Davies has produced a perceptive, readable narrative, filled with sensible insights and enriched with a generous and judicious selection of quotations from sources...[He] skillfully interweaves social and cultural history with political and military matters. Students--and some historians--will benefit from his deft exegesis of texts (inscriptions, plays, philosophic pieces, anecdotes) and his cautionary reminders of what we do not know about the past...All in all, this is the best short history of Greece on the market. -- Thomas W. Africa The Historian [UK] [Democracy and Classical Greece] manages in brief compass to convey through quotation the nature of the main sources and critically to assess their limitations, biases and restricted concerns, and seeks constantly not to be bound by these limitations in the attempt to tease out underlying patterns of development and explanation...Constant stimulation...fresh thought. -- N. R. E. Fisher History Today Together these five compact volumes [Early Greece by Oswyn Murray, Democracy and Classical Greece by J. K. Davies, The Hellenistic World by F. W. Walbank, The Roman Republic by Michael Crawford, The Later Roman Empire by Averil Cameron, all available from Harvard] cover much of the history of the classical world, and do so with both ease and authority...For this new series they have been revised or otherwise brought up to date. Washington Post Book World
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From the Back Cover
The art of classical Greece, and its political and philosophical ideas, have had a profound influence on Western civilisation. It was in the fifth and fourth centuries BC that this Greek culture – material, political and intellectual – reached its zenith. At the same time, the Greek states were at their most powerful and quarrelsome.
J.K. Davies traces the flowering of this extraordinary society, drawing on a wealth of documentary material: houses and graves, extant sculpture and vases, as well as the writings of historians, orators, biographers, dramatists and philosophers.
Much of the material from these, the best-documented centuries in Greek history presents a formidable challenge to the interpreter. J.K. Davies builds, chapter by chapter, a coherent narrative of events from often sketchy or inconsistent sources, and shows how sometimes the same evidence can throw up quite different interpretations. He uses the material to create a rich and vivid picture of a changing society whose values and achievements have so influenced our own.