This book looked interesting on the shelves I thought that, if nothing else, I might learn one or two things, at least, about post Mycenean, pre classical Greece, and, since the author is a philosophy prof, get her particular take on the ground zero of western philosophy.Unfortunately, whopper errors at the start and end of the book mar any good content in the middle.First, near the start, Hall talks about how small Greece is, at 25,000 square miles, smaller than Portugal or Scotland.Er, WRONG It s 50,000 square miles and bigger than both With that error occurring in the first dozen pages, my skeptical antennae were up for the rest of the book.It s much worse at the end, where a mix of errors and unsupported presuppositions are horrendous.First, she claims that there were 110,000 Christians in the year 200 CE First, we don t know the exact number of Xns Second, to the degree we have guesstimates, we don t know how many of them were inside the Roman empire.Next, she claims the gospel of Mark was written 61 CE Uhh, most New Testament scholars would date it about 5 years later I think it could have been written as late as 70 71, depending on the provenance of its origin.Finally, she repeats the old secularist canard, as did Carl Sagan, that the death of Hypatia at the hands of Christians was what led to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria Actually, the library was first sacked, if not necessarily destroyed, during the reign of Emperor Aurelian a century earlier, in battle that had nothing to do with Christians Its final destruction may not have happened until the Muslim invasion of Egypt nearly two centuries after Hypatia.Besides the errors of fact, some of Hall s interpretations of classical Greece are spotty Yes, the Greeks were great seafarers, by and large But did every city state focus on the sea that much No Sparta didn t, certainly North of Athens, on the mainland, areas like Thessaly certainly didn t.Also, on the central conundrum of some parts of ancient Greece, that of personal liberty and in yet smaller places, that of democracy, vs the ubiquity of slavery, Hall simply doesn t wrestle with the conundrum that much Without expecting classical Attica to abhor slavery as much as us, and with Stoics like Epictetus even detaching from their own slavery, nonetheless, it was a conundrum of sorts even back then The Epicurean brotherhood of man attests to that.Beyond that, classical era Greece seems too much filtered through the lens of Athens Ionia on one hand, and Sparta on the other I mentioned Thessaly above What about Corinth Or the borderlands of the northwest The lens should have a wider angle.So, look for some other relatively new book for an introductory overview of ancient Greece. Professor Hall s work does not appear to be so much a history as an intellectual history, an important subdivision of the general enterprise of history While this is a competent history of the Greeks, through to the conquest of Christianity, it does not offer any new insights There is an acknowledgement of the traditional and revisionist approaches to the ancient Greeks in this work Professor Hall does her best to navigate through these rocky shoals this they succeed at quiet well However, I was expecting of a history based upon textual and archaeological evidence and less on literary sources Although literary sources are textual, I was hoping for texts that were factual in nature historical in nature What this reader got was another, obvious, reading of the Homeric epics the Theogony Works and Days, etc Again, as an introduction this is to be expected, but there are many introductions to the Greeks out there that takes this tack does this one add anything startlingly new to this For this reader the answer is no, but that is only a personal opinion In the end, Introducing the Ancient Greeks is a competent introduction to the Greeks but not much than this Recommendation A good competent book for neophytes, but seasoned Greek enthusiasts will find nothing shocking compelling here 3 out of 5 stars Egregia Maria Grazia Carta in TurrisiAvresti mai immaginato che una tua alunna delle elementari, del biennio 58 60, di quella scuola di semiperiferia morta di fame per ataviche brutte abitudini, a cui aveva dato il colpo di grazia un dopoguerra lunghissimo, un pantano usato da alibi avresti mai immaginato dicevo che quella bambina, piagnona e rompiballe senza il senso della disciplina, avrebbe dovuto riconoscere, alla sua veneranda et , di averle plasmato la sua immagine mentale per sempre Difficile mi stato anche scegliere un aggettivo da affiancare al tuo nome in questo sfogo in forma di lettera dall aulico linguaggio come si deve a una formazione passata di moda unica eccezione il poco aulico tu Ho scartato con cipiglio carissima mai lo fosti Anzi, per dirla papale papale, ti ho odiata di odio profondo Tu mi ignoravi Al massimo un gesto di fastidio.Ma date a Cesare quel che di Cesare amavi la storia, specialmente i miti greci con i cui racconti mi affascinavi e quelli fondanti siciliani il tuo idolo era Federico II e poi le scienze in particolare il corpo umano dicevi di avere frequentato il biennio di medicina interrotto dalla guerra Vestivi di nero con maglioni a collo alto e avevi un figliolo bruttissimo, Adolfo, che pronunciavi con un certo non so che Solo due anni pi tardi appresi dalla radio, a processo Eichmann finito, che il mandante della carneficina di sei milioni di ebrei fosse stato un certo Adolfo Hitler e molto tempo dopo della devozione dei tedeschi per Federico II, sulla cui tomba non manca mai un mazzo di fiori io sono di Palermo per chi non lo sapesse Ma la