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The Classical World: The Foundations of the West and the Enduring Legacy of Antiquity

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A masterly investigation into the classical roots of Western civilization, taking the reader on an illuminating journey from Troy, Athens, and Sparta to Utopia, Alexandria, and Rome.

An authoritative and accessible study of the foundations, development, and enduring legacy of the cultures of Greece and Rome, centered on ten locations of seminal importance in the development of classical civilization.

Starting with Troy, where history, myth and cosmology fuse to form the origins of classical civilization, Nigel Spivey explores the contrasting politics of Athens and Sparta, the diffusion of classical ideals across the Mediterranean world, classical science and philosophy, the eastward export of Greek culture with the conquests of Alexander the Great, the power and spread of the Roman imperium, and the long Byzantine twilight of Antiquity.

From Publishers Weekly

May 30, 2016 – In this quirky, confusing, and pedantic introduction to classical history, Spivey (The Ancient Olympics) focuses on various cities of antiquity. For Spivey, classical civilization's defining unit is the city and its guiding principle is "love of humankind," or philanthropia. He examines cities such as Troy, Athens, Sparta, Rome, and Constantinople. Troy, for example, embodies the "renewable strength of civilization." Athens, often exalted for its democratic constitution, operated on a slave economy and was more oligarchy than democracy. Spivey inexplicably pauses in the middle of his survey to examine Greek and Roman philosophy, marking the teachings of certain philosophers (including Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucretius) as the high point of classical civilization, but he mistakenly calls Plato a "proto-feminist" while failing to recognize that women played a very secondary role in Plato's ideal republic. In the end, Spivey refuses to examine the role of what he calls the "rubbish" of everyday life including documents such as wills and contracts in favor of his own highly idealized view of civilization, which apparently doesn't include such "rubbish." There are numerous excellent introductory surveys of the classical world that are broad and rewarding; regrettably, this is not one of them. Agency: Head of Zeus (U.K.).
The Classical World: The Foundations of the West and the Enduring Legacy of Antiquity
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Ancient
  • Published: Jul 05, 2016
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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