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The Greeks: A Global History

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A sweeping history of the Greeks, from the Bronze Age to today   More than two thousand years ago, the Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, laid the foundation for much of modern science, the arts, politics, and law. But the influence of the Greeks did not end with the rise and fall of this classical civilization. As historian Roderick Beaton illustrates, over three A sweeping history of the Greeks, from the Bronze Age to today   More than two thousand years ago, the Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, laid the foundation for much of modern science, the arts, politics, and law. But the influence of the Greeks did not end with the rise and fall of this classical civilization. As historian Roderick Beaton illustrates, over three millennia Greek speakers produced a series of civilizations that were rooted in southeastern Europe but again and again ranged widely across the globe.     In The Greeks, Beaton traces this history from the Bronze Age Mycenaeans who built powerful fortresses at home and strong trade routes abroad, to the dramatic Eurasian conquests of Alexander the Great, to the pious Byzantines who sought to export Christianity worldwide, to today’s Greek diaspora, which flourishes on five continents. The product of decades of research, this is the story of the Greeks and their global impact told as never before.  


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A sweeping history of the Greeks, from the Bronze Age to today   More than two thousand years ago, the Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, laid the foundation for much of modern science, the arts, politics, and law. But the influence of the Greeks did not end with the rise and fall of this classical civilization. As historian Roderick Beaton illustrates, over three A sweeping history of the Greeks, from the Bronze Age to today   More than two thousand years ago, the Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, laid the foundation for much of modern science, the arts, politics, and law. But the influence of the Greeks did not end with the rise and fall of this classical civilization. As historian Roderick Beaton illustrates, over three millennia Greek speakers produced a series of civilizations that were rooted in southeastern Europe but again and again ranged widely across the globe.     In The Greeks, Beaton traces this history from the Bronze Age Mycenaeans who built powerful fortresses at home and strong trade routes abroad, to the dramatic Eurasian conquests of Alexander the Great, to the pious Byzantines who sought to export Christianity worldwide, to today’s Greek diaspora, which flourishes on five continents. The product of decades of research, this is the story of the Greeks and their global impact told as never before.  

46 review for The Greeks: A Global History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erini Allen

    The first thing to understand about this book is that it is not about the Greeks. The Greeks are simply a convenient opportunity to make a larger point about...global something-or-other. It's not entirely clear. He seems to be having an argument with someone who is not the readers of this book, judging from some of his defensive sentence constructions ("It's not true that..."). After reading the preface, I had high hopes, as the author gives one of the most succinct definitions of what it means, The first thing to understand about this book is that it is not about the Greeks. The Greeks are simply a convenient opportunity to make a larger point about...global something-or-other. It's not entirely clear. He seems to be having an argument with someone who is not the readers of this book, judging from some of his defensive sentence constructions ("It's not true that..."). After reading the preface, I had high hopes, as the author gives one of the most succinct definitions of what it means, and has meant historically, to be Greek: to speak Greek and to participate in the cultures (there are many) of Greek-speaking people. At various times and places, there have been additional criteria, but the two constants have been speaking the language and participating in (one of) the cultures. Beaton's discussion of the archaic and classical ancients is quite good. Where the book begins its steep decline is with Greek history following the Roman conquest, after which it becomes increasingly obtuse and tedious. When discussing the Roman Empire, Beaton points out how art was able to flourish because of the Roman-imposed peace...this after discussing the explosion of creative and intellectual production in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, during which the irrascible Greeks were constantly at each other's throats. The book devolves into the usual parade of "here is what the ruling class was doing," with a dash of "look how awful the Christians were" and a sprinkle of "modern Greeks only exist because the 'Great powers' took an interest in them." Yawn. Inevitably, there is a great deal of cherry picking of evidence. We learn, of course, about the tragic, brutal murder of Hypatia but nothing at all about Aelia Eudocia, the 5th century pagan Athenian philosopher's daughter who became an empress of the Eastern Roman Empire and wrote cento poems retelling the life of Christ using lines from Homer. During the middle ages, Beaton focuses on Constantinople (as if Greek-speakers were only there), especially from a governance perspective, but nothing of note about the rich artistic, scholarly, and creative works of Greek speakers and their cultural exchanges with east and west. Oh, and how cute is it (sarcasm alert) that he calls the Greek revolution a "war of independence." What independence? The western powers promptly installed a Bavarian boy (Otto, aged 17) as king, and the nascent Hellenic Republic became the Kingdom of Greece. Surely, the Greeks can be enigmatic. They seem to have stood at the threshold of three continents, to have had a strong sense of self and cultural confidence while also to have been willing to learn and draw from their neighbors. This can make them hard to understand, if by "understand" you feel the need to pin them down. If you're looking for insight into the multi-faceted nature of the Greeks and their global influence, this is not the book to find it, despite the optimistically-chosen title.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    A wonderfully comprehensive history of the Greeks from the Bronze Age to today. Detailed, authoritative, meticulously researched, scholarly yet accessible, it can’t really be faulted. And yet it’s really one for the serious Greek aficionado rather than the general reader and you have to be in for the long-haul – with shame I admit to fast-forwarding on occasion when it all got a bit much for me. That doesn't detract, however, from it’s worth as an important resource for anyone interested in the A wonderfully comprehensive history of the Greeks from the Bronze Age to today. Detailed, authoritative, meticulously researched, scholarly yet accessible, it can’t really be faulted. And yet it’s really one for the serious Greek aficionado rather than the general reader and you have to be in for the long-haul – with shame I admit to fast-forwarding on occasion when it all got a bit much for me. That doesn't detract, however, from it’s worth as an important resource for anyone interested in the subject, especially with its maps and illustrations, and it will no doubt prove an invaluable and long-lasting reference book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    .

