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The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece Paperback – January 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This well-illustrated volume is just the thing to have on hand while working your way through the pages of Xenophon, Herodotus, and Thucydides. Robert Morkot traces the growth of Greece from a series of often conflicting city-states, each with its own colonial outposts as far from home as Spain and Tunisia, to loosely knit alliances that waged huge conflicts against the Persian empire--and, as in the case of the Peloponnesian War, against each other. The pages devoted to Alexander the Great, which show how the Greek empire came to extend from southern Egypt to the gates of China are particularly interesting.

About the Author

Robert Morkot is a lecturer in archaeology at the University of Exeter.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140513353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140513356
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 15, 2000
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I am an inveterate map reader. Whenever I travel there is a map in my pocket. But a recent trip to the Middle East and growing hobby collecting ancient coins had left me lost and confused as I tried to put in context the ruins visited and the coins I collected. With time, the names of cities and regions change so that one needs a separate map for each period. Morkot's superbly written historical atlas not only provides maps, but the rationale and context for their evolution and change. One of the best features in the structure of this book is the use of the overview, followed by a series of in-depth accounts, each from the perspective of the important "players" during a given historical period. This approach is immensely effective in reinforcing the information since the same information is repeated and new information added as each of the regions, their politics and battles, are succesively presented. From the Mycenae to the Parthians are thousands of years, thousands of miles, and thousands of political entities whose ebb and flow of power and reach of influence affect us even today. For the first time after years of puzzling over strange Grecian place names and leaders, I am now able to begin to understand the who what when and where for the 5 millenia preceding the birth of Christ. I wish this had been the first book I read in my study of ancient history. I can hardly wait to start on Penguin's sequel - Acient Rome.
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Bill Manaris on February 22, 2004
This superficially attractive book should be approached carefully. The author makes several strong, yet unsupported statements in an attempt to minimize the effect of Classical Greece on western civilization. It is refreshing to see a different viewpoint. However, the book has no references; only further readings. Had I not been exposed to other viewpoints before reading this book, I would walk away thinking the Athenian contribution to Western philosophy, arts, architecture, letters, etc., was rather inconsequential and evolutionary in nature (rather than revolutionary as it is customarily accepted). There is nothing wrong with a new point of view. But, if it is radical, it should be supported (via references, etc.) -- otherwise, it is suspect.
An example of this is the statement (p. 93) that an exquisite ivory carving of Philip II "a little over three centimetres in height ... belies Demosthenes' claim that the Macedonians were 'barbarians'". In the same paragraph we hear that Philip employed many Greeks at his court, including Aristotle. Could it be possible that the barbarian conqueror, Phillip, surrounded himself with the beauty of the world he conquered? Readers exposed to the beauty of Classical Greek thought and art are left wondering about the motives (or background) of this author who chooses to focus on the political, military, and perhaps greedy aspects of Greek civilization, while completely ignoring its more noble contributions to Western thought. Perhaps the book balances the opposite tendency, i.e., to focus on the marvels of Greek Arts, and disregard the support environment that provided the safety and affluence for Greek Arts to flourish.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1998
Students lined up to borrow my copy of this concise, well written book. The maps are clearly marked, the text readable and accurate. Our professor had not seen it before and added it to his required reading list. Well worth the small price.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Tom Cmajdalka on October 24, 2003
OK, when I first picked up The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece by Robert Morkot, I was superficially impressed. But having slogged through this thin volume, I have concluded that it is the most poorly written book I have ever read. I think I would rather have my teeth pulled.
The maps look colorful at first glance, but they do silly things like mark battles in a light color that totally dissappears when placed on the maps. Or accompanying text will make direct reference to a place that is not on the map in question, so you have to flip back and forth to find the right map.
Each section starts with an intro chapter that is supposed to sum up what the individual chapters in the section contain, but it reads like a major cut-and-paste job. And by the time you get to the last sections of the book, the intro is actually longer that the indiviual chapters put together.
The atlas has helped me a little bit, and I'll refer to some of the maps from time to time, but this was not worth he effort.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By hopefulskeptic on August 21, 2003
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The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece by Robert Morkot is a very useful reference book as it is loaded with maps that help one interpret what is said in other works on the Greeks which too often come without good maps.
There are two weaknesses in the work.
1. The maps are rather small in this edition and the color keys are often hard to sort out as the colors are too close together in tint.
2. The spellings of names for people and places are often considerably different than one commonly runs into in works on the Greeks published in the US and even Britain - there were times when my computerized Encyclopaedia Britannica couldn't match the names as spelled.
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The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece
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