What the Greeks did for us.
Tony Spawforth

What the Greeks did for us.

In the twenty-first century, more people going about daily life channel the ancient Greeks than ever before. They might use a Greek-derived word like “pandemic,” watch Olympic sports or a swords-and-sandal film featuring ancient Greece, play a video game with a name like “Odyssey—Assassin’s Creed,” read a historical novel about the Spartans or Alexander the Great, consciously reference ancient Greece in their attitudes to manhood, and so on. This book seeks to to track down the ways in which something as old and seemingly outdated as ancient Greece still shapes how many of us live today. It doesn’t neglect the highbrow. It tries to explain why survivals of ancient Greek culture that may seem rarefied to some people continue to be held in great esteem today, such as Homer’s poems or Athenian drama. However, it does not offer one-sided admiration. It also explores why some people today want to bring ancient Greece down a peg or two. In the nineteenth century, some Western states consciously positioned themselves as heirs to the civilisations of Greece and Rome. In today’s age of identity politics, there are communities feeling their exclusion from this grand narrative of Western civilisation. There is a dark side as well to modern uses of ancient Greece. Extreme, hard-line, views today talk up the misogyny, racism and militarism of the ancient Greeks. The book explores both the light and the shadow in an entertaining and readable style aimed at a general reader with little or no background in the subject.

Book Details:

  • Author: Tony Spawforth
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Yale University Press
Tony Spawforth

Tony Spawforth

Tony Spawforth trained as an ancient historian and archaeologist. He is a former Assistant Director of the British School of Archaeology at Athens and Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Since 2000 he has been Professor of Ancient History at Newcastle-upon-Tyne University.He is author and editor of a number of academic and reference books, including (co-edited with Simon Hornblower) the third edition of The Oxford Classical Dictionary (1996; 2003). His popular books include (with Chris Mee) Oxford Archaeological Guides: Greece (2001) and The Complete Greek Temples (Thames...
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