Greeks

Paul Cartledge, Author
Paul Cartledge, Author TV Books $25 (280p) ISBN 978-1-57500-093-0
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-19-289147-1
Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-19-219266-0
Hardcover - 253 pages - 978-0-563-53764-9
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An unusual approach is taken here by Cartledge, a respected scholar of ancient history at the University of Cambridge. A companion volume to a PBS series that aired this month, the book doesn't offer a chronologically anchored narrative of the ancient Greek city states. Rather, the book's 15 chapters focus on the lives of individuals, some well-known to us from history, literature and art: Sappho, Pericles, Socrates, Alexander the Great. Cartledge's main achievement is bringing to our attention others who have been familiar mostly to scholars: Artemisia (a woman who fought on the Persian side in the Persian Wars), Pasion (a money-changer), Neaera (a courtesan). Cartledge personalizes ancient Greek history by using this biographical material to introduce the reader to broader aspects of life in ancient Greece. The focus is primarily social-historical, but the book also connects with such grand military/political events as the Peloponnesian War and the conquests of Alexander the Great. Easy to read and even jaunty in style, this volume also provides an abbreviated time line, a necessary aid for those unfamiliar with the chronology of Greek history, as well as a thoughtful introduction and suggestions for further reading. (Mar.)
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