The stories have been selected for the insights that they give us into the ancient world, with its different perspectives on life, honor, and personal relationships. Many of the tales seem outrageous (such as a statue being tried for murder), though to the ancients these were normal enough. As the author comments, "human nature has not changed much over the last three thousand years, but the manner in which it finds expression is sometimes dramatically different."
In these pages we find humorous quips by the emperor Augustus and wry observations by the philosopher Socrates. There are stories of ghastly crimes, incredible journeys, and some bizarre military mishaps, like the Macedonian troops who rushed to storm the walls of a Greek city, only to find that their ladders were six feet short.
Did you know that ...
- a Roman suffering from illness might be cured if rubbed all over with a puppy
- lentils cooked in saffron were a popular Greek aphrodisiac
- in the Roman marriage ceremony, the groom parts the bride's hair with a spear
- Caesar's horse had toes
This is a social history of Greek food from the neolithic age, through classical Greece and Byzantine cuisine, to the development of the modern Greek menu. It seeks to demonstrate the social construction placed upon different types of food at different periods.
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.
Built in the fifth century b.c., the Parthenon has been venerated for more than two millennia as the West s ultimate paragon of beauty and proportion. Since the Enlightenment, it has also come to represent our political ideals, the lavish temple to the goddess Athena serving as the model for our most hallowed civic architecture. But how much do the values of those who built the Parthenon truly correspond with our own? And apart from the significance with which we have invested it, what exactly did this marvel of human hands mean to those who made it?
In this revolutionary book, Joan Breton Connelly challenges our most basic assumptions about the Parthenon and the ancient Athenians. Beginning with the natural environment and its rich mythic associations, she re-creates the development of the Acropolis the Sacred Rock at the heart of the city-state from its prehistoric origins to its Periklean glory days as a constellation of temples among which the Parthenon stood supreme. In particular, she probes the Parthenon s legendary frieze: the 525-foot-long relief sculpture that originally encircled the upper reaches before it was partially destroyed by Venetian cannon fire (in the seventeenth century) and most of what remained was shipped off to Britain (in the nineteenth century) among the Elgin marbles. The frieze s vast enigmatic procession a dazzling pageant of cavalrymen and elders, musicians and maidens has for more than two hundred years been thought to represent a scene of annual civic celebration in the birthplace of democracy. But thanks to a once-lost play by Euripides (the discovery of which, in the wrappings of a Hellenistic Egyptian mummy, is only one of this book s intriguing adventures), Connelly has uncovered a long-buried meaning, a story of human sacrifice set during the city s mythic founding. In a society startlingly preoccupied with cult ritual, this story was at the core of what it meant to be Athenian. Connelly reveals a world that beggars our popular notions of Athens as a city of staid philosophers, rationalists, and rhetoricians, a world in which our modern secular conception of democracy would have been simply incomprehensible.
The Parthenon s full significance has been obscured until now owing in no small part, Connelly argues, to the frieze s dismemberment. And so her investigation concludes with a call to reunite the pieces, in order that what is perhaps the greatest single work of art surviving from antiquity may be viewed more nearly as its makers intended. Marshalling a breathtaking range of textual and visual evidence, full of fresh insights woven into a thrilling narrative that brings the distant past to life, "The Parthenon Enigma" is sure to become a landmark in our understanding of the civilization from which we claim cultural descent."
A concise yet wide-ranging introduction to the culture of ancient Greece, The Greeks is a lucid survey that:* covers all the key elements of ancient Greek civilization from the age of Homer to the end of the classical period
* provides detailed discussions of the main trends in literature and drama, philosophy, art and architecture
* places ancient Greek culture firmly in its political and historical context. Including fourty-five illustrations, chronological chart, maps, and suggestions for further reading, The Greeks is an indispensable introduction for all students of classics, and an invaluable guide for students of other disciplines who require a grounding in Greek civilization.
An elegant and entertaining account of the transformations of the Greek gods across the ages, from antiquity to the Renaissance and the present day
The gods of Olympus are the most colorful characters of Greek civilization: even in antiquity, they were said to be cruel, oversexed, mad, or just plain silly. Yet for all their foibles and flaws, they proved to be tough survivors, far outlasting classical Greece itself. In Egypt, the Olympian gods claimed to have given birth to pharaohs; in Rome, they led respectable citizens into orgiastic rituals of drink and sex. Under Christianity and Islam they survived as demons, allegories, and planets; and in the Renaissance, they triumphantly emerged as ambassadors of a new, secular belief in humanity. Their geographic range, too, has been little short of astounding: in their exile, the gods and goddesses of Olympus have traveled east to the walls of cave temples in China and west to colonize the Americas. They snuck into Italian cathedrals, haunted Nietzsche, and visited Borges in his restless dreams.
In a lively, original history, Barbara Graziosi offers the first account to trace the wanderings of these protean deities through the millennia. Drawing on a wide range of literary and archaeological sources, The Gods of Olympus opens a new window on the ancient world, religion, mythology, and its lasting influence.
For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century B.C., Athens and Sparta fought a war that changed the Greek world and its civilization forever. A conflict unprecedented in its brutality, the Peloponnesian War brought a collapse in the institutions, beliefs, and customs that were the foundations of society. Today, scholars in fields ranging from international relations and political and military history to political philosophy continue to study the war for its timeless relevance to the history of our own time.
Now Donald Kagan, classical scholar and historian of international relations, ancient and modern, presents a sweeping new narrative of this epic contest that captures all its drama, action, and tragedy. In describing the rise and fall of a great empire he examines the clash between two disparate societies, the interplay of intelligence and chance in human affairs, the role of great human beings in determining the course of events, and the challenge of leadership and the limits in which it must operate. The result is an engrossing, fresh perspective on a key historical event that will be welcomed by general readers and history buffs alike-and anyone seeking a better understanding of the pivotal events that shaped the world as we know it.
In the aftermath of the death of the conqueror Alexander the Great, the late emperor's friend Machon offers a stunning and tragic take on Alexander's meteoric rise to the heights of power and his ultimate collapse and early death. Original.
Arrian's Campaigns of Alexander, widely considered the most authoritative history of the brilliant leader's great conquests, is the latest addition to the acclaimed Landmark series.After twelve years of hard-fought campaigns, Alexander the Great controlled a vast empire that was bordered by the Adriatic sea to the west and modern-day India to the east. Arrian, himself a military commander, combines his firsthand experience of battle with material from Ptolemy's memoirs and other ancient sources to compose a singular portrait of Alexander. This vivid and engaging new translation of Arrian will fascinate readers who are interested in classical studies, the history of warfare, and the origins of East--West tensions still swirling in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan today. Enriched by the series' trademark comprehensive maps, illustrations, and annotations, and with contributions from the preeminent classical scholars of today, The Landmark Arrian: The Campaigns of Alexander is the definitive edition of this essential work of ancient history.
In the fifth century B.C., a global superpower was determined to bring truth and order to what it regarded as two terrorist states. The superpower was Persia, incomparably rich in ambition, gold, and men. The terrorist states were Athens and Sparta, eccentric cities in a poor and mountainous backwater: Greece. The story of how their citizens took on the Great King of Persia, and thereby saved not only themselves but Western civilization as well, is as heart-stopping and fateful as any episode in history. Tom Holland's brilliant study of these critical Persian Wars skillfully examines a conflict of critical importance to both ancient and modern history.