A magisterial account of how a tiny city-state in ancient Greece became history’s most influential civilization, from the bestselling author of acclaimed biographies of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian
Filled with tales of adventure and astounding reversals of fortune, The Rise of Athens celebrates the city-state that transformed the world—from the democratic revolution that marked its beginning, through the city’s political and cultural golden age, to its decline into the ancient equivalent of a modern-day university town.
Anthony Everitt constructs his history with unforgettable portraits of the talented, tricky, ambitious, and unscrupulous Athenians who fueled the city’s rise: Themistocles, the brilliant naval strategist who led the Greeks to a decisive victory over their Persian enemies; Pericles, arguably the greatest Athenian statesman of them all; and the wily Alcibiades, who changed his political allegiance several times during the course of the Peloponnesian War—and died in a hail of assassins’ arrows. Here also are riveting you-are-there accounts of the milestone battles that defined the Hellenic world: Thermopylae, Marathon, and Salamis among them. An unparalleled storyteller, Everitt combines erudite, thoughtful historical analysis with stirring narrative set pieces that capture the colorful, dramatic, and exciting world of ancient Greece.
Although the history of Athens is less well known than that of other world empires, the city-state’s allure would inspire Alexander the Great, the Romans, and even America’s own Founding Fathers. It’s fair to say that the Athenians made possible the world in which we live today. In this peerless new work, Anthony Everitt breathes vivid life into this most ancient story.
Praise for The Rise of Athens
“[An] invaluable history of a foundational civilization . . . combining impressive scholarship with involving narration.”—Booklist
“Compelling . . . a comprehensive and entertaining account of one of the most transformative societies in Western history . . . Everitt recounts the high points of Greek history with flair and aplomb.”—Shelf Awareness
“Rome’s history abounds with remarkable figures. . . . Everitt writes for the informed and the uninformed general reader alike, in a brisk, conversational style, with a modern attitude of skepticism and realism.”—The Dallas Morning News
“[A] lively and readable account . . . Roman history has an uncanny ability to resonate with contemporary events.”—Maclean’s
“Elegant, swift and faultless as an introduction to his subject.”—The Spectator
“An engrossing history of a relentlessly pugnacious city’s 500-year rise to empire.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fascinating history and a great read.”—Chicago Sun-Times