The Greeks and Greek Civilization

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9780312244477: The Greeks and Greek Civilization

In 1872, Jacob Burckhardt, one of the preeminent historians of classical and Renaissance culture, presented this revolutionary work, which portrays ancient Greek culture as an aristocratic world based on a ruthless competition for honor, a competition that led, in turn, to a tyranous state with minimal personal freedoms. Burckhardt's landmark project, the culmination of thirty years of scholarlship by leading Oxford historian, Oswyn Murray, offers a rich cultural history of a fascinating society.

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Review :

The Swiss scholar Jacob Burckhardt (1818-97) is well known as the author of The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, which has remained in print since its publication in 1860. He is far less well known for his pioneering studies in ancient Greek history, which were an important influence on his most celebrated student, Friedrich Nietzsche, and which shaped the modernist view of Greek civilization not as an expression of the heights of human reason, but as an irrational and often dangerous construct. Burckhardt believed that the ancient Greeks' myth-laden view of their own past, full of sociopathic heroes and tragic victims, was an expression of this state of unreason: "The wildest variations and contradictions," he writes, "were not found at all disturbing."

Even less disturbing to the Greeks, he continues, was the systematic violence--and even human sacrifice--that erupted when a city like Athens wished to extend its territory or when a leader wished to extend his power. That violence, Burckhardt holds, was a natural result of the ancient Greeks' pursuit of honor, which accrued by facing and defeating danger. One such danger was the mere act of standing out in any way whatever, which could net a would-be hero a charge of being impious--witness, Burckhardt notes, the fates of Socrates and his contemporary Alcibiades. Drawing from examples of mythology, tragedy, oratory, and comedy, Burckhardt touches on themes such as Greek society's contempt for women and its apparent readiness to embrace all sorts of antidemocratic demagoguery--in the person, for instance, of the famed hero Lysander, who "combines depravity with natural gifts in a way that was typically Spartan and yet generally Greek." Burckhardt's deconstruction of classical history, ably edited by Oxford historian Oswyn Murray, reads as if it were written in our own time. --Gregory McNamee

From the Publisher :

"[Burckhardt] offers page after page of deeply interesting observations and anecdotes...[He] appraises the changing aspects of Greek civilization with cool even-handedness, dispassionately seeking to understand rather than judge or extol." --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

"Not only a rich overview of Burckhardt's learning but a precious glimpse into the intellectual world of the late nineteenth century." --The New Yorker

"A corrective to the rather gaga idealism of 'the Greek spirit'...lively." --George Wills, The New York Times Book Review

"This book will become a necessary tool in courses not only on nineteenth-century historiography, but on the ancient world as well." --Publishers Weekly

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Burckhardt, Jacob
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Description du livre St. Martins Press-3pl, United States, 1999. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In 1872, Jacob Burckhardt, one of the preeminent historians of classical and Renaissance culture, presented this revolutionary work, which portrays ancient Greek culture as an aristocratic world based on a ruthless competition for honor, a competition that led, in turn, to a tyranous state with minimal personal freedoms. Burckhardt s landmark project, the culmination of thirty years of scholarlship by leading Oxford historian, Oswyn Murray, offers a rich cultural history of a fascinating society. N° de réf. du libraire APC9780312244477

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Jacob Burckhardt
Edité par St. Martins Press-3pl, United States (1999)
ISBN 10 : 0312244479 ISBN 13 : 9780312244477
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Description du livre St. Martins Press-3pl, United States, 1999. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In 1872, Jacob Burckhardt, one of the preeminent historians of classical and Renaissance culture, presented this revolutionary work, which portrays ancient Greek culture as an aristocratic world based on a ruthless competition for honor, a competition that led, in turn, to a tyranous state with minimal personal freedoms. Burckhardt s landmark project, the culmination of thirty years of scholarlship by leading Oxford historian, Oswyn Murray, offers a rich cultural history of a fascinating society. N° de réf. du libraire APC9780312244477

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