Ancient Greece (Pocket Essential series)
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Western civilization began with the Greeks. From the highpoint of the 5th century BC through the cultural triumphs of the Alexandrian era to their impact on the developing Roman empire, the Greeks shaped the philosophy, art, architecture, and literature of the Mediterranean world. Beginning with the Homeric period, once believed to be a realm of myth, Paine takes the reader on a journey through more than 12 centuries of Greek culture. He shows what archaeologists have revealed of the Trojan Wars and Mycenae, outlines the glories of Athens at its height, and provides a gripping narrative of the struggle between the Greeks and the mighty Persian empire. The guide also highlights the careers of great political and military leaders, such as Pericles and Alexander the Great, and explores the importance of great philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle. Dramatists and demagogues, stoics and epicureans, aristocrats and helots all take their place in the unfolding story of Greek achievement.
was the man more closely identified with the golden age of Athens than any other – Pericles. Cimon's fall from grace was confirmed by his ostracism in 461 BC. Increased tension between Sparta and Athens had made Cimon's panhellenic views too pro Spartan for the public's taste. Pericles was an aristocrat, related to Cleisthenes on his mother's side, but more importantly he was a democrat and a nationalist. He was an impressive speaker, a clever politician, and a man on a mission to make Athens
territory, the Anabasis, that he is chiefly remembered. Athens was thus the cultural centre of the world. Among its inhabitants were some of the greatest thinkers, writers and artists. The most beautiful buildings and sculptures filled its streets. It was the richest of city-states, the most powerful among the Greeks, the leader of a confederation that had defeated the great Persian army. And politically it was the most advanced democracy of its day. Sparta was to dissolve this dream of an ideal
yoke in 369 BC. Within a two-year period both of these inspirational leaders were killed in battle and with them went Theban supremacy. For a brief time Caria in Asia Minor became the centre of attention under its cunning and wealthy leader Mausolus. Athens futilely tried to step into Thebes' empty shoes. Mausolus's plotting induced a number of islands, members of the Second Athenian League, to revolt. Athens sent a fleet under its general Chares, and the brief Social War (357–355 BC) began.
sizeable funds to hire a mercenary force large enough to repel the Thebans. After Phocis sought to further bolster its position with a treaty with the Thessalian city of Pherae, another city of Thessaly, Larissa, sought to safeguard its position in turn by calling in support from Macedonia. Philip came down with his army. After one unexpected defeat he quickly availed himself of the opportunity to conquer all of Thessaly, adding its military resources to his own. Only a force of Athenians at the
periods kingship returned in many poleis in the form of tyrants who were generally members of the aristocracy who enjoyed popular support – tyranny had none of the modern negative connotations at that time. However popular a tyrant may have been (the sixth century rule of Athens by Pisistratus – later followed by his sons Hippias and Hipparchus – was considered exemplary by many, including the Athenian historian Thucydides) the general trend was towards oligarchy. Just as the political roles of