A fresh, vivid, and thought-provoking introduction to the ancient civilization that helped shape our own and fascinates us anew today.
The immense success of Robert Fagles's translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey has demonstrated the resurgent appeal of the ancient Greeks. Combining the best of recent scholarship with a readable narrative, Charles Freeman's The Greek Achievement traces nearly two thousand years of history and culture--from the earliest settlements through the Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods to the splendors of Byzantium.
Like Thomas Cahill's The Gift of the Jews and How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Greek Achievement celebrates both the Greeks and their legacy to the world. It ranges from the tragedies of Aeschylus to the military adventures of Xenophon, from the conquests of Alexander the Great to the love songs of Sappho. It covers Aristotle and the roots of rhetoric; Plato's conception of The Republic, the first great piece of Utopian writing; philosophies such as Stoicism and Epicureanism; Euclid's contribution to mathematics; Galen's work in medicine; how Greek theater has colored dramatists from Shakespeare and the Elizabethans onward; the Greek influence on Christian theology and church structure; and much more.
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Published September 1, 2000
by Penguin Books.