frittata era fatta, altro che Freud e complesso di Edipo ho studiato medicina, ho chiamato un mio figlio Federico, ho la casa piena di libri sui miti greci, di letteratura greca e di storia greca che per me sono la stessa cosa Solo di Adolfo non ho subito il fascino Forse grazie alla Storia che di l a poco avrebbe fatto un bel giro di boa con me a bordo.E, egregia maestra, anche l acquisto di questo ennesimo libro sui greci , diciamo, opera tua Niente di nuovo, logicamente Forse solo un tentativo di dimostrare come quella civilt sia il vero fondamento della nostra e come queste fondamenta risiedano nella struttura della lingua con cui plasmavano e arricchivano, contemporaneamente, il sapere E bench a volte mi sia sembrato noioso o semplicistico, non l ho potuto lasciare fino all ultima riga Posso abbandonare un libro di cui conosco dati, cause e pretesti e, perch no, le attuali conclusioni , ma non uno che ha titolo i greci o similare.Fui un ochetta e tu il mio Lorenz madonna, quanti simpatizzanti nazisti nel mio passato. A big subject in a small book It is difficult to get everything that was important about Greeks in 300 pages but the book does a good job of giving a sketch of why we should still pay attention to the ancient Greeks The story is not revisionist and in many ways is old school about the Greeks but it is an entertaining synopsis of the highlights of Greek Culture Pleasurable See my updates for details. A great book written by a superb author although her comments on christianity made me feel like she was yelling at me through the pages My only complaint is the lack of maps illustrations, as it was extremely difficult to picture so many military campaigns in my head Her ancient literary commentary was absolutely fantastic. This book served as a good intro to the ancient Greek world I am going to read some Herodotus and Thucydides soon. A fantastically useful research teaching tool on Ancient Greece that is also immensely readableand these two characteristics don t always work in tandem I thoroughly enjoyed the concise chapters, the categories of analysis, and the smooth flowing prose style. A good book but could be better written Some odd error Augustus for Octavian at the battle of Actium. They Gave Us Democracy, Philosophy, Poetry, Rational Science, The Joke They Built The Parthenon And The Library Of Alexandria They Wrote The Timeless Myths Of Odysseus And Oedipus, And The Histories Of Leonidas S Three Hundred Spartans And Alexander The GreatBut Who Were The Ancient Greeks And What Was It That Enabled Them To Achieve So Much Here, Edith Hall Gives Us A Revelatory Way Of Viewing This Geographically Scattered People, Visiting Different Communities At Various Key Moments During Twenty Centuries Of Ancient HistoryIdentifying Ten Unique Traits Central To The Widespread Ancient Greeks, Hall Unveils A Civilization Of Incomparable Richness And A People Of Astounding Complexity And Explains How They Made Us Who We Are Today A Thoroughly Readable And Illuminating Account Of This Fascinating People This Excellent Book Makes Us Admire And Like The Ancient Greeks Equally Independent A Worthy And Lively Introduction To One Of The Two Groups Of Ancient Peoples Who Really Formed The Western World Sunday Times Throughout, Hall Exemplifies Her Subjects Spirit Of Inquiry, Their Originality And Their Open Mindedness Daily Telegraph A Book That Is Both Erudite And Splendidly Entertaining Financial Times Introducing the Ancient Greeks From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind by Edith Hall is an exceptional review of the impact of the ancient Greeks and clearly describes how these innovators gained their knowledge and scattered their culture abroad to what ultimately becomes known as the Roman Empire Hall uses ten characteristics unique to the ancient Greeks and how each of these characteristics manifest themselves, especially in literature and archaeology Hall begins the tale with the Mycenaeans who inhabited the island of Crete during the late Bronze Age and continues the narrative through the colonization of Asia Minor, the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the conquests of Macedonian and Rome With each time period, she brilliantly connects the characteristics and shows how they evolve and developed over the centuries The evidence does become rather slim after the conquests of Macedonia under Alexander the Great almost as if the characteristics become diluted, as if the characteristics became a shadowy reflection of what the ancient Greeks ultimately become. The most interesting aspects of Introducing the Ancient Greeks were the archaeology commentary The ancient Greeks left a wealth of information in their pottery, palaces, and temples, giving scholars the foundation in which to understand how the ancient Greeks lived, which only highlighted the evidence of Hall s thesis that many of the skills and ideas commonly associated with the ancient Greeks have roots in cultures that predate them. My only complaint about the book is that there is no new information or new theory being presented It is an ideal book for anyone who is new to the study of the ancient Greeks but those who have studied the culture would find that the book has nothing new to add to the history If you are really into the ancient Greeks, you will enjoy the book just to reread the philosophy and mythology who can really get tired of reading those.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind book, this is one of the most wanted Edith Hall author readers around the world.
- Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind
- Edith Hall
- 06 April 2019 Edith Hall