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A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0199982103
ISBN-10: 0199982104
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"The selections are, on the whole, intriguing and often delightful... A Classicist will find much to use, and as a gift to a friend who wonders how the ancients can hold our fascination so thoroughly, this cabinet will surely inform and charm the recipient." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review


About the Author


J. C. McKeown is Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, coeditor of the Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature, and author of Classical Latin: An Introductory Course and A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199982104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199982103
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.2 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By pageturner on June 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought Cabinet of Roman Curiosities several years ago and enjoyed it so much that of course I placed an advance order for McKeown's second cabinet, Cabinet of Greek Curiosities. It is a delightful book filled with quirky stories and facts about the ancient Greeks. You can pick it up and set it down without worry since it is organized into small snippets of information by subject matter. I am not an ancient history buff and knew little about the Romans or Greeks so this book was perfect for me. But even if you are an ancient history person, you will enjoy this book since these types of stories are not the kind the thing you find in history books. McKeown acknowledges in his introduction that this is not meant to be a scholarly work, even though he is a Classicist, and that it is meant for entertainment. However, it is not all light. I'm glad that I am not a woman living in ancient Greece for his chapter on women shows just how awful that was and he doesn't sanitize the stories at all. I was a bit surprised to see that the chapter on Sex was not as racy as the Roman counterpart, which is titled Not for the Puritanical. Out of the 24 chapters, I especially enjoyed Animals, Food, Magic, and Tourist Attractions. Even the ones I did not expect to enjoy quite so much, such as Homer and Sparta, were interesting. The illustrations are wonderful. I would definitely recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on June 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book as a present for my birthday and at first did not think I would like it. But even after reading only a few items in the chapter on sex (of course went to that one first just out of curiosity) I was hooked. It was funny and strange at the same time. The Greeks were pretty weird people. You won't be disappointed by this book at all. In fact, I'm thinking of buying McKeown's previous Roman Cabinet when I finish this one.
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Format: Hardcover
"A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization" was brought to my attention by another tour guide at Emory University's museum of antiquities. There, tours of the Greek and Roman collections are quite frequent because the study of Greek contributions to democracy is required in Georgia's school curriculum. Even for those not museum docents, there are still numerous reasons to pick up this delightful and enlightening book as well as its counterpart on Roman curiosities.

In the first instance, the author, J.C. McKeown, a professor of classics at the University of Wisconsin, has impeccable credentials that include work as co-editor of the "Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature." Then there is the structure of the book, which presents anecdotes that are brief and arranged by subject matter. As other reviewers have noted here, this invites the reader to dip in and out of the book and first choose topics of prime interest, be they food and drink, Alexander the Great, warfare, or even sex. Throughout, the content is a gold mine for committed crossword puzzlers, and there is as well a chapter devoted specifically to "words and expressions." Most important, the book speaks to anyone interested in the roots of our own civilization. In this regard, it is exceptionally successful in both bringing to life these ancient people and, in the process, allowing us to recognize how very consistent human behavior has been through the centuries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Halter on December 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a delightful book for history buffs interested in the subject. Easy to pick up and put down for casual reading. I plan to buy his book on Roman Curiosities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maude's Mama on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ancient Greece as we never knew it. Fascinating to read on a cold winter night, or a lazy summer afternoon.
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