Children's LiteratureAthens has often been called the birthplace of democracy, since rule by the people required adult male citizens of the 5th century to participate directly in government. The Greeks were fierce warriors and twice defeated the mighty Persian Empire. Many merchants and artisans set up stalls in a wide-open space in the middle of Athens. This agora was the heart of the city and became a gathering place for the men of Athens. Women remained at home, overseeing the training of daughters and slaves, and weaving fabric for clothing. Most people wore a loose cloth called a chiton, draped by a cloth called a himation. Athenians kept a wary eye on their clothing when they went to exercise or bathe, as these were hot items among thieves. Under the leadership of Pericles, Athenians made lasting contributions to architecture, art, literature, philosophy, government, math, and science. Later, Athens fell to the Macedonians under Alexander the Great's father, Philip. The Greeks did not restore democracy until 1974 and today it is a parliamentary republic. Present day Athens is a mix of the modern blended with the buildings and culture of the past. As part of the "Cities through Time" series, the book is filled with interesting facts, a timeline, maps, and an index, making it a valuable reference for a young historian. 2001, Runestone Press. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
School Library JournalGr 5-8-Most of this book is devoted to ancient times with sections focusing on various aspects of life, social structure, government, education, the arts, and religion, but the influence of Alexander, Roman rule, Christianity, and Athens under the Ottoman Empire brings readers into the modern period. A useful overview, with colorful illustrations depicting scenes from daily life, and a well-written, lucid text make this a readable and useful source. Unfortunately, some text overlays illustrations, making the print difficult to read. Overall, though, this will be a useful source for reports. R. Conrad Stein's Athens (Children's, 1997) doesn't have as much information or the emphasis on history, but it makes a good complement because of its many photographs and descriptions of landmarks, street scenes, and contemporary Athenians at work and play.-Cynthia M. Sturgis, Ledding Library, Milwaukie, OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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