A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization

Overview


The ancient Greeks were a wonderful people. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and many forms of art and branches of science would be inconceivable without their influence. And yet, they were capable of the most outlandish behavior, preposterous beliefs, and ludicrous opinions.

Like its companion volume, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities, this is an uproarious miscellany of odd stories and facts, culled from a lifetime of teaching ancient Greek civilization. In some ...

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A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization

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Overview


The ancient Greeks were a wonderful people. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and many forms of art and branches of science would be inconceivable without their influence. And yet, they were capable of the most outlandish behavior, preposterous beliefs, and ludicrous opinions.

Like its companion volume, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities, this is an uproarious miscellany of odd stories and facts, culled from a lifetime of teaching ancient Greek civilization. In some ways, the book demonstrates how much the Greeks were like us. Politicians were regarded as shallow and self-serving; overweight people resorted to implausible diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their children by riding around on a stick pretending it was a horse. Of course, their differences from us are abundantly documented too and the book may leave readers with a few incredulous questions. To ward off evil, were scapegoats thrown down from cliffs, though fitted out with feathers and live birds to give them a sporting chance of survival? Did a werewolf really win the boxing event at the Olympic Games? Were prisoners released on bail so that they could enjoy dramatic festivals? Did anyone really believe that Pythagoras flew about on a magic arrow? Other such mysteries abound in this quirky and richly illustrated journey into the "glory that was Greece."

"The loveliest thing on the black earth."
Sappho of Lesbos

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"Meticulously written, a must for every library."
Ptolemy of Alexandria

"Unputdownable."
Atlas the Titan

"Fantastic! Incredible!"
Cassandra, priestess of Apollo

"The ideal gift."
Laocoon of Troy

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Callimachus of Cyrene

"I find something new every time I dip in."
Archimedes of Syracuse

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The selections are, on the whole, intriguing and often delightful... A Classicist will find much to use, and as a gift to a friend who wonders how the ancients can hold our fascination so thoroughly, this cabinet will surely inform and charm the recipient." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199982103
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/29/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 934,499
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

J. C. McKeown is Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, coeditor of the Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature, and author of Classical Latin: An Introductory Course and A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities.

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Table of Contents

Preface
CHAPTER 1 Food and Drink
CHAPTER 2 Children and Education
CHAPTER 3 Women
CHAPTER 4 Sex
CHAPTER 5 Animals
CHAPTER 6 Athens
CHAPTER 7 Sparta
CHAPTER 8 Alexander the Great
CHAPTER 9 Greeks at Sea
CHAPTER 10 Greeks and Barbarians
CHAPTER 11 Athletics
CHAPTER 12 Homer
CHAPTER 13 Drama
CHAPTER 14 Spectators and Critics
CHAPTER 15 Books and Papyri
CHAPTER 16 Philosophers
CHAPTER 17 Mathematics
CHAPTER 18 Science and Technology
CHAPTER 19 Art
CHAPTER 20 Tourists and Tourist Attractions
CHAPTER 21 Religion, Superstition, and Magic
CHAPTER 22 Prophecy
CHAPTER 23 Words and Expressions
CHAPTER 24 The Soros
Glossary
The Coin Images
Illustration Credits

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