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The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece (The Princeton History of the Ancient World)

By Josiah Ober

Lord Byron defined Greece as nice, fallen, and immortal, a characterization extra apt than he knew. via so much of its lengthy historical past, Greece used to be bad. yet within the classical period, Greece used to be densely populated and hugely urbanized. Many unusually fit Greeks lived in remarkably massive homes and labored for prime wages at really good occupations. Middle-class spending drove sustained financial development and classical wealth produced a beautiful cultural efflorescence lasting enormous quantities of years.

Why did Greece achieve such heights within the classical period--and why in simple terms then? and the way, after "the Greek miracle" had persevered for hundreds of years, did the Macedonians defeat the Greeks, doubtless bringing an finish to their glory? Drawing on an enormous physique of newly to be had facts and using novel ways to proof, Josiah Ober deals an important new background of classical Greece and an unparalleled account of its upward push and fall.

Ober argues that Greece's upward thrust was once no miracle yet really the results of political breakthroughs and financial improvement. the extreme emergence of citizen-centered city-states remodeled Greece right into a society that defeated the powerful Persian Empire. but Philip and Alexander of Macedon have been in a position to beat the Greeks within the conflict of Chaeronea in 338 BCE, a victory made attainable through the Macedonians' appropriation of Greek ideas. After Alexander's demise, battle-hardened warlords fought ruthlessly over the remnants of his empire. yet Greek towns remained populous and prosperous, their economic system and tradition surviving to be handed directly to the Romans--and to us.

A compelling narrative jam-packed with uncanny glossy parallels, this can be a ebook for someone drawn to how nice civilizations are born and die.

This booklet relies on proof on hand on a brand new interactive web site. to profit extra, please stopover at: http://polis.stanford.edu/.

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But when we're drawn to the conjunction of political and monetary exceptionalism, we needs to begin someplace, and classical Greece used to be the society during which the wealth-­and-­democracy package deal first emerged in a kind that may be studied intensive. Classical Greece was once now not a country or a country; it used to be an in depth social ecology of many self sufficient city-­states with citizen-­centered governments. whereas the Greeks by no means totally formulated the concept that of human rights, they did strengthen the fundamental democratic values of liberty, political equality, and civic dignity. The Greeks experimented effectively with federalism. a few Greek states practiced the guideline of legislations, and a few went some distance towards starting entry to associations. Political reforms have been self-­consciously enacted by means of Greek XV Pr e fac e legislators, who occasionally left documents of what they meant. Political improvement used to be significantly analyzed in incisive and groundbreaking works of Greek political conception. a result of wealthy literary and documentary list surviving from classical antiquity, next theorists and practitioners, wanting to holiday with the norm of domination, have been capable of draw on Greek adventure. for his or her personal half, whereas they discovered greatly from different societies, the Greeks themselves had few precedents to construct upon while devising democratic associations and values. If we will be able to clarify the increase of classical Greece, we may possibly achieve a greater experience of what it took to bootstrap the wealth and democracy package deal within the first position. If we will clarify the autumn of the Greek political order—­that is, why significant city-­states didn't hold complete independence for longer than they did—­we could larger comprehend democratic fragility. My method of explaining the increase and fall of classical Greece is that of a historian and political scientist. those aren't the one how one can elucidate the Greek previous. students from the fields of anthropology, sociology, and literary reviews have complicated our realizing of Greek tradition in ways in which fit with the consequences provided the following. yet there are methods to consider the traditional Greek international, linked to those 3 disciplines, that during their most powerful kinds, might render my undertaking incoherent: First is an assumption that the Greek global was once now not truly remarkable. subsequent is a declare that Greece’s exceptionalism makes it analytically beside the point. 3rd is an statement that the exceptionalism of the Greek global has not anything to do with smooth politics or economics. the 1st assumption, that Greece isn't really remarkable as the Greek international shared a number of good points with different premodern societies, turns out to me insufficiently conscious of traditionally salient differences: it's definitely actual that the Greek economic climate remained based mostly on arable agriculture; that Greeks practiced a number of kinds of morally repugnant status-­based hierarchy, together with slavery and different kinds of coerced hard work; and that polytheistic faith used to be a big a part of the standard Greek’s worldview and day-by-day perform.

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