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Readings in Greek History

Sources and Interpretations

Second Edition

D. Brendan Nagle and Stanley M. Burstein

Publication Date - 11 April 2013

ISBN: 9780199978458

368 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The best-selling reader for courses in Greek history and Greek civilization, now with improved headnotes and redesigned for easier accessibility


An ideal reader for courses in Greek history, Greek civilization, and Western civilization, this comprehensive collection of more than 180 historical source documents covers major aspects of Greek civilization from the Archaic Age through the end of the Hellenistic Period. Featuring a diverse and extensive array of selections from the works of major authors, Readings in Greek History: Sources and Interpretations, Second Edition, offers balanced coverage of political, military, social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and technological developments in Greek life. It provides selections drawn from historical, philosophical, and oratorical Greek literary texts and from documentary sources, including inscriptions and papyri. The book is organized chronologically but also addresses various themes throughout, including religion, war, and gender relations. It is enhanced by substantial introductions to each chapter and selection and more than thirty photographs, images, and maps.

New to this Edition

  • New Readings on: The Bronze Age, Religion in the Archaic and Classical Periods, Athenian Democracy, Roman Relations with the Greeks
  • New Maps
  • Revised Illustration program
  • New introduction
  • Improved design with expanded headnotes and source documentation
  • New Timeline

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2006


"Readings in Greek History offers a diverse selection of translated ancient material with clear introductory sections that help students properly contextualize and fully understand the selected ancient texts."--Nikolaos Lazaridis, California State University, Sacramento

"This sourcebook has a demonstrated track record of success in providing digestible portions of ancient Greek source material to undergraduates."--Giovanni Ruffini, Fairfield University

"Especially in regard to length and price, this reader is without a rival."--Vasiliki Kostopoulou, University of Iowa

"A very complete and detailed collection of key primary sources, prefaced in a clear and illuminating manner, drawing attention to the wide variety of ways in which we can know the Ancient Greeks."--Lorraine Attreed, College of the Holy Cross

