Greek Realities

Greek Realities : Life and Thought in Ancient Greece

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"The study of the Greeks can never be a closed account. The wide variety of critical and descriptive works written about them . . . . bears witness to man's continuing preoccupation with himself. Other ages might talk of God or machines; the Greeks, from Homer to Diogenes, were fascinated with man. Plato's emphasis on the spiritual world and Diogenes' unheroic retreat may seem to be departures from the Greek way. But that would be true if there were a single Greek way. Obviously, there was not. It is the variety of ideas about man, who he is and who he hopes to be, which is the real Greek legacy . . . . This book [begins] with the rich tombs of Mycenaean kings who tried desperately to preserve what they had won. It ends with Diogenes and his fellow Cynics who say that it is better to let it all go. In between are the heroes, the art, the history which belong to the ancient Greeks. The questions they raised and the answers they offered are still the concern of us all."-Finley Hoopershow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 469 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 20.32mm | 703.06g
  • Wayne State University Press
  • Detroit, MI, United States
  • English
  • 0814315976
  • 9780814315972

About Finley Hooper

Finley Hooper is professor of history at Wayne State University. His Greek Realities, published originally by Charles Scribner's Sons, is now reissued by Wayne State University Press as a companion volume to his new work on Roman history, Roman Realities (Wayne State University Press, 1978).show more

Review Text

The enormous amount of material in this fine history of Greek civilization is controlled by Hooper's nearly perfect taste. What is meaningful to modern readers, and what has been wrongly accentuated and romanticized by past and present historians, is always clearly indicated in the evenest of tones and a seemingly casual manner: Hooper on the Greeks reads like Gibbon with a mute in his horn. Naturally enough, the central period of Greek history - the rise and life of Athens - is central to his concern. One sweeps from the victory at Marathon to the waning years after the defeat by Sparta with a master narrator who integrates art, philosophy and everyday mores into his text with a passion for Juxtaposition and irony. Ideas are his forte - but the men who made them become just as real. The dynamics of the growth of democracy are his passionate subject, but the gritty debates and infighting of common politics live again under his touch. The strategy of war is of overall importance, but his focus on the embarrassing tactics of a single officer feeds the general theme with life. Dr. Hooper states that there was no single Greek way, but many. He telescopes an age into four hundred and some pages of superior scholarship, style, and gentle philosophical persuasion. The result; a history both intelligent and popular. (Kirkus Reviews)show more