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A History of the Classical Greek World: 478-323 BC (Blackwell History of the Ancient World) [Hardcover]

P. J. Rhodes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2005 Blackwell History of the Ancient World
This book gives an accessible account of classical Greek history, from the aftermath of the Persian Wars in 478 bc to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 bc.

  • Covers political and military events, including: the flourishing of democracy in Athens; the Peloponnesian war, which involved the whole Greek world; and the conquests of Alexander the Great.

  • Deals with social, economic and cultural developments as well as political and military events.

  • Combines analysis with narrative.

  • Details the evidence on which the account is based and the considerations which have to be born in mind in using this evidence.

  • Written by P. J. Rhodes, who has been teaching and writing on Greek history for over 40 years.

  • The book’s clarity and directness make it ideal for course use.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631225641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631225645
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 17.6 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,800,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


“It is superbly fitted for the purpose [of an undergraduate textbook]… extremely full, clear and detailed... A model of how this sort of history should be written.” (BBC History Magazine)

"A thoughtful and measured treatment, especially valuable for undergraduates. Beats its rivals for sheer thoroughness and sagacity."
––David Whitehead, Queen’s University Belfast

"A reliable history, with an up–to–date bibliography concluding each chapter... well–fitted for an undergraduate survey course in the classical world." (Choice)

“Peter Rhodes … is one of the most formidable living scholars of Classical (5th and 4th centuries BC) Greece and especially of the political institutions of the Athenian democracy … Rhodes’s typically clear, sober and detailed accounts of the 5th–century Athenian empire, the Atheno–Peloponnesian War and the 4th–century Second Athenian League may well become the first port of call for undergraduate essay writers – and more enduring resources for their mentors.” (Times Higher Education Supplement)

"This volume is therefore a valuable resource for any teacher of this period of Greek History, so one for the departmental library would be helpful, and at university level any undergraduate would find that it provides an excellent overview." (Journal of Classics Teaching)

"Rhodes has written a very accessible work on the classical Greek world ... highly recommendable and very suitable for undergraduates, not only as an introduction to the Greek classical world but also as a textbook for the proper methodological approach." (Scholia)

"This book demonstrates a breadth of scholarship but remains easy to read and understand." (Ancient West & East)

“Readers of every variety, but especially those who take their ancient history seriously, owe a great debt to Peter Rhodes for a book which … is a joy to read and which, because of its meticulous scholarship, deserves to become the first book a historian of Classical Greece turns to when seeking information that is thoroughly grounded and clearly explained.”
(Blaise Nagy, New England Classical Journal)


“A leading authority on Athens, Rhodes has written a superb narrative of Classical Greece for upper–level undergraduates: lucid, concise, and balanced.  Welcome additions to the second edition are chapters on life and culture, and brief selections from contemporary sources.” Kenneth G. Holum, University of Maryland “Rhodes provides an excellent introduction to the history of the Greek world in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Of particular importance is the clarity of the narrative and the consistent citation of the primary source material.” Hugh Elton, Trent University  “P.J. Rhodes’ second edition of A History of the Classical World 478–323 BC is superior to its nearest competitors for the university and non–specialist audience, and noticeably improved from the first edition, e.g., smoother transitions into new topics; the addition of two new chapters on culture and society; the reader–friendly use of shaded boxed inserts of primary sources; more illustrations, maps, figures, and a new glossary.  This book will set the standard for introductions to the history of Classical Greece.” Glenn R. Bugh, Virginia Tech --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Two large peninsulas project into the Mediterranean from Europe: Italy, dividing the whole into a western half and an eastern half, and Greece, subdividing the eastern half. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packed with facts 5 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a work by an author with a tremendous grasp of the detail who eschews general description and drawing out of themes, preferring detailed facts. This approach, while giving a sense that you are getting an objective view and not opinion, is hard to follow. The author clearly chose the facts but what he was trying to illustrate is not that clear. I do not think he is trying to do more than recount what happened, as he sees it, and that contrasts to some historians who have an argument to make; for example to illustrate the forces shaping the development of democracy in Greece. But it does all feel a bit relentless. In contrast, the Fontana history of ancient and classical Greece is more general, though some of the authors' writing styles are also hard work. The Fontana series is cheaply available second-hand.

And another thing: his writing is sometimes hard to follow. Example: he refers to Thucydides describing something Pausanias has done. The author then goes on to refer to he again. but it is not absolutely clear on first reading if the author means Thucydides or Pausanias. This habit of referring to "he", "they", without it being clear who is meant occurs quite frequently. In Greek the grammar would make it clear which "he" was meant and perhaps the author forgot that in English these matters are ambiguous!

Another major criticism is the absence of adequate maps. For example: early on, and later, there is a reference to Phocis, a city, but it does not appear on any of the maps at the front. The same criticism can be levelled at a number of history, but where place is important it is vital for the reader to see the relative positions of the different, in this case, cities.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great 3 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Needed it for uni and it was a great help. Bit expensive, but considering how useful it was, that isn't too bad.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Greek History 2 Mar 2009
This is well written and well researched, and an informative guide to anyone interested in Greek history, whether studying the subject or just generally interested.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 26 Aug 2007
By Timothy Doran - Published on Amazon.com
This extremely up to date and knowledgeable work is more in-depth than a simple overview. Rhodes is an editorial genius and supplies the source citations unobtrusively for every single thing he says. You can thus track down the basis of every claim or statement. His judgment is also excellent on everything. As a graduate student preparing for examinations I found it invaluable. It will also be excellent for undergraduates. Its coverage of the period is better than any comparable textbook I have seen; even better than Sealey's History of the Greek City States, which is excellent also, and covers earlier history as well -- but this is better.
Tiniest complaint: a (very) few typos, and the suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter could have been a LITTLE fuller.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Telegraphically written 19 Mar 2011
By Neal J. King - Published on Amazon.com
I am not a graduate student in classics, just someone who grew up with an interest in classical history: studied Latin and Greek, did some reading on my own.

I found the text written too tersely, and often with rather idiosyncratic phrasing that did not add clarity.

Maybe this is a good overall summary for someone who has seen this history before in more detail, but I found that it was too brief, did not draw out useful implications, and did not provide a good narrative. By contrast, Kagan's 1-volume history of the Peloponnesian war (a portion of the period of interest) gave much more insight into human motivations behind the events.

And the phrasing was just odd, in places. Wasn't there an editor somewhere?
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