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The Classical World: An Epic History From Homer...



Robin Lane Fox's spellbinding history spans almost a thousand years of change, from the foundation of the world's first democracy to the Roman Republic and the empire under Hadrian. A good, tight copy.




The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer...



The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome dominated the world for centuries and continue to intrigue and enlighten us with their inventions, whether philosophy, politics, theatre, athletics, celebrity, science or the pleasures of horse racing. Robin Lane Fox's spellbinding history, spans almost a thousand years of change from the foundation of the world's first democracy in Athens to the Roman Republic and the Empire under Hadrian.


Robin Lane Fox is Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford, and taught Ancient History at Oxford University from 1977 to 2014. He is the author of Pagans and Christians (1986), The Unauthorized Version (1992) and many books on classical history, all of which have been widely translated, including Alexander the Great (1973), The Classical World (2005), Travelling Heroes (2008) and Augustine: Conversions to Confessions (2015) which won the Wolfson Prize for History. He has been the gardening correspondent of the Financial Times since 1970.


Ranging from the year of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC to the fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476, this dictionary contains over 2000 entries providing a reference guide to the ancient Greco-Roman world. It includes entries on personalities, events, politics, literature, art and society.ExploreBooks like The Penguin Dictionary of Ancient HistoryBook lists with this bookWhy do people like this book?TopicsAncient historyRomeAthensGenresComing soon!PreviewBookshop.orgAmazonLove, Sex and Tragedy: Why Classics MatterBySimon Goldhill,


Simon Goldhill powerfully demonstrates why we remain indebted to the ancient world in so many ways. It is not just that classical columns often decorate our buildings or that classical legends inspire our films and books, our whole life still bears the cultural and psychological imprint of ancient Greece and Rome. Our current obsession with gyms, for example, stems from the Greek passion for exercising in public (and they did so naked). Gymnasium is in origin a Greek word. While Greeks and Romans took different views from us on numerous things, from romantic love to slavery, the issues they first confronted and debated still matter. Unsurprisingly for the ancient world, far from being peopled with dead white marble statues gathering dust in museums, throbbed with impassioned life. The echoes of their tumultuous lives haunt us still.


The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome dominated the world for centuries and continue to intrigue and enlighten us with their inventions, whether philosophy, politics, theatre, athletics, celebrity, science or the pleasures of horse racing. Robin Lane Fox's spellbinding history spans almost a thousand years of change, from the foundation of the world's first democracy in Athens to the Roman Republic and the Empire under Hadrian. Bringing great figures such as Homer, Socrates, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Augustus and the first Christian martyrs to life, exploring freedom, justice and luxury, this wonderfully exciting tour brings the turbulent histories of Greece and Rome together in a masterly study.


The question of by whom, when, where and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed continues to be debated. It is generally accepted that the two works were written by different authors.[12] It is thought that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC.[12]Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity; the most widespread account was that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary.[13]


In 1664, contradicting the widespread praise of Homer as the epitome of wisdom, François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac wrote a scathing attack on the Homeric poems, declaring that they were incoherent, immoral, tasteless, and without style, that Homer never existed, and that the poems were hastily cobbled together by incompetent editors from unrelated oral songs.[24] Fifty years later, the English scholar Richard Bentley concluded that Homer did exist, but that he was an obscure, prehistoric oral poet whose compositions bear little relation to the Iliad and the Odyssey as they have been passed down.[24] According to Bentley, Homer "wrote a Sequel of Songs and Rhapsodies, to be sung by himself for small Earnings and good Cheer at Festivals and other Days of Merriment; the Ilias he wrote for men, and the Odysseis for the other Sex. These loose songs were not collected together in the Form of an epic Poem till Pisistratus' time, about 500 Years after."[24]


Meanwhile, the 'Neoanalysts' sought to bridge the gap between the 'Analysts' and 'Unitarians'.[33][34] The Neoanalysts sought to trace the relationships between the Homeric poems and other epic poems, which have now been lost, but of which modern scholars do possess some patchy knowledge.[24] Neoanalysts hold that knowledge of earlier versions of the epics can be derived from anomalies of structure and detail in the surviving versions of the Iliad and Odyssey. These anomalies point to earlier versions of the Iliad in which Ajax played a more prominent role, in which the Achaean embassy to Achilles comprised different characters, and in which Patroclus was actually mistaken for Achilles by the Trojans. They point to earlier versions of the Odyssey in which Telemachus went in search of news of his father not to Menelaus in Sparta but to Idomeneus in Crete, in which Telemachus met up with his father in Crete and conspired with him to return to Ithaca disguised as the soothsayer Theoclymenus, and in which Penelope recognized Odysseus much earlier in the narrative and conspired with him in the destruction of the suitors.[35]


The Homeric epics are written in an artificial literary language or 'Kunstsprache' only used in epic hexameter poetry. Homeric Greek shows features of multiple regional Greek dialects and periods, but is fundamentally based on Ionic Greek, in keeping with the tradition that Homer was from Ionia. Linguistic analysis suggests that the Iliad was composed slightly before the Odyssey, and that Homeric formulae preserve older features than other parts of the poems.[59][60]


Lane Fox also writes widely on the classical world and on early Christianity and related topics. In Pagans and Christians, he delves deeply into the beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets of early practitioners of Christianity and the pagans who predated and coexisted with them. Rather than dwell on the thoughts and writings of known Christian thinkers and writers, "Fox is far more interested in the attitudes of peasants and merchants," offering thorough analysis of "Christian and pagan attitudes toward death, the state, marriage, and the weather," commented James Gardner in the National Review. Lane Fox explores not only the age of transition from paganism to Christianity, but its effects on the people who lived during that time. Gardner called the book "a sober, sedate inquiry into the state of humanity during a period of transformation so slow as to be imperceptible except from a distance of centuries."


With The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian, Lane Fox offers a study that focuses on ancient concepts of justice, freedom, and luxury, particularly as they were conceived and practiced in Athens and Rome. He provides "insightful passages on art, religion, technology, marriage, and the prominent role of homosexuality in classical culture," commented a Publishers Weekly critic. He looks at a time period from roughly the eighth century B.C.E. to the second century C.E., before Christianity became firmly established. In assessing The Classical World, Booklist reviewer Jay Freeman called Lane Fox a "masterful writer whose elegant but highly readable prose offers an evolving portrait of Greek and Roman culture." Reviewer Peter Heather, writing in the London Times, remarked: "This is a highly informative and hugely entertaining book. Its chapters provide an excellent introduction to almost every area of ancient history, and the further reading at the back is an excellent guide on where to go next." Lane Fox, Heather concluded, "has given us a magnificent, panoramic introduction to the ancient world."


Epic poetry has been a part of literature from the beginning, as the following selection of ten of the greatest epic poems demonstrate. Spanning nearly four millennia, each of these classic works of epic poetry tell us something about the human condition, the struggle to overcome the dark forces of the world, and the nature of heroism. 041b061a72


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