- File Size: 915 KB
- Print Length: 570 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0029137519
- Publisher: Free Press (June 1, 1995)
- Publication Date: June 1, 1995
- Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002YFC1II
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,515 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Kindle Edition
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- Length: 570 pages
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VDH is an accomplished historian, a Classicist, an orchardist himself, and a fine writer. (My tiny complaint is that I am old enough to recall books that were not written with a word-processor, and I can tell the difference. I prefer pen, ink, and paper: less automated, more authored.)
Good price, timely delivery, great book.
There's a lot of interesting historical information here, but in order to get to it, you have to wade through the author frequently praising Socrates for watching Fox News.
The system is the Archaic and Classical Greek polis, which existed from roughly 700 BC to 300 BC. In "The Other Greeks", Hanson uses evidence from literature, archaeology, and epigraphy to support a number of points. To summarize:
1. The Greeks before the polis period had a palatial/feudal system in most cities. This consisted of a few wealthy landowners who owned estates of hundreds of acres and many peasants who worked the estates as wage earners.
2. The nature of Greece made it possible for middle-class ownership of land to come about, which meant that a new, third class came to dominate social life. They were the mesoi, or middle farmers.
3. The middle farmers were the source of hoplite warfare, oligarchic government, and the relative peacefulness of Archaic Greek history.
4. A combination of factors, including the expansion of voting rights to landless peasants, caused the polis system to slowly weaken and eventually return to a palatial/feudal system in Hellenistic times.
The book goes into much more detail about the evidence for each of the above points to thoroughly convince the reader of their accuracy. He also uses examples from his own life as a farmer in California to elucidate how the lives of ancient Greek farmers might have been.
I recommend this book as a must-read for anyone seriously interested in ancient Greek history. It is half-way between popular and academic history; the writing is accessible, but the scholarship is still unimpeachable.
The book is well organized and thoughtfully presented. If you are looking for a peek into what Greek culture was--apart from the literary and infamous or famous components--how they lived, then this is for you. Just think that if two thousand years from now the West was evaluated on our military campaigns and what remnants they found of George Lucus, Spielberg, and Andy Warhol and Vogue magazine. How would they see our world? VDH allows a deeper more thorough look--a view passed the open window for us to gaze upon. Thank you!