Genre = History, Empires
A history book of ancient Greece told mainly through art. Art found in the growth of cities, development of political units, authoritarianism, democracy, and back to authoritarianism. Much like every early people, the environment shaped the way Greek society evolved. As the Greeks became masters of their environment, their god’s lost prominence as their omnipotence was less needed. When they could not economically support the populous within their borders, the cities started to trade with others or conquered colonies to provide the needed resources.
Different philosophies and explanations were welcome as they competed on merit rather than theological expressions. Reason became a prominent factor as it allowed people to conquer nature. The rise of political offices gave rise to who should take office. Experimentation with voting in members on a temporary basis, while those who were favored but not voted in were considered tyrants. Problems within the democratic decision making created the catalysts to many tyrants. When a centralized tyrant divided the lands and tribes, the new tribes created a council which became the de facto governing body brining with it a matured democracy. The wars with Persians were the impetus for centralized governing body which brought back authoritarian rule.
The book is generally well written but with poor transitions between ideas. Being a concise history means that many ideas are given only a brief explanation. Although Greek culture and philosophy did and does influence much of the world, the author avoids referencing external cultural influences that Greece had thereby continuing many myths of Greek originality and superiority during those times. Events and actions done by the Greeks is mainly seen only in positive and beneficiary terminology, while the costs of those events and actions are neglected.
Pages to read: 164
- Readability 4
- Content 2
- Overall 3