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4.3 out of 5 stars11
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 27 October 2008
You'll enjoy this! A guide to Athens for anyone with even the vaguest interest in the Classical world. This book is readable, fun, and beautfully illustrated with line drawings and colour plates. As with 'Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day' there are fun info boxes and quotes (e.g. 'Cicadas chirp up in the trees a month or two, but our Athenians keep chirping over lawsuits all their lives...' Aristophanes, The Birds )

Categories include:
GETTING THERE
THE PIRAEUS
ORIENTATION
ATHENIAN PASTIMES
MEET THE ATHENIANS
CITY OF GODS
MUST-SEE SIGHTS

There is also a glossary of 'Useful Phrases' at the end. My favourite is 'A Spartan, an Athenian and a Boeotian went into a tavern...' in Classical Greek, of course!
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This is a fun book; based on a travel guide, it offers tips for a visitor to Ancient Athens - including where to eat, drink and meet a philosopher.

The book is divided into sections:
Getting There
The Piraeus
Orientation
Athenian Pastimes
Meet the Athenians
Activities
A City of Gods
Rites of Passage
Must-see Sights

At the end are useful phrases for your visit - from what to say at the Symposium to General expressions.

The book is a serious one; the information is presented concisely but perfectly seriously. The design of dressing up the information as a travel guide is entertaining and means that the book can be read in sections as the reader chooses to dip in and out of the book. There are lots of diagrams and illustrations, and passages from Greek authors, which brings the information out in its context. This is a great little book; the information presented is `live' in that the way it is written offers a contextual and `real' experience for the reader. Very entertaining, rather clever. Definitely recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 August 2011
Walking round Athens today, one may be considering the fractures in the eurozone and which countries could disappear into the fissure. Fortunately, it is not long before the mind is arrested by the appearance of the remains of a life when the drachma reigned supreme.
High on the Acropolis or walking round the Agora below it where, early in Greek history (10th century-8th century BC), free-born male land-owners who were citizens would gather, this book is just what is required to bring the stones alive. The Stoa of Attalos, the reconstructed stoa measuring 115 by 20 metres wide provides a rare opportunity to experience Athens as it was and it makes an excellent shelter in which to read a few more chapters of this well-written guidebook to ancient Athens on a budget before going around its museum dealing mainly with Greek democracy.
There is a series of these books - Rome, Florence, London and Egypt - and I recommend each of them.
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on 23 July 2009
Everyone interested in ancient Greek history, can travel through time with this book. This book covers all aspects of daily life in ancient Greek city Athens around 500 Before Common Era (BCE). The information is presented as a travel guide. After reading it, I have a good idea how life was in the ancient times. The writer Philip Matyszak, an expert on Ancient cultures of Rome and Greece, knows how to get a grip on you; making you enjoying reading this book from cover to cover. I can recommend the companion guide 'Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day' as well. The same concept except that this book is about Rome in 100 Common Era (CE). My advice: buy this book, start reading it and enjoy the travel through (ancient) times.
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on 22 October 2015
If you have read little or nothing about Ancient Greece, then this could be a good place to start. It is written as a light-hearted guidebook to visiting Athens in about 431bce, and gives you a high level introduction to the city, its environs, and it's people. It covers all the basics, looking at how the Athenians live, eat, fight, marry, die and govern themselves.
For me, it was a little disappointing. It is quite short, and if you have any knowledge of the period, will probably not contain anything new. It never seems quite sure what it is trying to be; although written as a 'rough guide' copy, it doesn't quite work out that way for me. However, if you are looking for a beginners guide, it may well be a good introduction to the subject.
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on 8 June 2009
Ancient Athens described in the form of a modern travel guide such as Lonely Planet. This book gives a picture of real life and covers aspects not dealt with in standard history books, of which I have read quite a few including those by ancient authors such as Herodotus
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on 3 May 2009
This is a really good book to read. It presents factual information in an easy and interesting way. It uses captioned pictures to provide a visual aid to what is said. it also provides snippets of trivia to break up the text.

I really enjoyed it.
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on 18 October 2011
Good, pretty accurate and generally enjoyable book.... BUT:
There s no mention whatsoever of any element of homosexual conduct, a proven and important part of the life of male Athenians . This matter was carefully omitted by the author , especially in two places where it should definitely be mentioned : the Gymnasiums and the Symposiums.
There s plenty of evidence of sentimental connections of men, both older with younger plus younger among themselves,(plenty of erotic writings and images in the gyms) and definitely of male to male sexual intercourse , especially during feasts .
I would expect a more objective view on the matter by a book published in 2008 (!) London, instead we get a carefully scrutinised "christian" version...pitty !!
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on 2 November 2010
If ever you are pushed back in time and end up in ancient Athens this book will be an essential companion - lighthearted but with a serious message.
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on 31 March 2015
GREAT read fascinating book....
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