The World of Odysseusby M.I. Finley
Pub. Date: 09/28/2002
Publisher: New York Review Books
The World of Odysseus is a concise and penetrating account of the society that gave birth to the Iliad and the Odyssey--a book that provides a vivid picture of the Greek Dark Ages, its men and women, works and days, morals and values. Long celebrated as a pathbreaking achievement in the social history of the ancient world, M.I. Finley's brilliant study remains, as classicist Bernard Knox notes in his introduction to this new edition, "as indispensable to the professional as it is accessible to the general reader"--a fundamental companion for students of Homer and Homeric Greece.
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I've assigned this book to Ancient Civ. students since ever I've been teaching. It's a book that caught my own interest in Mycenaean and Dark Age Greece twenty years ago, and it's invaluable-- gracefully and powerfully written, and done by one of the finest (if sometimes idiosyncratic) ancient historians of our day. It needs to be read alongside good translations of Homer...and given to anyone who enthuses a bit much about the film 'Troy'.