Politics Ancient and Modern

Politics Ancient and Modern

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Written by one of the leading ancient historians in the world today, this book shows how politics in the ancient world has been interpreted and re-interpreted through the ages.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 19mm | 482g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745610803
  • 9780745610801
  • 2,325,412

Back cover copy

Written by one of the leading ancient historians in the worldtoday, this book re-examines the nature of Greek politics anddemocracy and explores the ways in which they have been perceivedsince the Renaissance.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Vidal-Naquet shows how the natureof political life in Ancient Greece has been interpreted andre-interpreted throughout the centuries, from the first critics ofGreek democracy, through the rediscovery of democratic values inthe eighteenth century, to the writings of Marx and Renan. Heanalyzes the distance separating the moderns from the ancients, andargues that people in the eighteenth century were divided overwhether to support Sparta or Athens, virtuous austerity or slightlydegenerate luxury.

He discusses how certain myths, originating in Ancient Greece, were transformed by succeeding generations. Focusing on the myth ofAtlantis, he argues that, in the course of three centuries, it hasbeen used to promote various forms of modern nationalism, despitethe fact that Plato originally invented it for pedagogical andphilosophical purposes.

Politics Ancient and Modern will be welcomed by studentsand researchers in Ancient history, Classics, and the history ofpolitical thought.
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Table of contents

Translator's Note.
Introduction: Athenian Democracy in 1788.
1. Plato, History and the Historians.
2. Atlantis and the Nations.
3. The Enlightenment in the Greek City-state.
4. The Formation of Bourgeois Athens.
5. The Place of Greece in the Imaginary Representations of the Men of the Revolution.
6. From Paris to Athens and Back.
7. Renan and the Greek Miracle.
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Review quote

"The clear product of vast learning and energy." Australian Journal of Politics and History "The sense of engagement is exhilarating." Common Knowledge "These innovative recent studies of a master ancient historian are now available in a lucid, perceptive translation. Vidal-Naquet, in the tradition of Arnaldo Mornigliano and Moses Finley and with their range and strategies, dissects the cult of antiquity in 18th- and 19th-century France, revealing how 'the Greek miracle' was created by modern intrustions into the essentially alien nature of Classical Greece and by 'mythologized' adaptations to contemporary purposes. In the expanding field of the classical tradition here is new enlightenment by a luminous historian." Meyer Reinhold, Institute for the Classical Tradition, Boston University "Vidal-Naquet is one of the foremost scholars of the ancient Greeks' realm of imaginary representations. His learning is stupendous, land in this book he combines a deeply personal political engagement with formidable scholarship. Politics Ancient and Modern is both a plea for, and a triumphant demonstration of, the comparative and interdisciplinary character of the best in ancient Greek historical studies." Paul Cartledge, Clare College, Cambridge
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About Pierre Vidal-Naquet

Pierre Vidal-Naquet teaches Ancient History at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes in Paris.
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