A Culture of Freedom

A Culture of Freedom : Ancient Greece and the Origins of Europe

By (author) Christian Meier

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Historians and President of the German Academy for Language and Literature in Darmstadt and in 2003 received thee prestigious Jacob Grimm prize for German literature. culture so special? A Culture of Freedom attempts to answer this question - to find the key to the 'miracle' of ancient Greece. The book takes us on a tour through the rich spectrum of Greek life and culture, from their epic and lyric poetry, political thought and philosophy, to their social life, military traditions, sport, and religious festivals, and finally to the early stages of Greek democracy. Running as a connecting thread throughout is a people's attempt to create a society based upon the freedom rather than power. It is this which, Meier argues, is the distinctive key to Greek culture, marking it out from all that had gone before, including the ancient societies of the Middle East from which the Greeks otherwise borrowed so much. The ancient Greeks managed to build a society founded on the concept of freedom - and by doing so helped mould the Europe that we live in today.

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  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 136 x 216 x 34mm | 557.92g
  • 22 Sep 2011
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 25 black and white halftones
  • 0199588031
  • 9780199588039
  • 532,926

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Author Information

Christian Meier is one of the foremost classical historians of his generation and the author of numerous books, both on the classical world and in the sphere of cultural history. He was formerly Chairman of the Association of German Historians and President of the German Academy for Language and Literature in Darmstadt and in 2003 received the prestigious Jacob Grimm prize for German literature.

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Review quote

Christian Meier is one of the most celebrated ancient historians writing today Times Higher Education Supplement This lucid and impassioned narrative of political freedom, written by a great historian, explains anew why the thought and practice of the ancient Greeks remains so peculiarly salient for our contemporary globalized world. Josiah Ober, Stanford University This book is special not because it traces the development of early Greek society and culture from its beginnings to the threshold of its 'classical' greatness; others have done that. Rather, this book is unique and fascinating because it allows us not just to read about this process but to relive it and thus to understand in a fundamentally new way what it meant and entailed Kurt Raaflaub, Brown University

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