Peter Jones

An Urban Adventure

Athens: A History - From Ancient Ideal to Modern City

By

Macmillan 411pp £25 order from our bookshop

THE GOLDEN AGE of classical Athens, as Robin Waterfield defines it, lasted about 140 years, from the defeat of the Persians in 480 BC to the emergence of King Philip of Macedon, who was to bring the free city-states of Greece under Macedonian control from about 340 BC. Giants walked in Athens during this period: historians like Thucydides and Herodotus; tragedians like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides; thinkers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle; comedians like Aristophanes; politicians like Pericles. Direct democracy flowered and Athens’ maritime empire flourished, producing the wealth that enabled it to build great edifices such as the Parthenon. But the disastrous war against Sparta (431-404 BC) virtually did for it, and incessant inter-state quarrelling, and eventually Philip, finished it off. From then on, Athens would never be ‘great’ again – or only in the sense that it had once had a great past.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,
    • 'Rodin’s fascination with ancient Greek sculpture is part of a long and distinguished French tradition.' A review o… ,
    • The New Testament, in a new translation by David Bentley Hart, reviewed by Salley Vickers ,