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The Greek Achievement: The Foundation of the…

The Greek Achievement: The Foundation of the Western World

by Charles Freeman

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221452,606 (4.09)3
  1. 10
    Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea by Thomas Cahill (gmicksmith)
    gmicksmith: These two volumes, although different in treatment and scope, do cover similar ground and make an interesting comparison.

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One of the best summaries of why the Greeks are important for us to consider. The achievements of the ancient Greeks form the cornerstone of Western civilization. The work traces the entire course of ancient Greek history across thousands of years--from the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations of the Bronze Age through the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. This account celebrates the incredible range of Greek achievement: the architectural marvels of the Athenian Acropolis; the birth of drama and the timeless tragedies of Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles; Homer's epics; the philosophical revolutions of Plato and Aristotle; and the conquests of Alexander the Great.
  gmicksmith | Oct 18, 2016 |
"Greece 101" for my upcoming vacation. My school exposure to Ancient Greece was spotty at best, so this comprehensive but brisk volume seems just right. I like that it reaches back to the Archaic period, then covers both the Classical and Hellenistic. He claims balance in his approach, avoiding the apparent trend of uncritical praise for all things Greek by many past scholars. Slavery is one topic he is careful to illuminate. Athenian democracy, hero worship, drama, medicine, war. It's all here. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Feb 25, 2016 |
An overview of Greek culture.
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Freeman by Clare London is a reissue of a novel I enjoyed so much the first time around that I’m pleased to help introduce it to a new audience. It offers a melancholy, intensely emotional vibe – sort of a British noir fiction. Freeman is our viewpoint character, but he’s a mysteriously self-contained man who doesn’t reveal much about his plans or past to the reader. This creates an air of suspense, as if his past is so painful and his future is so uncertain that he cannot dwell upon it. It is also fascinating to follow him through his story and piece together his overall dilemma. Meanwhile, the plotting itself is satisfyingly intricate, and his relationship with the endearing Kit is tender and involving.

The story starts with Freeman returning to an unnamed city, which is probably London. He has a complicated and shady past with possible ties to the underworld as well as painful ties to an ex-wife and an ex-lover. He used to work as a freelance “finder” (of people, objects, and information) for the increasingly corrupt George Marshall into whose orbit he now carefully insinuates himself. Freeman is on a mission of vengeance. Unfortunately, George now has an alluring young man Kit entangled in his criminal enterprises, and George has noticed Freeman’s protective instincts toward Kit. Freeman must pull off his plan while looking out for Kit. ( )
  AReCafe | May 23, 2014 |
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If there is one icon (Greek eikon, an image or likeness) that stands for ancient Greece and its leading city-state of the fifth century B.C., Athens, it is the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena, as maiden, parthenos, which rises in splendor on the Acropolis of Athens.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014029323X, Paperback)

The idea of an entity called Greece is a modern one, which a Thracian of Homer's time or an Athenian of the age of Pericles would not have recognized. Ancient Greek politics was organized along the lines first of family, then of clan, then of neighborhood, and then finally of town or city; the concept of nationhood, the existence of a nation called Greece, scarcely entered the discussion.

But if there was no Greece in ancient times, there is more than one ancient Greece. One, writes the noted classical historian Charles Freeman, can be found symbolized in the Parthenon of Athens, its graceful architecture and statuary bespeaking ideals of freedom, citizenship, truth. But another, Freeman continues, can be found early in the pages of Thucydides, who writes of, among other atrocities, the Athenians' slaughtering the citizens of Melos upon their surrender after a long siege. "Whatever the achievements of the Greeks might have been," he writes, "they developed against the backdrop of a real world, one in which human beings were degraded by disease and where brutality was an everyday part of life."

Freeman traces both the real and the ideal Greek world in this comprehensive survey of ancient history, which opens with an up-to-date assessment of the Greek peninsula's Bronze Age cultures and closes with a view of the survival of classical customs and ways of thought in the Western tradition. Gracefully written, Freeman's fine history will find a welcome place on classicists' bookshelves. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:07 -0400)

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