- Paperback: 520 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (March 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192801376
- ISBN-13: 978-0192801371
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 4.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Oxford History of Greece & the Hellenistic World 2nd Edition
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About the Author
John Boardman is Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and Art, Lincoln College, Oxford.
Dr Oswyn Murray is Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History at Baliol College, Oxford.
Dr Jasper Griffin is Tutor in Ancient History at Baliol College, Oxford.
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Top customer reviews
Each essay falls short of covering its subject at any depth to satisfy someone who is already knowledgeable. There are 16 of these essays. Taken as a whole, the length would make it unbearable to the uninitiated while, at the same time, the shallowness offers little to those actually interested in Greece.
The individual essays are largely hit or miss. The best are 2-3 on Homer, Hesoid, and Myth; 7-10 on the creative, historical, and philosophical products of the Classical period in Athens; and likewise with 13-15 in regard to the Hellenistic period. Everything else is extremely dry or poorly written, suffering from the above problems.
Overally I learned from and enjoyed about half of the essays. However, even if these few essays are worthwhile, there are far better ways to spend your time.
For history and culture:
The Greeks by Kitto
For philosophy and science:
A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, or
Early Greek Science by G.E.R. Llyod
And of course, reading the Illiad, Thyucidides, Sophocles, Plato, and Aristotle (especially Poetics and Nichomachean Ethics) firsthand will continue to be one of the best ways one can learn--about Greece or himself.
I must make special mention of certain essays. (This volume is a collection of essays by experts in their fields: as such, some sections are better than others.) The histories are absolutely brilliant, enlightening and fascinating. The discussion of literature is a mixed bag, however. One of my favourite essays is one on Homer's poetry. It must be read to be believed - wonderful stuff. However, the chapter on Elegaic and Lyric Poetry I found to be inaccessible. I study English, and a lot of the discussion went far too deep, far too fast, and, coupled with a piecemeal historical background to be considered, the chapter turned to dust. It is certainly worth reading, but it by far the weakest chapter. The chapters on philosophy were, in fact, my favourite - sitting right up top with Homer. These chapters were probably the only truly "riveting" moments in the book, because the themes they deal with are so large, and the evolution so fascinating. The sections on mythology and religion are solid and informative. Thankfully art and architecture are not neglected, and the chapters concerning their evolution and influence are interesting, if not a little bit too far away from my sphere of interest. The depiction of the various deities and the like, however, was great and complemented the religious chapters well.
The maps and the historical chart (detailing events both social and cultural) are the best I have ever seen in a single paperback volume. The selected readings at the end of each chapter are both comprehensive and accessible, so full marks there. It is a small pity that there isn't a glossary of useful greek terms, but that is of little consequence and does nothing to tarnish this brilliant gem.
It pains me a bit to see that this book has only one review (now two) to it's name. It deserves to be read. As is said in the introduction of this book: "To see that such things can be true of people whom in some ways we find intelligible and recognizable can help to deliver us from the tyranny of the present, from the assumption that our own habits of action and thought are really inescapable, and from the idea that there are no alternatives. That is the liberating power of the past." (Boardman, p.8)
The past liberates us from ourselves and should not be forgotten. This is something I passionately believe, and I am not even a historian.
It is needless to say but I will say it anyway: buy this book and any other Oxford history you can find - or Cambridge history for that matter - and absorb it all. The details are not important the first time through, just withhold the themes and the power that comes from reading about a culture alive only in museums and through fragmented customs and throwbacks; of a people extinct or bred out of existence; and of a history lived before our current means of measuring time existed (this was long before the advent of the Julian Calender.)
I am rambling.
Buy. Read. Enjoy.
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed every letter and every line and every page
to be honest I read it many times and IT INSPIRES ME SOOOO MUCH
Always order used its much cheaper and choose "like new"
My book looked like it was owned by a...Read more