- Series: Yale Nota Bene
- Paperback: 254 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; Updated edition (August 11, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300084935
- ISBN-13: 978-0300084931
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times (Yale Nota Bene) Updated Edition
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The subject matter of Ancient Greece remains relevant to our modern world, whether people wish to believe it or not during this revisionist period that seeks to equalize all periods and cultures. In reading about the Ancient Greeks, we see the nucleus of our own current world (In the West). Martin does an excellent job of writing a brief, accessible survey of the period. Beginning with the Mycenaeans and the Minoans he chronologically surveys ancient Greek history down to the Hellenistic period, that dazzling period in ancient history when cross-cultural fermentation unleashed a world of advances that form the basis for many parts of our modern world. Martin discusses ideas and dissects culture particularly well throughout the book. And because so much of what we know comes from the literature that has survived, there is a of analysis of the literature. If you enjoy Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristophanes, Sappho, Sophocles, Euripedes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc. you get the idea, then you will enjoy the glimpses that Martin gives you of the writings and what those writings say about the period the authors lived in.
Due to the nature of our sources, Martin focuses more on later period than on earlier periods. That is to be expected. In addition to the excellent survey, Martin also offers a great bibliography for the reader who is interested in exploring the world of the Ancient Greeks in more details. Because this book was published in 1996 and updated in 2000, it doesn't discuss a lot of the recent scholarship on the period (In particular if you're a fan of the Peloponnesian War then Kagan's tetraology on the war is a great resource - The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War (A New History of the Peloponnesian War) ). Still, if you have an interest in the period and haven't read much before, this is a great place to begin.
I finished this book, and have since moved on to 'Ancient Rome' by Simon Baker, which is similar in format and goal.
After reading his I no longer feel as much 'in the dark' as I used to about ancient Western civilization history. I hope to find similar books about the Middle Ages and Renaissance next.
In a short amount of space, Martin covers the history of Greece from paleolithic through Hellenistic times. Despite the brevity of his work, he is able to weave together a satisfying narrative that meets the needs of anyone looking for an introduction to Ancient Greek history without having to read multiple volumes. It is a great branching off point for further study of individual periods of Greek history (Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic) if one is interested. What makes Martin's work a success is his ability to organize vast amounts of information and tell history in a way that is compelling while remaining objective, honest, and free from superfluous language. I particularly enjoyed Martin's discussion of the early history of Greece from the Paleolithic through the Bronze Age (including the Minoan and Mycenean civilizations) and into Archaic Greece. The reader is truly able to see the development of Greek civilization and establishment of key features, such as the polis (city-state), that would come to dominate the Classical period. Even if one is primarily interested in Classical Greece, Martin's account remains interesting and informative from beginning to end and I highly recommend it.
For those who are interested in the time periods covered towards the end of this book, I would also recommend Martin and Christopher Blackwell's "Alexander the Great: The Story of an Ancient Life" and Michael Grant's "From Alexander to Cleopatra: The Hellenistic World." It seems Martin has also published an account of Ancient Roman history recently entitled Ancient Rome: From Romulus to Justinian" which I look forward to reading.
I was determined to educate myself in regards to Ancient Greece, but the majority of books I came across only covered specific parts of Ancient Greek history. Then I found this gem. I wanted to read something that encompassed the earliest Greek history (Minoans, Mycenaeans) along with the more famous parts such as the Classical Age and Alexander - and this book delivers. It's a great overview that doesn't dwell too much on any one subject but covers everything equally well. Its all here: geography, economy, war, religion, philosophy. Great intro to one of histories most fascinating civilizations.