- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics (May 27, 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140442855
- ISBN-13: 978-0140442854
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Greek Anthology: And Other Ancient Greek Epigrams (Penguin Classics) Paperback – May 27, 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
Most readers are familiar with the Iliad and the Odyssey, but those epics only give a glimmer of the Greek condition. The lyric and epigrammatic poems of the Anthology shoot straight through to the soul's core; they were written by people who had hopes, dreams, and desires much like yours or mine. There are no immortal heroes here, no mythic exploits of semi-divine characters. These are poems about life, about lust and hunger and death, about prostitutes and priests and priestesses, about drinking and athletics and philosophy. And when the Hellenic gods do appear, they're usually the butt of some joke.
Please note that the Penguin edition is edited.Read more ›
Drenched in Mediterranean sunlight & harsh shadows, these poems depict a world where life & death, passion & loss, nobility & satire, are all delineated in bold, clear lines, and seen with an unclouded eye. There doesn't seem to be much self-deception, or comforting but empty illusion, in that world. And if it does start to creep in, it's just as swiftly & scathingly dismissed.
Covering several centuries, translated by a wide range of poets, this collection offers a worldview that never flinches from death, or the unpredictable whims of fate. It is, after all, a world which advised, "Call no man happy until he is dead." At the same time, it embraces the pleasures of life, never confusing sex & love, making room for both without apology or regret.
For the most part, you'll find short, to-the-point epigrams in these pages. The occasional reminder that (for example) only 4 or 5 poems survive of a poet's entire body of work, some of them mere fragments, is sobering. That in itself is testimony to the worldview presented here, one that essentially says, "We cannot choose what we are given, we can only choose how we face it." And the Greeks faced it head-on, without blinking.
Most highly recommended!