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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 July 2017
The 'very short introduction' books can vary in quality quite drastically so it would be a sweeping statement to recommend or discount the series by just judging one or two books from its range. I have a number of books in the series and can say that this one is 'average'.

The writers need no introduction but I feel that Classics is such a large subject area that it is impossible to even introduce it properly with such a brief word count they have in this book. I think that is the reason why the authors don't even try to attempt this and come at this problem from a different angle. They use a case study approach; they choose a temple frieze in the British Museum and examine how it relates to each field of study that comprises 'Classics'. The writing is accessible without compromising erudition and a good bibliography will help you find plenty of further reading. Where this falls short is it just feels too brief, like going to a wonderful restaurant and having to leave after the starter. There are also far too many illustrations which take up a lot of space and being in black and white to save on the cost price feels one sacrifice too many.

Seems to be relying on the 'name' of the author to sell what is a sub standard book.

Overall, not bad, not great.
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on 14 June 2017
This is an interesting and quite a clever little book. I initially wanted (and expected) a potted overview of the Classics texts: Homer, Plato, Virgil etc, how they fitted together, what their development was etc.

What I actually got was a book about relationships: our relationship to the Classical Period, the relationship of the 19th Century to the same period and our relationship to the 19th Century etc. Through this, it shows the Classical Period has formed the backbone to Western civilisation and to understand our history, art and way of thinking requires a grounding in the Classical Period.

The central device is the temple at Bassae, the remains of which you can see at the British Museum today. Through this questions about Empire, cultural appropriation, art and the ancient world are explored. Several times the authors surprise the reader and use this effect to show that the Classical Period challenges our pre-conceptions, can be used as a mirror to reflect on our own pre-occupations and that the interaction between us and the Classics is a vital part of what makes Classics.

In keeping with this, our modern obsession with gender and sexuality are given their full allotment. I wonder if future generations will one day find this as quaint as we find the Victorians.

In summary, I'm more motivated to explore the Classics having read this book than if the authors had given me my expectation, which ironically, is their point about Classics.

Well worth reading.
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on 20 May 2017
This is brilliant and just what I expected. Very useful to use in conjunction with course books for revision on OU degree module
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on 21 December 2017
I love it. A journey through time. Well written. A great reference book of classic events.
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on 29 December 2012
I loved Mary Beard's work after seeing her on TV. Got this out of curiosity and thoroughly enjoyed reading it...and, will enjoy revisiting it as well. She takes a simple idea...going to a museum....and within a couple of paragraphs has enmeshed you in an exciting mix of current, past and ancient views. Soon you're in ancient Greece, London, past and present.

Although a short book, it is a rich read.
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on 1 October 2015
Excellent book about thinking about classics rather than being told what to think: 'classic' Mary Beard
The audio version is appalling though - whose idea was it to choose an American actor andalow her to interpret the texT with a distracting transatlantic sneer?
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on 29 October 2017
Good short introduction. Not sure if Professor Beard can write anything less than good.
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on 14 January 2017
Enlightening and readable.
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on 24 October 2016
Excellent condition
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on 5 May 2016
great
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