Whatever we may think of Alexander--whether Great or only lucky, a civilizer or a sociopath--most people do not regard him as a religious leader. And yet religion permeated all aspects of his career. When he used religion astutely, he and his army prospered. In Egypt, he performed the ceremonies needed to be pharaoh, and thus became a god as well as a priest. Babylon surrendered to him partly because he agreed to become a sacred king. When Alexander disregarded religion, he and his army suffered. In Iran, for instance, where he refused to be crowned and even destroyed a shrine, resistance against him mounted. In India, he killed Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus by the hundreds of thousands until his officers, men he regarded as religious companians, rebelled against him and forced him to abandon his campaign of conquest. Although he never fully recovered from this last disappointment, he continued to perform his priestly duties in the rest of his empire. As far as we know, the last time he rose from his bed was to perform a sacrifice.Ancient writers knew little about Near Eastern religions, no doubt due to the difficulty of travel to Babylon, India, and the interior of Egypt. Yet details of these exotic religions can be found in other ancient sources, including Greek, and in the last thirty years, knowledge of Alexander's time in the Near East has increased. Egyptologists and Assyriologists have written the first thorough accounts of Alexander's religious doings in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Recent archaeological work has also allowed scholars to uncover new aspects of Macedonian religious policy. Soldier, Priest, and God, the first religious biography of Alexander, incorporates this recent scholarship to provide a vivid and unique portrait of a remarkable leader.
Alexander the Great is the towering hero of the classical world: a fearless general, the conqueror of the Persians, and the visionary ruler of a vast empire. In this seminal biography, Paul Cartledge, one of the world's foremost scholars of ancient Greece, gives us the most reliable and intimate portrait of the man himself.Cartledge brilliantly evokes Alexander's remarkable political and military accomplishments, cutting through the myths to show why he was such a great leader. He explores our endless obsession with Alexander and gives us insight into both his capacity for brutality and his sensitive grasp of international politics. As he brings Alexander vividly to life, Cartledge also captures his enduring impact on world history and culture.
Here, Plutarch introduces the major figures and periods of classical Greece, detailing the lives of nine personages, including Lycurgus, Solon, Themistocles, Cimon, Alexander, Pericles, Nicias, Alcibiades, and Agesilaus. Oxford presents the most comprehensive selection available, superbly translated and accompanied by a lucid introduction, explanatory notes, bibliographies, maps, and indexes.
The internationally recognized magisterial history that traces the development of modern Western thought to its origins in Ancient Greek literature
What is the foundation of the Western world's conceptions of society, philosophy, and literature? By tracing the processes by which consciousness evolved from its roots in the mother cults of Ancient Greece, world-renowned historian Keld Zerunieth seeks out the answer-his conclusion is the groundbreaking The Wooden Horse. By examining Homer's great epic poems, The Illiad and The Odyssey, Zeruneith explores this fundamental paradigm shift, which constituted nothing less than the liberation of the modern mind, providing startlingly original insight into the psychological forces behind the genesis of European and American culture.
"Searingly passionate...Nixey writes up a storm. Each sentence is rich, textured, evocative, felt... A] ballista-bolt of a book." --New York Times Book Review
In Harran, the locals refused to convert. They were dismembered, their limbs hung along the town's main street. In Alexandria, zealots pulled the elderly philosopher-mathematician Hypatia from her chariot and flayed her to death with shards of broken pottery. Not long before, their fellow Christians had invaded the city's greatest temple and razed it--smashing its world-famous statues and destroying all that was left of Alexandria's Great Library.
Today, we refer to Christianity's conquest of the West as a "triumph." But this victory entailed an orgy of destruction in which Jesus's followers attacked and suppressed classical culture, helping to pitch Western civilization into a thousand-year-long decline. Just one percent of Latin literature would survive the purge; countless antiquities, artworks, and ancient traditions were lost forever.
