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4.4 out of 5 stars30
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 June 2001
This book wasn't really what I was expecting - or what I was after, which was an introduction to the writers of The Classics, their lives, and their works. It is however a readable - if sometimes floridly written - setting of the scene of the classics, their discovery, and their influence on history and recent culture.
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on 9 April 2013
Very well written (though in rather small type) this book is a succinct summary of the classical world. Thoroughly recommended!
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on 15 November 2011
This book deals with "Classics" as a field of study. The authors show how the successive generations of historians, travellers, archaeologists, writers or artists have influenced each other's ways of searching for and interpreting the traces left by the Greek and Roman cultures.

The style is lively (though perhaps a bit too conversational), and some considerations are thought-provoking or at least unusual (ex: According to the authors, Aristotle's work studying tragedy as a genre helped plays set in democratic Athens to be passed down in countries ruled by non-democratic regimes).

I find the book's structure quite unclear, as if one thought had led to another. Consequently, the intertwined aspects and multiple layers of "Classics" are well rendered, but the book is no reference work. The "index" echoes the rambling structure, and the final timeline includes mostly subjective information which those interested in ancient Greece and Rome will probably find pointless ( 1753 : British Museum founded; 1959: Ben-Hur film starring Charlton Heston...).

However, many of the authors' reflections on "Classics" as a field of study are true for later historical periods such as the Middle Ages or The Enlightenment.
It makes that entertaining little book worth borrowing from your local library.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2010
The timeline at the end of this book gives a clue to the authors' approach. It starts at c800-500 BCE ("Early Greece"), ends at 1995 with the publication of this book, and includes entries like "1959 Ben Hur film starring Charlton Heston". It is about Classics as a subject, about how the Classical world has been viewed and interpreted over the years, and how it continues to impact today's world. In other words, it is more about the nature and significance of Classics as a discipline than about specific Classical topics. That makes it an excellent introduction for someone embarking on such a study.

The Further Reading section at the end is something of a letdown, being just an unhelpful list of titles. See Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction, by Helen Morales, for an example of how a Further Reading section should be done. In fact, the Morales book should be seen as a companion volume to the present one.

But this is a well written and entertaining exploration of a fascinating subject, full of valuable insights. Read this first and then the Morales book.
[PeterReeve]
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on 17 September 2014
Its a university set book for a relative. Just what is needed.
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on 16 December 2015
Another great overview from this series!
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on 2 June 2015
Great product Prompt delivery. Thanks!
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on 3 April 2015
Really good quality and very cheap
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on 31 March 2014
This book by Mary Beard and John Henderson is clearly well informed, very interesting and beautifully written. It fits nicely into your pocket, handy to have for a quick read, and has a really nice cover, It's what I would call a wonderful little book. I did try to find something I didn't like about it but gave up in the end. So I confidently give this little gem 5 stars, because there's no space to give it six.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Classics and all those who are not - a right riveting read.
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on 9 June 2016
brilliant!
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