    2.5 Arc provided by Netgalley for an honest review. This was a vey detailed history of Greece from 1500BC to the modern age. I really enjoyed all the intricate maps that were included on in and they visually explained to us how much Greece has evolved over the years. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Greek history or would like to learn about Greek history, just know ahead of time that like many history books that span so many years, The Greeks did get dry at some parts. Date(s) re 2.5 Arc provided by Netgalley for an honest review. This was a vey detailed history of Greece from 1500BC to the modern age. I really enjoyed all the intricate maps that were included on in and they visually explained to us how much Greece has evolved over the years. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Greek history or would like to learn about Greek history, just know ahead of time that like many history books that span so many years, The Greeks did get dry at some parts. Date(s) read: 07/26/2021

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hodgkins

    What an epic book “The Greeks” by Roderick Beaton turned out to be! I picked it up on the appeal of the cover and a reflection of late that my history lessons at school were decidedly selective and predominantly focused on what the English did and didn’t do. The Greeks, having had a massive impact on religion, culture and language, piqued my interest. Beginning right at the beginning may seem logical but is often not the way of historical books and I so appreciated the context set in this one. Th What an epic book “The Greeks” by Roderick Beaton turned out to be! I picked it up on the appeal of the cover and a reflection of late that my history lessons at school were decidedly selective and predominantly focused on what the English did and didn’t do. The Greeks, having had a massive impact on religion, culture and language, piqued my interest. Beginning right at the beginning may seem logical but is often not the way of historical books and I so appreciated the context set in this one. The formation of what is now seen as “Greek”, it’s influences and why it came about are given an unbiased account. Equally I liked how the writer, at times, admits we don’t know before offering the current theories. Despite being considered by some a dry topic, I found this book scintillating especially when it covered elements of how our language today was formed and elaborated on global happenings which I was unaware of. Each chapter is a chunk of time, an era for the Greeks, unpacked whilst still keeping the holistic thread. It makes them long so I found setting time to finish each section in one go helped me follow the history especially with all the unfamiliar names and places. The book doesn’t focus on the Greece of today or the land it now covers but the history of the Greek-speaking people and where they have been and are now. It goes right through to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the refugee crisis. Better understanding the past has helped me comprehend the complexity of the those seeking asylum in Greece and why accepting the volume arriving is so challenging. As it is the Greeks, the book is made up of artistic reflection and war strategy, massive upheaval and beautiful poetry. The contrasts are amazing and interesting, I am most grateful I read this one and if you enjoy a well-told historical overview with nuggets of interesting facts tucked in this is one for you! It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale. I received a complimentary copy of the book from Perseus Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cassie The Ghost

