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Athens from Cleisthenes to Pericles Hardcover – January 11, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First edition (January 11, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520069234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520069237
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,428,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles W. Fornara is David Benedict Professor of Classics at Brown University. His many publications include Herodotus: An Interpretative Essay (1971), Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War (second edition, 1983), andThe Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome (California, 1983). Loren J. Samons II is a doctoral candidate at Brown and a contributor to Between Republic and Empire: Interpretations and Reassessments of Augustus and His Principate (California, 1986).

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Russon on December 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
By about 431 BC, that is, around the beginning of the Peloponnesian War chronicled by Thucydides, it is clear that Athens is a democracy and a major centre of revolutionary cultural developments, and that it is significantly influenced in its institutions and policy decisions by Pericles. Roughly 80 years earlier, it was a tyranny. How was this change in Athens accomplished in those 80 years--roughly the years from the initial "democratic reforms" of Cleisthenes to the preeminence of Pericles--and how should we interpret the significance of these changes? These are the questions that this excellent book addresses. The book stands out for the insight and rigour employed in the analysis of the historical evidence, in contrast to a method of interpretation that relies upon familiar presumptions or upon anachronistic or idealogical values. Indeed, one of the main thrusts of the book is to debunk (quite effectively) various romanticizations of "democratic" Athens and the political leaders who navigated its emergence. Overall, Fornara and Samons show that the democratic public policy within Athens was purchased only through a (ruthless) imperialist foreign policy. This is not an introduction to Greek history, but a book for a reader already fairly familiar with the basic issues; for such a reader, I recommend it highly. It would be a good complement to Mark Munn's excellent _The School of History: Athens in the Time of Socrates_.
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