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A History of Ancient Greece in Fifty Lives


David Stuttard

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The first book to tell the Greek story through the interconnecting lives of those who shaped its politics and literature, its science and philosophy, its art and sport

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The politicians, writers, artists and philosophers of ancient Greece turned a small group of city states into a civilization whose legacy can be found everywhere today. But who were these people, what do we know of their lives and how did they interact with one another? This original new approach to telling the history of Greece weaves together the lives of the movers and shakers of the Greek world into a highly enjoyable narrative, from the early tyrants, through the stirrings of democracy to the emergence of Macedon under Philip II and Alexander the Great and the eventual decline of the Greek world with the rise of Rome.

A History of Ancient Greece in Fifty Lives creates a vivid picture of life in all arenas of the ancient Greek world, moving from Sicily to Afghanistan, and from Macedonia to Alexandria; delving into the worlds of mathematics and geography, rhetoric and historiography, painting and sculpture; exploring the accounts of historians and mystics, poets and dramatists, political commentators and philosophers.

As well as the most famous politicians and writers, including the Athenian statesman Pericles, the Spartan general Leonidas, the philosopher Plato and the scientist Archimedes, the reader will meet less well-known figures such as Milo, the Olympic wrestler; Aspasia, the brilliant female intellectual, who taught rhetoric to Socrates; Zeuxis, the painter who invented trompe l’oeil; and Epaminondas, the Theban who taught tactics to Philip of Macedon and so destroyed his own city.

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'A few great men operating in isolation – too often this is the way ancient Greece is described to us. Stuttard puts the very greatest into their historical, political and cultural contexts and coaxes some of the lesser known centre stage'
Bettany Hughes, author of Helen of Troy

Further Details


Format: Hardback

Size: 23.4 x 15.6 cm

Extent: 288 pp

Illustrations: 78

Publication date: 8 September 2014

ISBN: 9780500252055

Contents List

Introduction • 1. Of Gods and Heroes; 2. The Age of Tyrants; 3. Greece in Peril; 4. The Age of Pericles; 5. World War; 6. Fall Out; 7. The Age of the Dynasts; 8. In the Shadow of Rome; 9. Lives in a Mirror

About the Author

David Stuttard taught Classics for eleven years in Edinburgh, St Andrews and York, and has written numerous books on the Classical world including Greek Mythology: A Traveller’s Guide from Mount Olympus to Troy, A History of Ancient Greece in Fifty Lives and The Romans Who Shaped Britain (with Sam Moorhead), all published by Thames & Hudson. He is the founder of the theatre company Actors of Dionysus and a Fellow of Goodenough College, London.