History Gift Guide – Books on Ancient Greece

History Gift Guide – Books on Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks contributed many great ideas to human civilization, such as democracy, philosophy, drama, and mathematics. The battles of Alexander the Great or the Spartans have kept us coming back for more.  The stories of Ancient Greece can suck in any History Buff until they grab more history books on this great topic.

Here’s a list of some of the best history books on the Ancient Greece!

[amazon_link id=”055380734X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization by Jim Lacey[/amazon_link]

Marathon—one of history’s most pivotal battles. Its very name evokes images of almost superhuman courage, endurance, and fighting spirit. But until now, the story of what happened at Marathon has been told exclusively through the narrow viewpoint of specialists in antiquity. In this eye-opening new book, acclaimed journalist Jim Lacey, both a military historian and a combat veteran, takes a fresh look at Marathon and reveals why the battle happened, how it was fought, and whether, in fact, it saved Western civilization.

[amazon_link id=”B002WTC8R0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy by J.R. Hale[/amazon_link]

The navy created by the people of Athens in ancient Greece was one of the finest fighting forces in the history of the world and the model for all other national navies to come. The Athenian navy built a civilization, empowered the world’s first democracy, and led a band of ordinary citizens on a voyage of discovery that altered the course of history. Its defeat of the Persian fleet at Salamis in 480 BCE launched the Athenian Golden Age and preserved Greek freedom and culture for centuries. With Lords of the Sea, renowned archaeologist John Hale presents, for the first time, the definitive history of the epic battles, the indomitable ships, and the men-from extraordinary leaders to seductive rogues-who established Athens’s supremacy.

[amazon_link id=”0500251215″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Complete World of Greek Mythology by R.G.A. Buxton[/amazon_link]

Engrossing and lavishly illustrated, this survey demonstrates once again why Greek mythology is so enduringly popular. Greek lit prof Buxton (Imaginary Greece: the Contexts of Mythology) treats the subject thematically, covering Greek origin myths, the character and functions of the Olympian gods, the exploits of heroes, the Homeric epics and the sagas of the House of Atreus and other tragic clans in which there is a “seamless connection…between heroic exploits and domestic catastrophes.”

[amazon_link id=”0670032115″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan[/amazon_link]

For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century B.C., Athens and Sparta fought a war that changed the Greek world and its civilization forever. A conflict unprecedented in its brutality, the Peloponnesian War brought a collapse in the institutions, beliefs, and customs that were the foundations of society. Today, scholars in fields ranging from international relations and political and military history to political philosophy continue to study the war for its timeless relevance to the history of our own time.

[amazon_link id=”1400034760″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika by Robert B. Strassler[/amazon_link]

From the editor of the widely praised The Landmark Thucydides and The Landmark Herodotus, here is a new edition of Xenophon’s Hellenika, the primary source for the events of the final seven years and aftermath of the Peloponnesian War.Hellenika covers the years between 411 and 362 B.C.E., a particularly dramatic period during which the alliances among Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Persia were in constant flux. Together with the volumes of Herodotus and Thucydides, it completes an ancient narrative of the military and political history of classical Greece.

[amazon_link id=”0140449086″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Histories by Herodotus[/amazon_link]

A Greek historian, Herodotus (c.485-425 BC) left his native town of Halicarnassus, a Greek colony, to travel extensively. He collected historical, geographical, ethnological, mytholgical and archaeological material for his histories. Aubrey de Selincourt has translated Livy, Herodotus and Arrian, all for Penguin Classics. John Marincola is Associate Professor of Classics at New York University.

[amazon_link id=”0140455116″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Republic by Plato[/amazon_link]

Plato’s “Republic” is widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of Western philosophy. Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors, it is an enquiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it. During the conversation other questions are raised: what is goodness; what is reality; what is knowledge? “The Republic” also addresses the purpose of education and the role of both women and men as ‘guardians’ of the people. With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory, Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by ‘philosopher kings’.

[amazon_link id=”0140442537″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian[/amazon_link]

Although written over four hundred years after Alexander’s death, Arrian’s account of the man and his achievements is the most reliable we have. Arrian’s own experience as a military commander gave him unique insights into the life of the world’s greatest conqueror. He tells of Alexander’s violent suppression of the Theban rebellion, his defeat of Persia and campaigns through Egypt and Babylon – establishing new cities and destroying others in his path. While Alexander emerges as a charismatic leader, Arrian succeeds brilliantly in creating an objective portrait of a man of boundless ambition, who was exposed to the temptations of power.

[amazon_link id=”0812969707″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War by Victor Hanson[/amazon_link]

One of our most provocative military historians, Victor Davis Hanson has given us painstakingly researched and pathbreaking accounts of wars ranging from classical antiquity to the twenty-first century. Now he juxtaposes an ancient conflict with our most urgent modern concerns to create his most engrossing work to date, A War Like No Other.

[amazon_link id=”0743244516″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece — and Western Civilization by Barrie Strauss[/amazon_link]

On a late September day in 480 B.C., Greek warships faced an invading Persian armada in the narrow Salamis Straits in the most important naval battle of the ancient world. Overwhelmingly outnumbered by the enemy, the Greeks triumphed through a combination of strategy and deception. More than two millennia after it occurred, the clash between the Greeks and Persians at Salamis remains one of the most tactically brilliant battles ever fought. The Greek victory changed the course of western history — halting the advance of the Persian Empire and setting the stage for the Golden Age of Athens.

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