A Culture of Freedom: Ancient Greece and the Origins of Europe

A Culture of Freedom: Ancient Greece and the Origins of Europe

by Christian Meier, Kurt Raaflaub
     
 

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Christian Meier is one of Europe's preeminent authorities on the classical world. A Culture of Freedom marks the apex of his lifelong research on ancient Greek culture. Beginning with a section on medieval and modern Europe's enormous inheritance of Greek institutions and ideas, the book moves on to chronicle the rise of Greek civilization from the Bronze Age to

Overview

Christian Meier is one of Europe's preeminent authorities on the classical world. A Culture of Freedom marks the apex of his lifelong research on ancient Greek culture. Beginning with a section on medieval and modern Europe's enormous inheritance of Greek institutions and ideas, the book moves on to chronicle the rise of Greek civilization from the Bronze Age to the Greco-Persian wars. Throughout, the author provides fresh insight into the "Greek miracle," as he illuminates the well-known features of Greek culture—from epic and lyric poetry to warfare, athletics, philosophy, religion, and democracy. What made these achievements possible and so enduring? Meier argues that across the whole range of human experience—in politics and philosophy no less than in war, sport, and religion—there was one common denominator among the ancient Greeks: an attempt to find compromise, balance, and understanding in the face of problems others usually solved by means of power. A Culture of Freedom is an original and learned portrait of a civilization that still captivates and inspires.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Christian Meier is one of the most celebrated ancient historians writing today."—Times Higher Education Supplement

The book consists of two major parts. The first one explores the origins of the concept of Europe. Meier shows how modern western civilization is both based on and separate from that of Greco-Roman antiquity.... Part 2... covers the development of Greek civilization from the collapse of the Mycenaean state-system around 1200 BCE down to the wars against the Persians in the early fifth century BCE.... Meier is probably the single most distinguished ancient historian in Germany.... This is a beautifully written book that manages to meld different aspects of Greek history and civilization into a coherent narrative. The main strength is the seemingly effortless fusion of political, cultural, and social history....The volume addresses a general audience with no prior knowledge of Greek history but is so well-crafted and insightful that it should also be of interest to students and academics.—Walter Scheidel, Professor of Classics, Stanford University

"Meier reminds us of the huge debt that Europe owes to the Greeks - a painfully ironic message at a time when modern Greece, unable to pay its debts, contemplates an exit from the European Union"—The Wall Street Journal

"A wide-sweeping argument that locates an essential aspect of European culture in the distinctiveness of ancient Greece from the other large empires found both before and after it." —Philosophy in Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199747405
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
11/02/2011
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Christian Meier, Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Munich, is the author of Caesar: A Biography, Athens: A Portrait of the City in Its Golden Age, and From Athens to Auschwitz: The Uses of History.

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