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on 5 November 2002
I bought this book because I did a Classics degree, and then forgot everything about it. I wanted to reacquaint myself with the Greek world through a well-written and well-regarded medium that wouldn't make my head hurt after a hard day at work.
The book itself is very well designed, arranged in sections that follow loosely a chronological order. Rather than aiming to give the reader a dry run-through of every significant event in Greek history, the book aims to provide its reader with an insight into, and an understanding of, the most important features of Greek history and culture. All the time, however, the chronological structure provides one with a sense of progression and development, and also prevents the reader with no prior knowledge of the period from becoming confused as to where everything fits in.
I don't honestly feel that any topic has been overlooked or neglected in the creation of this book. Greek history is a vast and absorbing topic - this book is concise and relatively short, so inevitably the reader comes away feeling that there is a great deal more that he/she would like to find out. Each section provides details of further reading to help with this. There is also a detailed time-line of events and some good maps, which contribute to the books usefulness as a reference tool.
The contributors are eminent academics who specialise in the areas that they discuss in the book. More importantly the contributors are not all the same type of academic and the different tones of their analyes are conveyed, though not over-poweringly, in their sections. Each topic is fairly treated with due consideration given to the most prevalent schools of thought in that area.
All in all I would say that this is an excellent book, practically and professionally conceived and created. It will provide the intelligent reader, with or without any classical knowlege, with a lucid treatment of the Greek and Hellenistic world, and make itself useful again and again as a basic reference tool.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 22 October 2015
First published in 1986, then in 1988, and republished in 2001, this book is a great collection of specialist essays on topics relevant to the history of Greece and the Hellenestic World. Framed by an introduction by Jasper Griffin, the essays offered are:
1. Greece: The history of the Archaic period (George Forrest)
2. Homer (Oliver Taplin)
3. Greek myth and Hesiod (Jasper Griffin)
4. Lyric and elegiac poetry (Ewen Bowie)
5. Early Greek philosophy (Marti nWest)
6. Greece: The history of the Classical period (Simon Hornblower)
7. Greek drama (Peter Levi)
8. Greek historians (Oswyn Murray)
9. Life and society in Classical Greece (Oswyn Murray)
10. Classical Greek philosophy (Julia Annas)
11. Greek religion (Robert Parker)
12. Greek art and architecture (John Boardman)
13. The history of the Hellenistic period (Simon Price)
14. Hellenistic culture and literature (Robin Lane Fox)
15. Hellenistic philosophy and science (Jonathan Barnes)
16. Hellenistic and Gaeco-Roman art (Roger Ling)

The essays are written by specialists in their field, and amply illustrated. There are a number of relevant and useful maps, and tables of events. At 450+ pages, this is a very useful, highly readable, most informative and thoroughly worthwhile read – either for someone wanting to delve for the first time into the period and the people, or for someone wanting to look further into a particular topic or area of Greek history. Definitely recommended.
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on 27 September 2007
This book is a collection of chapters from various historians pulled together in one book that covers the Heroic Age through to the Hellenistic world (a long time)! Most of the authors are easy to read and write in a way where the average reader can get a lot from them, however, some are not as good. This book is probably recommended to somebody who has read a few books on the Greeks before, since many of the terms are not explained (it is assumed the reader already knows). A good book to expand previous knowledge on the Ancient Greeks.
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on 1 November 2011
Authorative description of Greece in classical times. Bought to support the A level course in Classical Civilisations. Easy to read and good timeline with explanation of transitional events from ancient times. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 20 November 2013
This book was on our list for classics; I like it but I think some of the chapters are trying to pack in too much so the sentence structure is ridiculous. I found myself having to re-read sections a lot. Great and informative but not clear and concise.
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on 8 December 2010
The book is impressive and very good, one can imagine the scholars sitting 'round a table at All Souls debating it.
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on 4 April 2005
This books is printed on ugly brown pulp, and has most of the rare and ancient photos of the original edition missing. The photos in this edition are a fraction of what appear in the original, they are smaller, low in quality and contrast and all squeezed into the middle of the book instead of throughout the book. Truly aweful. Horrible.
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