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Athens After Empire

A History from Alexander the Great to the Emperor Hadrian

Ian Worthington, FSA, FRHistS

Publication Date - 01 December 2022

ISBN: 9780197684764

424 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock


A major new history of Athens' remarkably long and influential life after the collapse of its empire.

To many the history of post-Classical Athens is one of decline. True, Athens hardly commanded the number of allies it had when hegemon of its fifth-century Delian League or even its fourth-century Naval Confederacy, and its navy was but a shadow of its former self. But Athens recovered from its perilous position in the closing quarter of the fourth century and became once again a player in Greek affairs, even during the Roman occupation. Athenian democracy survived and evolved, even through its dealings with Hellenistic Kings, its military clashes with Macedonia, and its alliance with Rome. Famous Romans, including Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, saw Athens as much more than an isolated center for philosophy. Athens After Empire offers a new narrative history of post-Classical Athens, extending the period down to the aftermath of Hadrian's reign.


  • First major history of postclassical Athens in more than twenty years
  • Covers a longer period of time than other such histories
  • Explores military and philosophical history as well as socio-cultural changes

About the Author(s)

Ian Worthington, FSA, FRHistS is Professor of Ancient History of Macquarie University. He is the author of numerous books about ancient the ancient world, including, most recently, The Last Kings of Macedonia and the Triumph of Rome, Ptolemy I: King and Pharaoh of Egypt, By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire, and Demosthenes of Athens and the Fall of Classical Greece.


"Ian Worthington's Athens After Empire shows how there has been a tendency to fixate on the heyday of famous ancient cities while the events before or after have been unfairly and misleadingly eclipsed. Paul Cartledge's excellent Hellenistic and Roman Sparta presents how such an approach distorted Sparta's enduring importance. Now, Worthington's splendid, learned, and highly readable volume will achieve the same for Athens. Worthington's aim is to demonstrate that Athens did not fade away or drop off the historical radar or even decline into oblivion, and he successfully proves his thesis." -- Georgina Longley, World History Encyclopedia

"Worthington skillfully steers a middle course between an optimistic picture of Athenian civic (or even democratic) vitality and sensitivity to realities of power.... Anyone curious to learn, for example, why the now most striking feature of the archaeological site of the Athenian agora is the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, the gift of a Hellenistic king, will find reliable answers here.... An excellent guide to the complex entanglement of cities and kings in the Greek world from the Classical period on." -- Times Literary Supplement

"a good summary of the large amount of work in recent decades on Hellenistic and Roman Athens" -- Kostas Vlassopoulos, Greece & Rome

"An excellent guide to the complex entanglements of cities and kings in the Greek world from the Classical period on." -- Times Literary Supplement

Table of Contents


    Introduction: "This is the City of Hadrian and not of Theseus"
    1. Farewell to Freedom
    2. Under The Puppet Ruler: Demetrius of Phalerum
    3. Political and Civic Institutions
    4. Demetrius "The Besieger" and Athens
    5. Testing Macedonia
    6. Independence Day
    7. Enter Rome, Exit Macedonia
    8.Being Free without Freedom
    9. Social Life and Religion
    10. Sulla's Sack of Athens
    11. The End of "Hellenistic" Athens
    12. Augustus and Athens
    13. Tiberius to Hadrian
    14. Building A New Horizon?
    15. Hadrian's Arch


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