By John Boardman
From the epic poems of Homer to the glittering paintings and structure of Greece's Golden Age, to the influential Roman structures of legislation and management, the classical Greek international verified the principles of our tradition in addition to a lot of its so much enduring achievements. Now, during this bright quantity, readers can include the spirit of the classical global, from the 8th to the 1st centuries B.C., a interval unprecedented in heritage for its brilliance in literature, philosophy, and the visible arts. This paintings additionally treats the Hellenization of the center East by way of the monarchies validated within the sector conquered by way of Alexander the good. The editors, all celebrated classicists, intersperse chapters on political and social background with sections on literature, philosophy, and the humanities, and make stronger the ancient framework with maps and historic charts. furthermore, the contributors-thirty of the world's prime scholars-present the most recent in smooth scholarship via masterpieces of wit, brevity, and elegance. including 1000s of fine illustrations, those entries supply either a provocative and exciting window into our classical historical past.
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Additional info for The Oxford History of Greece & the Hellenistic World
However it came about, it is arguable that a generation of tyranny did more to encourage Athenians towards the three goals mentioned above, national unity, local pride, and individual dignity, than would a continuing adherence to Solonian constitutionalism. Attention was attracted to the city of Athens, not only by the fact that power now rested there, but by public works, temples, fountain-houses, even drains, which made it seem a worthy seat of power, by fostering the cult of the goddess Athena, patroness of Athens and (Pisistratus liked to claim) of Pisistratus himself, by the encouragement or creation of national festivals and games: the Panathenaea, at which (shrewd advertising) the prizes were jars of Attic olive oil; the Dionysia, where first moves were made towards one of Athens’ greatest creations, the drama.
Earlier, in Sparta, the army and its structure was at the heart of the Lycurgan revolution. To put it crudely, if there were 300 Bacchiads armed as hoplites, it needed only 301 other Corinthians similarly clad and with the added weapon of revolutionary fervour to overthrow them. The much larger numbers involved in Sparta need not yet have acquired even the measure of cohesion that Tyrtaeus implies, so long as they had enough to make themselves felt. But military change was in the main only one factor in the mechanics of revolution.
We could take as symbolic the riders on the Parthenon frieze, controlling their mounts without stirrups: their beauty is marvellous, and the absence of gear increases it, but the early medieval invention of the stirrup would transform the power of cavalry. The world of early Greece is distant from ours, far removed in space, time, and scale. Other societies have existed, in many ways equally interesting: the early civilization of China, for instance, and of India and Peru. But Greece is linked with us in ways in which those other societies, by the accident of history, are not.
The Oxford History of Greece & the Hellenistic World by John Boardman