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The Greeks: History, Culture, and Society (2nd Edition)

The Greeks: History, Culture, and Society (2nd Edition)

This book is a comprehensive and engaging introduction to the ancient civilization of Greece, covering its history, culture, and society from the prehistoric times to the Roman conquest. It is written by two renowned scholars of classics, Ian Morris and Barry B. Powell, who combine their expertise in archaeology, history, literature, and art to present a vivid and balanced picture of Greek life and achievements.

The book is organized chronologically, following the main events and developments of Greek history from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period. Each chapter features sections on the art, architecture, literature, and thought of each period, as well as maps, timelines, illustrations, and boxes that highlight important topics and figures. The book also includes a glossary of Greek terms, a list of suggested readings, and a comprehensive index.

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The Greeks: History, Culture, and Society (2nd Edition) is an ideal textbook for undergraduate courses on ancient Greece, as well as a fascinating and accessible read for anyone interested in learning more about the origins and legacy of one of the most influential civilizations in human history.The ancient Greeks not only left a lasting legacy through their political achievements and cultural innovations, but also made significant contributions to various fields of knowledge, such as science, mathematics, philosophy, literature, art, and sports. Some of the most remarkable achievements and inventions of the ancient Greeks are:

  • Democracy: The ancient Greeks are widely regarded as the originators of democracy, a form of government in which the people have the power to make decisions on matters that affect them. The first democracy was established in Athens in the late 6th century BCE, under the reforms of Cleisthenes, who divided the citizens into 10 tribes and created a council of 500 to propose laws and a popular assembly to vote on them. Although Athenian democracy was not perfect and excluded women, slaves, and foreigners, it was a radical experiment that inspired later generations of democratic thinkers and activists.

  • Science: The ancient Greeks made many discoveries and inventions in various branches of science, such as astronomy, geography, biology, physics, chemistry, and medicine. They observed and explained natural phenomena using reason and logic, rather than myths and superstitions. Some of the most famous Greek scientists include Thales, Pythagoras, Anaximander, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, Eratosthenes, and Ptolemy. They developed theories and methods that laid the foundations for modern scientific inquiry and knowledge.

  • Mathematics: The ancient Greeks were pioneers in mathematics, developing concepts and techniques that are still used today. They invented the system of geometry, based on axioms, definitions, theorems, and proofs. They also studied arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, number theory, and calculus. Some of the most influential Greek mathematicians include Pythagoras, who discovered the famous theorem relating the sides of a right triangle; Euclid, who wrote the Elements , a comprehensive treatise on geometry; Archimedes, who calculated the value of pi and the area of a circle; and Diophantus , who is considered the father of algebra.

  • Philosophy: The ancient Greeks were also the founders of philosophy , which means "love of wisdom" in Greek. They explored fundamental questions about the nature of reality , knowledge , morality , beauty , and human existence . They developed schools of thought that influenced later philosophers and thinkers from different cultures and times. Some of the most prominent Greek philosophers include Socrates , who taught by asking questions and challenging assumptions; Plato , who wrote dialogues on various topics and founded the Academy ; Aristotle , who wrote extensively on logic , metaphysics , ethics , politics , and many other subjects; and Epicurus , who advocated a life of pleasure and happiness.

  • Literature: The ancient Greeks produced some of the most enduring and influential works of literature in history. They invented genres such as epic poetry , lyric poetry , tragedy , comedy , history , biography , and rhetoric . They also created myths and legends that expressed their religious beliefs and cultural values . Some of the most celebrated Greek writers include Homer , who composed the Iliad and the Odyssey , two epic poems about the Trojan War ; Hesiod , who wrote the Theogony and the Works and Days , two poems about the origin of the gods and human life ; Aeschylus , Sophocles , and Euripides , who wrote tragedies that dramatized human conflicts and emotions ; Aristophanes , who wrote comedies that satirized social and political issues ; Herodotus and Thucydides , who wrote histories that recorded past events and analyzed their causes ; Plutarch , who wrote biographies that compared famous Greeks and Romans ; and Demosthenes , who wrote speeches that persuaded audiences on various topics.

Art: The ancient Greeks were also masters of art , creating works that expressed their ideals of beauty , harmony , proportion , balance , realism , and emotion . They excelled in various forms of art , such as sculpture , painting , pottery , architecture , mosaic , jewelry , and coinage . Some of the most notable examples of Greek art include the Parthenon , a temple dedicated to Athena on the Acropolis of Athens ; the statues of Zeus at Olympia and Athena at Parthenos , two colossal statues that were among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World ; the sculptures of Phidias , Praxiteles , Myron , Lysippos , Scopas , 29c81ba772


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