hardback | 542 pages
- Dimensions: 183mm x 239mm x 33mm | 1,111g
- Publication date: 15 October 1998
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0195097424
- ISBN 13: 9780195097429
- Illustrations note: numerous halftones, line drawings and maps
The book introduces readers to the history and civilization of ancient Greece in all its complexity and variety, from its first beginnings in the Bronze Age (c. 3000 BC) through the Hellenistic Era (c. 150 BC). Employing a truly balanced approach to history - integrating its political, military, social and cultural aspects - the authors show how the early Greeks borrowed from their neighbours but eventually developed a distinctive culture all their own marked by astonishing creative, versatility, and resilience. They go on to trace the complex and surprising evolution of Greek civilization to its eventual dissolution as it merged with a variety of other cultures. Using the physical evidence of archaeology, the written testimony of literary texts and inscriptions, and anthropological models based on comparative studies, this book provides an account of the Greek world that is thoughtful and sophisticated while remaining accessible to readers who know little or nothing about Greece. The four renowned authors of this book, whose interests range from the study of women in the ancient world to military and diplomatic history, have produced a lively, up-to-date and balanced account of rich civilization.
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Sarah Pomeroy is Professor of Classics at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Stanley M. Burstein is Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at California State University, Los Angeles. Walter Donlan is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Irvine. Jennifer Tolbert Roberts is Professor of Classics and History at the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center.
From Pomeroy (Classics/Hunter Coll.), Stanley M. Burstein (History/Calif. State Univ., Los Angeles), Walter Donlan (Classics/Univ. of Calif., Irvine), and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts (Classics/City Coll. of New York), a comprehensive narrative history that emphasizes the "astonishing creativity, versatility, and resilience" of the culture shaped by the ancient Greeks. A poor, backward people occupying barely cultivable land on the periphery of the Mediterranean world, the Bronze Age Hellenes or Greeks (c. 3000-1150 B.C.) seem in retrospect an unlikely bet to become the progenitors of a great world civilization. While Bronze Age Greece eventually developed a distinctive culture and power base at Mycenae (c. 1600-1100 B.C.), it derived most of its industrial skills from its more highly developed neighbors around the Mediterranean basin. And beginning around 1150 B.C., the authors speculate, a mysterious wave of invaders from the north wiped out the brilliant Mycenaean civilization, reducing Greek society to a culturally primitive "dark age" until around 750 B.c. The authors' account treats aspects of Greek life for which primary sources are sparse - the role of women, for instance - but it doesn't neglect the amazing political, artistic, architectural, philosophical, and literary achievements of classical Athens and other cities. The authors detail the development of Athens and Sparta, the creative tensions between them that helped defend Greece from Persian invasion, the ruinous wars that vitiated the Greek polis or city-state, and the extensive colonization (by the city-states) and conquest (by Alexander the Great) that spread Greek civilization from modern France to what is now Pakistan. While the Hellenistic kingdoms that resulted from the Alexandrian conquest were brutally absorbed into the Roman super-state, the cultural legacy of Greece remained pervasively influential in the Roman world and exerted a profound effect on the rise of Christianity. An accessible and well-balanced introduction to the culture and history of ancient Greece, useful for both student and general reader. (Kirkus Reviews)