|Publication Date||April 23, 2004|
The second volume of Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton's work regarding ancient Athens is presented here.
Lytton's history of ancient Athens remains the best considered Victorian examination of Ancient Greek civilisation. Despite its title, the work considers the events within the entirety of the Greek city states as well as the civic events which occurred within the civilisation's largest city and effective capital. Within each of the five volumes, all aspects and tenets of the state and its people, their achievements and calamities, glories and follies, are considered.
The military endeavours, intellectual achievements, inventions, architecture, religion, cuisine and art of the Greeks all find their place in Lytton's examination. Rather than adopt a straightforward chronological method for this ambitiously scoped work, Lytton would instead intersperse major events and milestones with explanations of significant peoples, landmarks and progresses. This varied approach is a boon to the narrative, which retains a compelling tone.
Bulwer-Lytton was a talented novelist, and would become immensely popular in Victorian England for his eloquent yet easily read works. In Athens: Its Rise and Fall these talents are put to good use - rarely does the text become dry or arduous to read, and the Ancient Greeks are brought vividly to life despite the vast span of time elapsed since the decline of the Hellenic civilisation.
To this day Athens: Its Rise and Fall is recommended by academics and scholars as a thoroughly competent introduction to the Ancient Greeks for its accessibility, excellent body of research, and memorable passages.