From Library Journal
In this survey of ancient Greek history and civilization, Martin (classics, Coll. of Holy Cross) skillfully blends social, cultural, political, and military data to create a panoramic view of the Greek world. He moves chronologically from prehistory through the end of the Hellenistic era to 30 B.C. His work serves two purposes: it acts as a companion piece to the software database Perseus: Interactive Sources and Studies on Ancient Greece (Yale Univ., 1996. rev. ed.), to which the author contributed material, and it serves as an introductory text for anyone interested in classical studies. Novices will find the work both comprehensible and entertaining. For readers interested in pursuing topics such as the philosophy of Plato or the Peloponnesian War, Martin includes an annotated section of suggested readings that is quite helpful. This abundantly illustrated work is recommended for libraries housing the Perseus program and especially for public libraries whose classical sections consist of a handful of Michael Grant titles and dog-eared copies of Edith Hamilton's The Greek Way.?Rose M. Cichy, Osterhout Free Lib., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Free of suffocating scholasticism, this stolid narrative is well suited for a small library needing an overview of ancient Greece. Naturally, Martin writes most about the more fully researched periods, the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., encompassing the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the subsequent Macedonian conquest of an enervated Greek civilization. But he starts with the earliest habitation of Hellas, as well as archaeology can discern it through Stone Age remnants. Cautiously noting how problematic interpreting fragmentary evidence can be, for example in inferring social structure, Martin proceeds to describe the earliest widespread Greek cultures, the Minoan and Mycenaean. Emerging from the dark time into which they collapsed was the famous Homeric Age, when the two epic poems were put into writing. A summary of them, and of the other principal literary works of Greece, stud the political developments Martin steadily recounts: Athenian democracy is capably introduced to new readers. Photographs and maps enhance this solid first lesson about the ancients. Gilbert Taylor
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