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

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

Hardback

By (author) Christian Meier

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 136mm x 216mm x 34mm | 558g
  • Publication date: 22 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199588031
  • ISBN 13: 9780199588039
  • Illustrations note: 25 black and white halftones
  • Sales rank: 719,409

Product description

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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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.

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

Table of contents

Foreword by Kurt Raaflaub ; PART I: THE QUESTION OF BEGINNINGS ; 1. A Most Unusual Case (I): The Co-Option of Antiquity by Medieval and Modern Europe ; 2. The Challenge of Freedom ; 3. A Most Unusual Case (II): The Formation of Medieval and Early Modern Culture ; 4. The Constitution of Europe as a Part of the World ; 5. Greeks and Persians (I): Freedom and Rule: Atossa's dream ; 6. Europe and Asia in Antiquity ; 7. Antiquity as European Pre- or Early History ; PART II: THE RISE OF THE POLIS ; 1. A Post-Mycenaen New Beginning: Origins of Greek Particularity ; 2. The Dawn of an Era: The 8th Century BC ; 3. The Greeks and the Orient ; 4. Colonialism ; 5. Homer and Hesiod ; 6. Gods and Priests ; 7. Crisis and Consolidation: The 7th and 6th Centuries BC ; 8. Polis Individualism and the Pan-Hellenic Context: The Agonal ; 9. The Diversity of the Poleis: Sparta and Other Cities ; 10. The Wars ; 11. Polis Structure: Public Sphere and Institutions ; 12. Crisis: Aristocratic Battles, Outrage, Tyranny ; 13. Lyric Poetry: The Symposium and a Reorientation Toward Virtue ; 14. The Beginnings of Political Thought: The Middle Ones ; 15. The Beginnings of Greek Philosophy and Science ; 16. Athens' Path Toward Isonomia and Rise to Power ; 17. The Aegean World Around 500 BC: Greeks and Persians (2) ; Afterword