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  • Published: 2 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9781448161621
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

Introducing the Ancient Greeks



Edith Hall unpacks the mysterious and successful ancient Greek people through ten uniquely ancient Greek personality traits.

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 Great. But 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 history.

Identifying 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

  • Published: 2 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9781448161621
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Edith Hall

Edith Hall is one of Britain’s foremost classicists, having held posts at the universities of Royal Holloway, Cambridge, Durham, Reading, and Oxford. In 2015 she was awarded the Erasmus Medal of the European Academy, given to a scholar whose works represent a significant contribution to European culture and scientific achievement. She is the first woman to win this award.

Hall regularly writes in the Times Literary Supplement, reviews theatre productions on radio, and has written and edited more than a dozen works on the ancient world, including Introducing the Ancient Greeks. She teaches at King’s College London and lives in Gloucestershire.

Also by Edith Hall

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Praise for Introducing the Ancient Greeks

Terrifically good

Natalie Haynes, Observer

Hall examines in scholarly but very readable detail.

Simon Shaw, Mail on Sunday

Hall’s superb history achieves her aim with a happy marrying of literature and archaeology.

Lesley McDowell, Independent

[Hall] provides a thoroughly readable and illuminating account of this fascinating people… This excellent book makes us admire and like the ancient Greeks equally

John Davie, Independent

If you’re interested in their history then it is worth reading, and I think even those with some knowledge of the Greeks would learn something from this book.

Judith Griffith, Nudge

A worthy and lively introduction to one of the two groups of ancient peoples who really formed the western world

Christopher Hart, Sunday Times

This new tome serves as a fantastic general introduction

Big Issue

Edith Hall has a brilliant ability to intellectually analyse the Greeks… because of deep, searching curiosity, and her sense of how this culture reflects upon our moment now. Her writing is so clear and accessible… full of complex reflections and revelations

Ian Rickson

Wide-ranging and endlessly fascinating… It is a fitting tribute to history that ought to be preserved… because it would, at the very least, enrich our conversation and range of comparison with events today

Daisy Dunn, Standpoint

This crisp little book is also worth reading for Hall’s elegant prose

Suzi Feay, Financial Times

Throughout, Hall exemplifies her subjects’ spirit of inquiry, their originality and their open-mindedness… And in doing that…she reminds us of how civilizing and humanizing a study of the ancients can be

Daily Telegraph

A fascinating read, delightfully illustrated with unusual and exquisite drawings

Michael Scott, BBC History Magazine

Groundbreaking ... acutely identifies and brilliantly explores ten defining qualities that together explain why we simply cannot do without the ancient Greeks

Professor Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge

21st-century readers eager to understand the glorious contributions of the ancient Greeks have their own ideal escort in Edith Hall

Adrienne Mayor, Literary Review

An intriguing and rewarding journey through 2000 years of Greek history

Good Book Guide

A book that is both erudite and splendidly entertaining

Tony Barber, Financial Times

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