The story of the Athenian Golden Age by one of the world's pre-eminent classical historians.
The Golden Age of ancient Greek city-state civilization lasted from 490 to 336 BC, the period between the first wars against Persia and Carthage and the accession of Alexander the Great. Never has there been such a multiplication of talents and genius within so limited a period and Michael Grant captures this astonishing civilization at the height of its powers.
Grant blows the dust off our time-worn images of the classical Greeks. He comments on the playwright Euripides: ``His characters have become all too familiar to modern psychologists.'' And on Herodotus: ``Viewed as a writer, not as a historian, he is nothing short of a genius.'' This is no ordinary chronicle. Grant avoids overemphasis on the Greek mainland (and on Athens in particular), giving us instead the cultural contributions of a medley of city-states in the Greek empire. Then too, he believes that the Greeks' major achievements ``were mainly the work of less than 40 outstanding men.'' Some of these are readily familiar--Socrates, Aristophanes, etc.--others less so, like Archytas of Taras, who combined in one person the roles of general, political leader, mathematician, Pythagorean philosopher and student of acoustics. This wonderfully readable history falls chronologically between Grant's The Rise of the Greeks and From Alexander to Cleopatra. Illustrated.