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Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age (1990)

af Peter Green

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
322660,477 (4.36)10
The Hellenistic Age, the three extraordinary centuries from the death of Alexander in 323 B. C. to Octavian's final defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, has offered a rich and variegated field of exploration for historians, philosophers, economists, and literary critics. Yet few scholars have attempted the daunting task of seeing the period whole, of refracting its achievements and reception through the lens of a single critical mind. Alexander to Actium was conceived and written to fill that gap. In this monumental work, Peter Green--noted scholar, writer, and critic--breaks with the traditional practice of dividing the Hellenistic world into discrete, repetitious studies of Seleucids, Ptolemies, Antigonids, and Attalids. He instead treats these successor kingdoms as a single, evolving, interrelated continuum. The result clarifies the political picture as never before. With the help of over 200 illustrations, Green surveys every significant aspect of Hellenistic cultural development, from mathematics to medicine, from philosophy to religion, from literature to the visual arts. Green offers a particularly trenchant analysis of what has been seen as the conscious dissemination in the East of Hellenistic culture, and finds it largely a myth fueled by Victorian scholars seeking justification for a no longer morally respectable imperialism. His work leaves us with a final impression of the Hellenistic Age as a world with haunting and disturbing resemblances to our own. This lively, personal survey of a period as colorful as it is complex will fascinate the general reader no less than students and scholars.… (mere)
Nyligt tilføjet afprivat bibliotek, tally.bookman, dhmontgomery, Inthrylius, Buchvogel, Steve_Walker, Kyle_Foster, euthyphro1
Efterladte bibliotekerTim Spalding
  1. 00
    The Hellenistic world af F. W. Walbank (timspalding)
    timspalding: These two books go together very well, with some overlap in content.
  2. 00
    Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography af Peter Green (timspalding)
    timspalding: Green's history of Alexander has somewhat less scholarly apparatus, but a stronger narrative.
  3. 00
    Hellenistic culture: fusion and diffusion af Moses Hadas (timspalding)
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A dense, informative look at the Hellenistic period — one I'd argue is often ignored in Western history classes. We learn about the Greeks and the Persians, about Athens and Sparta, and Alexander's conquests, but then skip forward to the rise of Rome. I knew bits and pieces about this period, but this very comprehensive book has really filled in the gaps.

It doesn't just tackle the straight history of battles and kings, although that's there. Just as much if not more of the book is devoted to the history of Hellenistic art and literature, while other segments throughout focus on science, architecture and philosophy.

The most striking thing about this book to me is that it's so long, dense and thoroughly researched when the author appears to dislike everything about the period. I'm sure that's not actually the case, but he is thoroughly critical of just about every aspect of the age: the behavior of its elites, its trends in art and literature, the general lack of progress, the hypocrisy, the religions and philosophies, etc. Even the rare undisputed triumphs of the age, such as medical breakthroughs in Alexandria or a few of Alexander's more talented generals, are dismissed as exceptions to the general rule of stagnation and decadence. And the thing is, I'm not sure he's wrong. But it was striking.

And this period is an important period of history. Despite Green's criticisms, the Hellenistic Age had a huge impact for centuries to come. Its Stoic and Epicurean philosophies, its advances in medicine, astronomy and other sciences, its architecture (the Seven Wonders of the World are almost all from this era), its military innovations, its impact on ancient Judaism, and generally speaking the cultural prestige of the Hellenistic era all profoundly influenced Rome and, at greater remove, our own culture.

If you're interested in filling in the gaps in a thorough way, this book will do it, though it's dense and perhaps — to my tastes anyway — overdetailed on art and literature. For a breezier look, the same author wrote a much shorter survey of the period, though I have not read it and cannot comment on its quality. ( )
1 stem dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
A massive tome and comprehensive examination of history, culture and philosophy during the Hellenistic era. Alexander was barely cold before his successors began the struggle over ruler ship of his empire. The Greek city-states had resurgent ambitions for independence, repeatedly thwarted. Eventually the civic character of the Greeks turned inward and men of ability concentrated on private riches rather than political ambition. In Egypt, the Ptolemies maintained a basically Greek ruler-ship with little contact with or appreciation of the Egyptian culture. Egypt was simply a rich place to rob. One does wonder about the private lives of some of the rulers--especially the women--married to an uncle as he seizes the throne, divorced and married to a brother who has overthrown the uncle, then remarried to the uncle when he manages a comeback. Whole new shades of meaning to "honey, I'm home." An interesting read and an impressive accomplishment. I would hate to be tested on it. So many rulers, so few names.
  ritaer | Sep 3, 2017 |
I had a wonderful time with this book! The Hellenistic period is often scanted, with authors jumping from the death of Alexander directly to the Rise of Rome. A lot went on in the Eastern Mediterranean and points east while the romans laboriously put their method and their state together. for the bulk of the middle Sea's population, the doings of the Ptolemies of Egypt was more important than the Punic Wars. I am glad that this book exists to educate the casual reader in the proportion with with the period should be seen. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 21, 2013 |
This book presents a fantastically broad overview of the Hellenistic age, including political developments, social and economic history, science, philosophy, art etc. And it's very well written, too. Anyone interested in the Hellenistic age should start with this book.
  thcson | Aug 25, 2010 |
Sholarly, a little heavy but eminently readable. This covers the age of Hellenism from the Death of Alexander (323 BCE) to the battle of Actium which ended the Roman Republic in 31 BCE. 240 pages of notes and chronology, lots of B&W pictures. ( )
  patito-de-hule | Dec 20, 2008 |
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Dis Manibus
F. E. Adcock
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with gratitude for much wisdom freely shared, and in affectionate memory
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Preface and Acknowledgments -- The Hellenistic age has one great advantage for us: it is easily definable.
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The Hellenistic Age, the three extraordinary centuries from the death of Alexander in 323 B. C. to Octavian's final defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, has offered a rich and variegated field of exploration for historians, philosophers, economists, and literary critics. Yet few scholars have attempted the daunting task of seeing the period whole, of refracting its achievements and reception through the lens of a single critical mind. Alexander to Actium was conceived and written to fill that gap. In this monumental work, Peter Green--noted scholar, writer, and critic--breaks with the traditional practice of dividing the Hellenistic world into discrete, repetitious studies of Seleucids, Ptolemies, Antigonids, and Attalids. He instead treats these successor kingdoms as a single, evolving, interrelated continuum. The result clarifies the political picture as never before. With the help of over 200 illustrations, Green surveys every significant aspect of Hellenistic cultural development, from mathematics to medicine, from philosophy to religion, from literature to the visual arts. Green offers a particularly trenchant analysis of what has been seen as the conscious dissemination in the East of Hellenistic culture, and finds it largely a myth fueled by Victorian scholars seeking justification for a no longer morally respectable imperialism. His work leaves us with a final impression of the Hellenistic Age as a world with haunting and disturbing resemblances to our own. This lively, personal survey of a period as colorful as it is complex will fascinate the general reader no less than students and scholars.

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