As Catherine Nixey reveals, evidence of early Christians' campaign of terror has been hiding in plain sight: in the palimpsests and shattered statues proudly displayed in churches and museums the world over. In The Darkening Age, Nixey resurrects this lost history, offering a wrenching account of the rise of Christianity and its terrible cost.
Ancient Greek literature, Athenian civic ideology, and modern classical scholarship have all worked together to reinforce the idea that there were three neatly defined status groups in classical Athens--citizens, slaves, and resident foreigners. But this book--the first comprehensive account of status in ancient democratic Athens--clearly lays out the evidence for a much broader and more complex spectrum of statuses, one that has important implications for understanding Greek social and cultural history. By revealing a social and legal reality otherwise masked by Athenian ideology, Deborah Kamen illuminates the complexity of Athenian social structure, uncovers tensions between democratic ideology and practice, and contributes to larger questions about the relationship between citizenship and democracy.Each chapter is devoted to one of ten distinct status groups in classical Athens (451/0-323 BCE): chattel slaves, privileged chattel slaves, conditionally freed slaves, resident foreigners (metics), privileged metics, bastards, disenfranchised citizens, naturalized citizens, female citizens, and male citizens. Examining a wide range of literary, epigraphic, and legal evidence, as well as factors not generally considered together, such as property ownership, corporal inviolability, and religious rights, the book demonstrates the important legal and social distinctions that were drawn between various groups of individuals in Athens. At the same time, it reveals that the boundaries between these groups were less fixed and more permeable than Athenians themselves acknowledged. The book concludes by trying to explain why ancient Greek literature maintains the fiction of three status groups despite a far more complex reality.
A perennial favorite in many different editions, Edith Hamilton's best-selling The Greek Way captures the spirit and achievements of Greece in the fifth century B.C. A retired headmistress when she began her writing career in the 1930s, Hamilton immediately demonstrated a remarkable ability to bring the world of ancient Greece to life, introducing that world to the twentieth century. The New York Times called The Greek Way a "book of both cultural and critical importance."
A few years ago, Mark Adams made a strange discovery: Far from alien conspiracy theories and other pop culture myths, everything we know about the legendary lost city of Atlantis comes from the work of one man, the Greek philosopher Plato. Stranger still: Adams learned there is an entire global sub-culture of amateur explorers who are still actively and obsessively searching for this sunken city, based entirely on Plato's detailed clues. What Adams didn't realize was that Atlantis is kind of like a virus--and he'd been exposed. In Meet Me in Atlantis, Adams racks up frequent-flier miles tracking down these Atlantis obsessives, trying to determine why they believe it's possible to find the world's most famous lost city--and whether any of their theories could prove or disprove its existence. The result is a classic quest that takes readers to fascinating locations to meet irresistible characters; and a deep, often humorous look at the human longing to rediscover a lost world.
A groundbreaking reading of the Iliad that restores Homer's vision of the tragedy of war, by the bestselling author of The Bounty.
Few warriors, in life or literature, have challenged their commanding officer and the rationale of the war they fought as fiercely as did Homer's hero Achilles. Today, the Iliad is celebrated as one of the greatest works in literature, the epic of all epics; many have forgotten that the subject of this ancient poem was war-not merely the poetical romance of the war at Troy, but war, in all its enduring devastation.
Using the legend of the Trojan war, the Iliad addresses the central questions defining the war experience of every age: Is a warrior ever justified in standing up against his commander? Must he sacrifice his life for someone else's cause? Giving his life for his country, does a man betray his family? How is a catastrophic war ever allowed to start-and why, if all parties wish it over, can it not be ended?
As she did with The Endurance and The Bounty, Caroline Alexander lets us see why a familiar story has had such an impact on us for centuries, revealing what Homer really meant. Written with the authority of a scholar and the vigor of a bestselling narrative historian, The War That Killed Achilles is a superb and utterly timely presentation of one of the timeless stories of our civilization.