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Ancient Greece: A Political, Social and Cultural History, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195308006
ISBN-10: 019530800X
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Four well-known classicists have taken the traditional chronology of Greek history texts and written a much-needed overview for modern students. By means of a chapter structure that is well designed and logical, they take us through each period of Greek history and introduce the defining historiographical and literary issues. Each chapter begins with a discussion of the sources for that period and includes annotated endnotes that deal extensively with recent scholarship. Unlike many other histories, the book goes into depth on the Hellenistic period, as well as the Bronze and Dark Ages. Although the Spartans and Athenians naturally dominate, the authors consider Sparta before Athens, reflecting the order in which the moderns have admired them. An appropriate balance is found between political, social, and cultural history, and the authors display no outlandish prejudices to derail this noble effort. Recommended for all academic and large public libraries.?Claibourne G. Williams, Ferris State Univ., Big Rapids, MI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

From Pomeroy (Classics/Hunter Coll.), Stanley M. Burstein (History/Calif. State U niv., Los Angeles), Walter Donlan (Classics/Univ. of Calif., Irvine), and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts (Classics/City Coll. of New York), a comprehensive narrative history that emphasizes the ``astonishing creativity, versatility, and resilience'' of the culture shaped by the ancient Greeks. A poor, backward people occupying barely cultivable land on the periphery of the Mediterranean world, the Bronze Age Hellenes or Greeks (c. 30001150 b.c.) seem in retrospect an unlikely bet to become the progenitors of a great world civilization. While Bronze Age Greece eventually developed a distinctive culture and power base at Mycenae (c. 16001100 b.c. ), it derived most of its industrial skills from its more highly developed neighbors around the Mediterranean basin. And beginning around 1150 b.c., the authors speculate, a mysterious wave of invaders from the north wiped out the brilliant Mycenaean civilization, reducing Greek society to a culturally primitive ``dark age'' until around 750 b.c. The authors' account treats aspects of Greek life for which primary sources are sparsethe role of women, for instancebut it doesnt neglect the amazing political, artistic, architectural, philosophical, and literary achievements of classical Athens and other cities. The authors detail the development of Athens and Sparta, the creative tensions between them that helped defend Greece from Persian invasion, the ruinous wars that vitiated the Greek polis or city-state, and the extensive colonization (by the city-states) and conquest (by Alexander the Great) that spread Greek civilization from modem France to what is now Pakistan. While the Hellenistic kingdoms that resulted from the Alexandrian conquest were brutally absorbed into the Roman super-state, the cultural legacy of Greece remained pervasively influential in the Roman world and exerted a profound effect on the rise of Christianity. An accessible and well-balanced introduction to the culture and history of ancient Greece, useful for both student and general reader. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (August 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019530800X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195308006
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The $70 dollar textbook version of this work admirably fills its role as an introductory college text. However, the edition available here and at general bookstores is photo-offset in black and white, and consequently the many color maps and photographs in the original lose their visual splendor. For the general reader I would recommend instead Thomas Martin's "Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times," which is just as good as Pomeroy et al. and less than half the price.
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Format: Paperback
One of the best things about this book is that it's current and up to date on the most recent dicoveries in ancient Greek history. It provides the reader with a clear and organized history of Greece which both the novice and student can appreciate. It also includes great original sources, which are sometimes difficult to come by, and excellent maps. This is a great review for pulling all the facts together.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow, what a masterpiece! I started my self-conducted study of ancient Greek history with a different textbook. A good one but it did not impress me quite as much as this one. Written in a clear and fluent language, covering the whole range of Greece's ancient histoy and enriched with excellent pictures and diagrams, it makes the reading not only highly informative but also pleasant and entertaining, giving both beginners and students in the area a solid foundation for further and more specialised reading. It was sad to read some of the shallow and one-sided comments on here from people who certainly don't have the capability to realize the authors' didactic skill to reach out to a broad spectrum of readers of such a complex, broad and magnificent subject. This text rekindled my passion for the ancient world and gave me a great deal of motivation to pursue further reading on other aspects of ancient Hellas such as Religion, Politics, Mythology and so forth. If you're looking for a solid foundation and inspiration, I strongly recommend this book. Hail Pallas Athena!
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Format: Hardcover
Despite a few irritating editorial glitches, this book fills an important void for those trying to integrate greek classical literature with historical and social science insight. Even if you know much of the period, reading this book will give periodic nuggets of information, and gems of integrative insight. The novice, non-technical reader will find this the best overall introduction available.
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Format: Paperback
Not a bad overall introduction to ancient Greece. However, the authors seem to spend way too much of their time talking about the exceptions that prove the rule and about what ancient Greece could have been rather than discussing the cold, hard facts of ancient Greek life. For example, the authors feel the need to constantly quote and discuss the lone individual from ancient Greece who happened to think that slavery or the disenfranchisement of women were unjust, meanwhile glossing over the fact that ancient Greeks actively practiced slavery and actively disenfranchised women. Often, the book became more than apologetic for the ancient Greeks than any real examination of the truth of ancient Greece. As long as the reader approaches this book with at least a basic understanding of the harsh realities of ancient Greece and an appreciation for the fact that the ancient Greeks did not adhere to modern Western mores, this book is, overall, a and worthwhile introduction to ancient Greece.
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Format: Hardcover
I've used this text in my Greek Civilization course and I find that it has a wide range of material and reflects the latest trends in scholarship. For some courses I prefer Demand's History of Ancient Greece because it is more concise and better written--the short chapters give me more freedom to assign original Greek texts. But the price for that small text is outrageous!
The reason I'm provoked to write this review is I'm looking over the reading I assigned my students for today. See Pomeroy p. 246, the first paragraph on the Peloponnesian War, beginning "Avoiding war was particularly important when the Greeks has such precious achievements to protect in so many areas." The paragraph goes downhill from there. A horrible, scattered introduction which does nothing to convey why this central episode of Greek history was so important to the Greeks and retains its importance today. On many occasions the blah prose of this text renders the most interesting moments of Greek history dull and soporific.
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Format: Paperback
The study of ancient civilizations can be overwhelming. There is so much information along with strange and exotic names and customs. It takes a well laid out book like Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History to help explain it.

This 568 page book covers Ancient Greece from the time before the great Minoans all the way through the Roman conquest. This can be a formidable task and can be contained in more than one volume, but the authors are able to put it all in the one book without losing anything.

It begins with a comprehensive timeline that breaks out the military, political and social, and cultural events that begin as early as 6500 B.C. through 30 B.C. This timeline is displayed over 8 pages which gives it plenty of space for hitting the major events.

The book is then divided into twelve major sections of Ancient Greek history. Within each of these sections, there are anywhere from five to twelve sub-sections. This helps break up the eras in an easy to absorb manner.

At the end of each sub-section is another section of key terms. This section lists names, terms, and important concepts. These can come in handy for students of Ancient Greece and prep them for tests and better understandings of the text. At the end of the book, the reader can find a glossary to help explain each of those terms.

Following this section are bibliographies for that particular sub-section which include translations of primary sources and contemporary pieces. Instead of listing all the resources and suggest readings at the end of the book which could be huge, the authors separate them and attach them to the relevant sub-sections to make it easier to research.
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