|Publication Date||March 29, 2001|
Many believe that the beginning of ancient Greece dates back to the 8th century BC, with the epic poems of Homer and the construction of the first Greek temples. Yet this culture emerged from organized societies that had existed in this area from over 2,000 years earlier; societies who brought with them aspects of ancient Egyptian life. Ancient Greece and the Mediterranean traces the progress of civilization in this key region, from the Bronze Age societies of the Minoans to the exquisite art and strikingly modern thought of ancient Greece, and finally to the crowning glory of the ancient world. Ancient Greece occupied a strategic position as the central crossroads of the ancient world. It formed a meeting place between the people of a still undeveloped Europe and the great civilizations of Asia Minor and North Africa. Ancient Greece and the Mediterranean brings alive this astonishing story, beginning with the Cretan civilization of the Minoans. The book recounts the rise of the Greeks and the fate of local warlords, who gradually gave way to an emerging 'middle class' of merchants, craftsmen and farmers. It goes on to relate the supreme test of the Greek spirit: the wars with Persia, in which the Greeks - astonishingly - saw off an invasion attempt by the mighty empire to the east. The victory over the Persians ushered in the Golden Age of Athens. Presided over by the statesman Pericles, this era saw a stream of astonishing architectural projects. Pride, however, came before a fall, with Athens's decline from glory and the rise of a northern, hitherto obscure Greek state - Macedon.