This admirable study has now been revised and enlarged by Professor Finley in the light of the latest archeological evidence and relevant scholarship. It provides, succinctly and authoritatively, the background information needed for a proper understanding of classical Greek civilization
M. I. Finley here reconstructs the “preliterary” background to Greek civilization by an examination of recent archeological discoveries and a critical reappraisal of older archeological evidence. He discusses the problems that dependence on such evidence poses for the historian, for, although archeology reveals changes and even cataclysms, it rarely allows us more than a restricted view of a society under normal conditions. He points out the difficulties in reconciling the mythological “evidence” and the archeological, particularly in Crete and Troy, and analyzes and distinguishes the elements of historic fact and legend in the Iliad and Odyssey.
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