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The Greek Way (1930)

by Edith Hamilton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,856167,029 (3.82)37
"Five hundred years before Christ in a little town on the far western border of the settled and civilizaed world, a strange new power was at work. . . . Athens had entered upon her brief and magnificent flowering of genius which so molded the world of mind and of spirit that our mind and spirit today are different. . . . What was then produced of art and of thought has never been surpasses and very rarely equalled, and the stamp of it is upon all the art and all the thought of the Western world."A perennial favorite in many different editions, Edith Hamilton's best-selling The Greek Way captures the spirit and achievements of Greece in the fifth century B.C. A retired headmistress when she began her writing career in the 1930s, Hamilton immediately demonstrated a remarkable ability to bring the world of ancient Greece to life, introducing that world to the twentieth century. The New York Times called The Greek Way a "book of both cultural and critical importance."… (more)
  1. 00
    The World of Herodotus by Aubrey De Selincourt (mambo_taxi)
    mambo_taxi: Hamilton is lovely; de Selincourt is nearly perfect.
  2. 00
    The Athenian Citizen by Mabel Lang (Imprinted)
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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
256
  MWSLibrarian | Oct 17, 2021 |
I first read this book back in college at a humanities survey course. I remembered this book fondly as a survey of Greek art, philosophy and literature. The textbook for the course was boring, but this book which was also assigned was not. This book remains a classic—Edith Hamilton was an extraordinary historian who was also the Head Mistress for Bryn Mawr and in addition to this also wrote a bestselling book on Mythology. She was also made an honorary citizen of Athens for her work.

I happened to pick this book up at a library sale—it is a double book which contains not only the Greek Way but a second book by Hamilton, the Roman Way. I’ll go back and read the second title later.

It is a worthy exercise to read this book to understand more about our current civilization and where we came from. The book is as relevant today as when it was written in the 20th century. I found much in this work that can be applied to our own world today. Here is a quote about the cycles of history and politics:

"A historian who lived some two hundred years later, Polybius, also a Greek, gives an admirably clear and condensed account of Thucydides’ basic thesis. Human history, he says, is a cycle which excess of power keeps revolving. Primitive despots start the wheel rolling. The more power they get the more they want, and they go on abusing their authority until inevitably opposition is aroused and a few men, strong enough when they unite, seize the rule for themselves. These, too, can never be satisfied. They encroach upon the rights of others until they are opposed in their turn. The people aroused against them, and democracy succeeds to oligarchy. But there again the evil in all power is no less operative. It brings corruption and contempt for law, until the state can no longer function and falls easily before a strong man who promises to restore order. The rule of the one, of the few, of the many, each is destroyed in turn because there is in them all an unvarying evil—the greed for power—and no moral quality is necessarily bound up with any of them." ( )
  auldhouse | Sep 30, 2021 |
I love this book, I have a paper back copy and it is starting to come apart, from over reading. It is about ancient Greece and how it influences our world even today. ( )
  klrabbit58 | May 3, 2021 |
Rather waffly view of Greek civilization as shown in the literature of the 5th century BC. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jan 15, 2019 |
Fascinating, absorbing! Since I read this book, I acquired Hamilton's another two books: "The Roman Way" and "Mythology". ( )
  Janexli | Aug 31, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edith Hamiltonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Doris Fielding Reid [additional text in Greek]
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Five hundred years before Christ in a little town on the far western border of the settled and civilized world, a strange new power was at work.
Quotations
There have been few men ever who have wondered more than Herodotus did.  The word is perpetually on his pen [...]  In this disposition he was the true child of his age -- the great age of Greece. During his life his countrymen were using their freedom, newly secured to them by the Persian defeat, to wonder in all directions. [100]
The special characteristic of the Greeks was their power to see the world clearly and at the same time as beautiful. [138]
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Five hundred years before Christ in a little town on the far western border of the settled and civilizaed world, a strange new power was at work. . . . Athens had entered upon her brief and magnificent flowering of genius which so molded the world of mind and of spirit that our mind and spirit today are different. . . . What was then produced of art and of thought has never been surpasses and very rarely equalled, and the stamp of it is upon all the art and all the thought of the Western world."A perennial favorite in many different editions, Edith Hamilton's best-selling The Greek Way captures the spirit and achievements of Greece in the fifth century B.C. A retired headmistress when she began her writing career in the 1930s, Hamilton immediately demonstrated a remarkable ability to bring the world of ancient Greece to life, introducing that world to the twentieth century. The New York Times called The Greek Way a "book of both cultural and critical importance."

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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