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Unthinking the Greek Polis: Ancient Greek History beyond Eurocentrism 1st Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521877442
ISBN-10: 052187744X
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Editorial Reviews


"Anyone interested in Greek history will be stimulated by Vlassopoulos' book." --BMCR

Book Description

This 2007 study explores how modern scholars came to write Greek history from a Eurocentric perspective and challenges orthodox readings of Greek history centred on the polis. It proposes an intriguing way of writing Greek history, by situating the Greek world within the wider Mediterranean and Near Eastern world-system.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052187744X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521877442
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,155,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janet G on May 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book that examined ancient Eastern Mediterranean history as an interaction among peoples, which acknowledged Lycian democracy or the intermingling of early Greek with ancient Anatolian people such as the Carians, Lydians, or even Hittites. This book is not that history, but a theoretical justification for WHY it should be written concluding with some suggestions for HOW it might be written. In the end we are back to the ancient Greeks themselves as sources and narrative models for understanding their world. UNTHINKING THE GREEK POLIS is a scholarly work, which requires some background in history to fully appreciate, yet it proved to be a page turner that kept me reading until I was surprised by the sunrise.

UNTHINKING THE GREEK POLIS is an important book. It is not a rant about the evils of Euro centrism (or Athenocentrism), but an almost nerdy explanation of how it came to shape and firmly control the questions modern historians ask about the ancient Greeks. It does not focus on the contributions of non-Greeks or the Oriental-Occidental conflict, but rather holds up the light to our Western process of seeking the lineage of the modern West with a profoundly teleological mindset. For me it seems that it is more the belief in this teleology than the rejection of the Oriental which determines the long-held habits of mind in this field. By limiting himself to the Greek polis as an extended example, Vlassopoulos is able to be specific and sufficiently synthetic to make his points well. He shows that those Eurocentric questions and the teleological search for our roots preclude a fuller understanding of how things really were.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Kane on August 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This work will appeal to historians and students who seek answers to difficult questions. The discussion of the origins and multiple meaning of the polis as an inclusive citizenship is extremely valuable. But it is the author's emphasis on breaking down the opposition between East and West, between the invention of a Greek exceptionalism, and his emphasis on a broader Mediterranean view that is original and insightful. This is a work that complements other recent trends in Greek and Meditteranean history, for instance Robin Osborne. Vlassopoulos' approach is commendable for he takes the proposition of Edward Said by examining the conceptual framing and origins of historiography.
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By PeacefulSeeker on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't require my students purchase "Unthinking" but did read extensively during one of our classes. That the author has a Greek surname was disarming, and it is as advertised, a deconstruction of Eurocentrism as a co-opting of ancient Greece as the pillar and round of Westernism.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By hardcandy on April 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The book fully supports the Decomposition of History as we know it till now.
Obviously the writer is also a Globalization fan.
I am one too, but in his approach, he still misses a truth, in my opinion, which is the very real and existing so called 'Clash' of the civilizations (the everlasting fight between the East and the West).
On the other side he tries to tell us something that we already know: the modern Civilization is a mixture of many elements coming from the East as well as from the West, the world has always been in a constant interaction. Somebody finds out something and someone else takes it, enhences it, makes changes and produces something of his own out from the initial work and this applies for everyone.
However this reality can't annule the great contribution of the Ancient Greeks and Romans in the Western Civilization and in the Global Civilization in general.
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