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The Greek World 479-323 BC (Routledge History of the Ancient World) 3rd Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415153447
ISBN-10: 0415153441
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Editorial Reviews

Review

`To write a standard history which contains the essential material and yet is interesting and says things which have not been said before is one of the hardest tasks. Hornblower has performed it excellently.' - Times Literary Supplement

`Packed with worthwhile ideas and impressive erudition. It will stimulate thought'. - David Whitehead, Classical Review

`An undergraduate text book which neither the professional ancient historian can afford to ignore nor the interested non specialist fail to read with profit and pleasure' - History Today

About the Author

Simon Hornblower is Professor of Ancient History at University College London. He was previously a Fellow of Oriel College and Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Oxford. His many publications in Greek history and classical civilization include Greek Historiography (2000), A commentary on Thucydides (1997), The Oxford Classical Dictionary\i0 (edited with Antony Spawforth, 1996), and \i The Cambridge Ancient History Vol. VI: The Fourth Century BC\i0 (edited with D. M. Lewis, John Boardman and Martin Ostwald, 1994).
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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge History of the Ancient World
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 3 edition (June 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415153441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415153447
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,363,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Benedikt Berninger on August 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am not an historian nor student of history, but just an aficionado. As such I got a big fan of the Routledge History of the Ancient World Series. This volume covers the period of classical Greece, more or less from the time when democracy had been already firmly established in Athens up to the life of Alexander the Great. The book has some very strong points, for instance by describing Greece in all its heterogeneity of places and political systems. It gives a very good analysis of the way wars (such as the famous Peloponesian described by Thukydides) came about and what their consequences were. What to my feeling is covered to little is the cultural aspect. In a previous part of the series, on archaic Greece (Greece in the Making) cultural aspects form a more integral part while in the present volume they appear more or less en passant. Yet it is the time of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle that is covered. May be these fellows were politically not very important, but still. However, this critique should not be taken as a suggestion to change the book, bnut rather to add a second volume on the classical Greek world covering Art, Philosophy and Science.
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Format: Paperback
One positive review and one negative. The negative reviewer is correct that this book assumes some prior knowledge of the history or the sources. If you want the basic narrative or juicy stories about tyrants by all means grab Peter Green's books or similar recommendations. They are fun and they get you going especially if you are learning this history outside of the classroom. With some command of the facts and the curiosity to learn more, or in my case to return to an area of interest too long left fallow, Simon Hornblower's book will tie it all together, as the positive review points out.

The style is hardly dry. It is a critical study of some depth but the prose is not static. Rather, there is a positive forward motion, the development of ideas, and an informed but informal tone overall. The flashes of humor are little jewels in Hornblower's turns of phrase.

The value for me is the examination of causes and effects, as pointed out by the positive review (though I do not share the desire to include related developments in the arts, etc. which seem to me best served by a separate study) Those with a greater depth will find points worthy of argument and more discussion. The rest of us will no doubt be spurred on to more inquiry.
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Format: Paperback
This is NOT an introductory treatment of the period from the end of the Persian War, proceeding through the Peloponnesian War to the beginning of Alexander's conquests. One of the "blurbs" on the back of my edition (the first revised, not the second) refers to it as "an undergraduate textbook," which it emphatically is NOT. No one should attempt to gain initial understanding of the period through use of this book, unless that reader is willing to invest time with other books to augment it (inefficient). "The Greek World" DOES cover that period, and those events, in some detail, and though at times I think Hornblower's prose would benefit from the services of a competent editor, he is certainly authoritative and generally readable. He does a terrific job, I think, in gathering, summarizing, and comparing the works of many early historians whose work is central to understanding the period (not just Herodotus and Thucydides, but lesser lights like Xenophon, Diodorus, and others). I can't comment knowledgeably on Hornblower's overall "slant" on this historical period, but his relatively short treatment (under 300 pages) seems thorough and well-referenced. The book suffers, as so many of this type do, from a lack of suitable maps--which are vitally needed to understand the GEOpolitics of a very complicated region. You're best advised to get a good historical atlas and use it to get your "mental maps" in order; you'll need them to understand the topographic elements of land and sea.
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Format: Paperback
good and worth buying . will buy it again in future .
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By Roo on August 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is devoid of exciting details, and assumes you already know the story, or are reading the sources. Its like a commentary on the evidence, Prosopographical, Archeological, and if your not a PHD or Grad School aspirant, dont pick it up, you'll find the dictionary more exciting.
There is a far easier and more interesting "Concise History of Greece" by Peter Green written in the 70's thats still available. It does use a great deal of Archeological, Geographical information, and is very readable. This Routledge book doesn't read well, and the exciting details are left out. Why skip the cruelty of Sicilian Tyrants, and not even have a narrative of them? This book is more like a guidebook that must be used along with a real narrative book, to kind of fill in the details. Its like the kind of book that would turn off an undergraduate student so much the student will forever loath Ancient Greece, for having to read this book twice, a 2nd time because they flunked the midterm. Its for the experienced Grad student, so if its not on your syllabus, don't make the mistake I did.
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