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Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece

Thomas R. Martin
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Ancient Greece
    Book Description:

    In this compact yet comprehensive history of ancient Greece, Thomas R. Martin brings alive Greek civilization from its Stone Age roots to the fourth century B.C. Focusing on the development of the Greek city-state and the society, culture, and architecture of Athens in its Golden Age, Martin integrates political, military, social, and cultural history in a book that will appeal to students and general readers alike. Now in its second edition, this classic work now features new maps and illustrations, a new introduction, and updates throughout.

    "A limpidly written, highly accessible, and comprehensive history of Greece and its civilizations from prehistory through the collapse of Alexander the Great's empire. . . . A highly readable account of ancient Greece, particularly useful as an introductory or review text for the student or the general reader."-Kirkus Reviews

    "A polished and informative work that will be useful for general readers and students."-Daniel Tompkins, Temple University

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19063-2
    Subjects: History, Art & Art History, Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Maps, Plans, Tables, and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xi)
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  8. ONE Backgrounds of Ancient Greek History
    (pp. 1-22)

    “Most things in the history of Greece have become a subject of dispute” is how Pausanias, the second-century A.D. author of a famous guide to sites throughout Greece, summed up the challenge and the fascination of thinking about the significance of ancient Greek history (Guide to Greece4.2.3). The subject was disputed then because Pausanias, a Greek, lived and wrote under the Roman Empire, when Greeks as subjects of the emperor in Rome no longer enjoyed the independence on which they once had prided themselves and had fought fiercely to protect. One dispute he focused on was why Greeks had...

  9. TWO From Indo-Europeans to Mycenaeans
    (pp. 23-45)

    When did the people living in and around the central Mediterranean Sea in the locations that make up Greece become Greeks? No simple answer is possible, because the concept of identity includes not just the social and material conditions of life but also ethnic, cultural, religious, and linguistic traditions. So far as the available evidence shows, the Mycenaeans of the second millennium B.C. were the first population in Greece that spoke Greek. By that date, then, groups of people clearly existed whom we can call Greeks. No records tell us what the Mycenaeans called themselves; in Greek, as it developed...

  10. THREE The Dark Age
    (pp. 46-64)

    The local wars, economic disruptions, and movements of peoples in the period 1200–1000 B.C. destroyed Mycenaean civilization in Greece and weakened or obliterated cities, kingdoms, and civilizations across the Near East. This extended period of violence brought grinding poverty to many of the people who managed to physically survive the widespread upheavals of these centuries. Enormous difficulties impede our understanding of the history of this troubled period and of the recovery that followed, because few literary or documentary sources exist to supplement the sometimes ambiguous and incomplete evidence provided by archaeology. Both because conditions were so grueling for many...

  11. FOUR The Archaic Age
    (pp. 65-90)

    During the Archaic Age the Greeks fully developed the most widespread and influential of their new political forms, the city-state (polis). The termarchaic,meaning “old-fashioned” and designating Greek history from approximately 750 to 500 B.C., stems from art history. Scholars of Greek art, employing criteria about what is beautiful, which today are no longer seen as absolute, judged the style of works from this period as looking more old-fashioned than the more-naturalistic art of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Art historians judged the sculpture and architecture from the following time period as setting what they saw as the...

  12. FIVE Oligarchy, Tyranny, and Democracy
    (pp. 91-120)

    Although the Greek city-states differed in size and natural resources, over the course of the Archaic Age they came to share certain fundamental political institutions and social traditions: citizenship, slavery, the legal disadvantages and political exclusion of women, and the continuing predominance of wealthy elites in public life. But city-states developed these shared characteristics in strikingly different ways. Monarchy had mostly died out in Greece with the end of Mycenaean civilization, as the limited evidence for the time seems to show. In any case, the dual kingship that existed in Sparta formed part of its complex oligarchic system rather than...

  13. SIX From Persian Wars to Athenian Empire
    (pp. 121-157)

    An Athenian blunder in international diplomacy set in motion the greatest military threat that the ancient Greeks had ever faced and put the freedom of Greece at desperate risk from invasions by enormous forces of the Persian Empire. In 507 B.C. the Athenians were afraid that the Spartans would again try to intervene to support the oligarchic faction that was resisting the new democratic reforms of Cleisthenes. Looking for help against Greece’s number-one power, the Athenians sent ambassadors to ask for a protective alliance with the king of Persia, Darius I (ruled 522–486 B.C.). The Persian Empire was by...

  14. SEVEN Culture and Society in Classical Athens
    (pp. 158-185)

    As mentioned in the previous chapter, the prosperity and cultural achievements of Athens in the mid-fifth century B.C. have led to this period being called a Golden Age in the city-state’s history. The state of the surviving ancient evidence, which consistently comes more from Athens than from other citystates, and the focus of modern popular interest in ancient Greece, which has traditionally remained on the magnificent architectural remains of Athens, have resulted in Greek history of this period being centered almost exclusively on just Athenian history. For these reasons, we really are talking mostly about Athens when we speak of...

  15. EIGHT The Peloponnesian War and Its Aftermath at Athens
    (pp. 186-220)

    Athens and Sparta had cooperated in the fight against Xerxes’ great invasion of Greece in 480–479 B.C., but by the middle of the fifth century B.C. relations between the two most powerful states of mainland Greece had deteriorated to such a point that open hostilities erupted. The peace they made in 446–465 to end these battles was supposed to endure for thirty years, but the conflicts between them in the 430s led once again to an insupportably high level of tension. The resulting Peloponnesian War lasted twenty-seven years, from 431 to 404, engulfing most of the Greek world...

  16. NINE From the Peloponnesian War to Alexander the Great
    (pp. 221-252)

    The tragic outcome of the Peloponnesian War did not stop the long-standing tendency of the prominent Greek city-states to battle for power over one other. In the fifty years following the war, Sparta, Thebes, and Athens struggled militarily to win a preeminent position over their rivals. In the end, however, they achieved nothing more than weakening themselves and creating a vacuum of power in Greece. That void was filled by the unexpected rise to military and political power of the kingdom of Macedonia during the reign of Philip II (ruled 359–336 B.C.). Philip’s reorganization of the Macedonian army saved...

  17. TEN The Hellenistic Age
    (pp. 253-280)

    The termHellenistic(“Greek-like”) was invented in the nineteenth century A.D. to designate the period of Greek and Near Eastern history from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the death of Cleopatra VII, the last Macedonian ruler of Egypt, in 30 B.C. The early Hellenistic period saw the emergence of a new form of kingship that, compounded from Macedonian and Near Eastern traditions, became the dominant political structure in the eastern Mediterranean after Alexander’s premature death. The men who founded the Hellenistic kingdoms were generals from Alexander’s forces, who made themselves into self-proclaimed monarchs although they...

  18. Epilogue The End as a Beginning
    (pp. 281-282)

    In keeping with the approach to the history of ancient Greece outlined at the start of this book, it seems appropriate to resist the temptation to offer prescriptive conclusions here at the end. For one thing, as also said in chapter ¹, Greek history does not end in the Hellenistic Age. For another, the brevity of this overview means that there has not been space to discuss the judgments that the ancient Greeks reached in evaluating their own history. It seems to me that fairness requires historians to pay attention in the first place to what people say about themselves,...

    (pp. 283-296)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 297-311)