    Thank you to NetGalley and the author/publishers for allowing me to review this ARC with honesty. While I do love Greek History, this arc was definitely a bit more on the dense side of things. That's not to say it was bad. I did enjoy the way the author painted the setting however there were times that one topic took an entire chapter to get to the point. If you like that kind of descriptive narrative then this would definitely be an enjoyable read. (To Note: I did not read the book in its entire Thank you to NetGalley and the author/publishers for allowing me to review this ARC with honesty. While I do love Greek History, this arc was definitely a bit more on the dense side of things. That's not to say it was bad. I did enjoy the way the author painted the setting however there were times that one topic took an entire chapter to get to the point. If you like that kind of descriptive narrative then this would definitely be an enjoyable read. (To Note: I did not read the book in its entirety but read a good amount to realize it was a bit too dense for my personal taste.) Overall, it was not a bad summarization of 'The Greeks' but definitely not a quick read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    It's not the first book I read bout Greek history but it's surely the most complete as it starts in the archaic times and covers a long timeframe. I think that the best part are those covering archaic and classic Greek history. It's bit harder to follow after the Roman conquest but, my fault, it was the first time I read about those times. It's an informative, well researched and well written book. Not an easy read but I learned a lot. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this It's not the first book I read bout Greek history but it's surely the most complete as it starts in the archaic times and covers a long timeframe. I think that the best part are those covering archaic and classic Greek history. It's bit harder to follow after the Roman conquest but, my fault, it was the first time I read about those times. It's an informative, well researched and well written book. Not an easy read but I learned a lot. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mayda (My Book Cafe Life)

    The Greeks by Roderick Beaton was a wonderful read. This book is perfect for Greek history and mythology lovers and enthusiasts. This is a thorough and dense Greek history from the Bronze Age to today. The book reads like a history book and can be difficult for some to follow, but I found the maps/ illustrations helpful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cecil

    So many names, so many dates, so many points that seem rather, um, pointless. Seriously, there was some interesting stuff in here, but I struggled to identify a little unifying theory other than “it all comes back to Constantinople.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ourania Draklellis

    at times dense but overall very informative and worth it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    Thanks to NetGalley and Basic Books for providing an ARC!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Heller

    Reviewed for Library Journal. This resulted in many more books being added to my reading list.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anon Reviewer

    This was a good story!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lovers of Greek mythology will definitely enjoy this story. Myths are always very inticing, especially when they are very well written like this one was! Will definitely be buying once it's published and released! Great job to the author and publisher! This was a good story!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lovers of Greek mythology will definitely enjoy this story. Myths are always very inticing, especially when they are very well written like this one was! Will definitely be buying once it's published and released! Great job to the author and publisher!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan Babin

    This is a really great book for Greek history and mythology lovers. The material can be kind of dense and difficult to follow but overall the book is really great.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ben Groner III

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nikko

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dona Bee

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Wiley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mauricio Santoro

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jayasree B

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emmanuel Skoufris

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  22. 4 out of 5

    psyclops

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nikos

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dеnnis

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cambria

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  28. 5 out of 5

    Juliew.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Smith

  30. 5 out of 5

    Atul

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sean Mannion

  32. 5 out of 5

    James Harrison

  33. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Carter

  34. 5 out of 5

    Briana Wood

  35. 4 out of 5

    Polyxena

  36. 5 out of 5

    Wolgraugorimilir

  37. 5 out of 5

    Cherry

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kabir

  39. 5 out of 5

    John

  40. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  41. 5 out of 5

    Harry

  42. 5 out of 5

    Konfuza

  43. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Nohowec

  44. 4 out of 5

    Cambrone

  45. 4 out of 5

    Kamel

  46. 5 out of 5

    An

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