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    List of Maps and Figures
    * Time Line
    A. Greece in the Second Millennium B.C.
    1. The Mycenaean Kingdoms (ca. 1650-1150 BC)
    2. Mycenaean Relations with the Hittites: the Tawagalawas Letter (Selections)
    * 3. The Sea Peoples and the End of the Bronze Age
    B. Greek Definitions of the Polis
    1. The Natural Origins of the Polis: "Man Is by Nature a Political Animal"
    2. The Nature of Citizenship: "He Who Has the Right to Take Part in Deliberative or Judicial Administration Is a Citizen"
    C. Greek Life in the Eighth Century B.C.
    1. Homer: The Shield of Achilles
    2. Hesiod's Works and Days
    D. Colonization and the Expansion of the Polis System: The Case of Cyrene
    1. Herodotus' Account
    2. The Oath of the Colonists
    E. Greeks and Non-Greeks in the Greek Colonies: The Foundation of Lampsacus
    F. Greeks and Scythians in the Black Sea: Coexistence and Interaction
    G. The Aristocratic Warrior
    1. The Warrior Ideal
    2. The Warrior and Society: The Drinking Song of Hybrias
    H. The Hoplite Revolution and the Citizen Soldier
    1. The Reality of Battle
    2. A Good Citizen: Tellus of Athens
    3. Only Farmers Can Be Good Citizens
    I. The Hoplite Polis: Sparta
    J. The Role of Athletics
    1. An Athletic Dynasty: The Diagorids of Rhodes
    2. Athletics and the Polis: A Philosophical Critique
    * A. Religion in Aristocratic Greece
    * 1. Relations between Man and Gods
    * 2. Animal Sacrifice
    B. Aristocratic Privilege
    1. The Gortyn Code
    2. How a Boy Becomes a Man in Crete
    C. Aspects of Aristocratic Life at Its Peak
    1. A Fine Symposium: Xenophanes
    2. The Life of an Aristocrat: Alcaeus
    3. When You Are "Repulsive to Boys and a Laughing Stock to Women": Mimnermus on Old Age
    4. A Woman's View of Aristocratic Life: Sappho's "To Anactoria"
    D. Heroic Athletics: The Chariot Race at Patroclus' Funeral Games
    E. The Aristocracy and Its International Connections
    1. A Greek Officer in Egyptian Service
    2. Greek Mercenaries in the Egyptian Army
    3. The Life of a Soldier: An Order for Rations at Arad in the Kingdom of Judah
    4. Aristocratic Exiles
    5. Sappho on Intermarriage Between Aristocrats
    F. The Crisis of the Aristocracy
    1. The Lament of Theognis
    2. Vulgar Upstarts: Artemon and Rhodopis
    3. The Crisis of the Aristocracy at Corinth: Cypselus and Periander
    4. The Crisis of the Aristocracy at Athens: Solon
    * 5. The Crisis of the Aristocracy at Athens: Cleisthenes
    A. The Persian Empire
    1. The King and His Subjects: The Cyrus Cylinder
    2. "By the Grace of Ahurimazda I Am King": Persian Imperial Ideology
    B. The Persian Wars
    1. How the Wars Began: The Problems of Aristagoras
    2. Aristagoras Seeks Help from Sparta
    3. Aristagoras at Athens
    4. The Battle of Marathon
    C. The Second Persian Invasion of 480 B.C.
    1. The Muddled Greek Response: "It Was Plain That the Greater Number of the States Would Take No Part in the War but Warmly Favored the Persians"
    2. Themistocles and the "Alliance of the Willing"
    3. The Themistocles Decree
    4. Why Gelo of Syracuse Refused Help
    5. The Battle of Thermopylae
    6. Athens Evacuated
    7. The Great Debate: Fight at Salamis or Defend the Isthmus of Corinth?
    8. The Battle of Plataea
    9. Revenge for Thermopylae: The Humanity of Pausanias
    A. The Household: Family Relations
    1. "What Is Sweeter Than Family?"
    2. Do Parents Love Their Children More Than Children Love Their Parents?
    3. The Nature of Youth
    4. Husbands and Wives
    5. Mothers and Sons: "My Mother Is a Trial"
    6. "Except for My Mother I Hate the Whole Female Sex"
    7. Procne's Lament: The Sorrows of Young Women
    B. Household Management
    1. Women's Work
    2. "Where There Is No Wife Households Are Neither Orderly nor Prosperous"
    3. Woman and Legal Affairs
    4. The Education of a Wife
    5. Managing Obstreperous Children
    6. The Short Sad Life of a Good Woman: The Epitaph of Sokratea of Paros
    C. Slaves and Slavery
    1. "The Best and Most Necessary Possessions"
    2. "We Have Mistresses for Our Pleasure": Sex and Slavery in the Oikos
    3. How to Become a Slave: Be in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
    4. The Slave Trade: A Eunuch's Revenge
    D. The Polis and the Household
    1. The Murder of Eratosthenes
    2. The Demos Must Be Pure: Athenian Laws on Pederasty
    E. Religion in the Classical Polis
    1. The Affair of the Herms
    2. The Festivals: "A Man Should Spend His Whole Life at Play"
    3. Local Festivals
    4. Athena Nike Priestess
    * 5. Xenophon Consults the Delphic Oracle
    6. Personal Religion: Xenophon's Temple to Artemis
    F. War and Warfare in the Polis
    1. The Spartan Army
    2. A Hoplite Battle: Mantineia
    G. The Place of Warfare in the Polis: Some Philosophical Reflections
    1. "All States Are by Nature Fighting an Undeclared War with All Other States"
    2. "Peace Is the End of War, Leisure of Work"
    A. The Rise of Athens
    1. The Golden Age: Looking at the Past
    2. "For Without Equal Military Power It Is Impossible for Allies to Have Equal or Similar Say in Policy-Making": The Reality of Athenian Power
    3. The Strategic Thinking of Themistocles
    B. The Delian League
    1. "They Had Enough of the Persian War:" The Spartans and the Delian League
    2. "The Allies Brought All This on Themselves": From League to Empire
    3. Aristotle on the Organization of the Athenian Empire
    C. The Athenian Empire
    1. The Logic of Possessing an Empire
    2. Athens and Her Subjects: The Case of Erythrae
    3. Imperial Ideology: Pericles' Funeral Oration
    4. The Bloody Revolution at Corcyra: "War is a Hard Master"
    5. "Justice Enters the Discussion Only When the Parties Are Equal": The Melian Dialogue
    D. Opposition to the Peloponnesian War at Athens
    1. Prayer to Peace
    2. Lysistrata's Solution to War
    E. Defeat and Hard Times: Athens After the Peloponnesian War
    F. The Military Revolution
    1. Old and New Forms of Warfare
    2. Iphicrates: A Military Revolutionary
    3. A Stunning Reversal: Light Infantry Defeat Heavy Infantry at Lechaeum
    4. Mercenaries at War
    5. A Two-Edged Sword: Mercenary Troops and Their Employers
    6. The Need for Walls
    A. The Conventionalist Argument
    1. "There Is No Natural Standard of Justice:" An Overview from Plato
    2. Callicles' Superman: "Right Is the Advantage of the Stronger over the Weaker"
    3. Protagoras: Virtue Is Taught by Parents, Teachers, and the Laws
    B. The Naturalist Argument
    1. Antiphon: Greeks and Barbarians Are the Same by Nature
    2. Sophocles, Empedocles, and Alcidamas: Universally Valid Norms Exist
    3. Aristotle: Intrinsically Evil Acts
    4. Making Fun of the Philosophers: Aristophanes
    C. The Threat of Socrates
    1. Socrates and Anytus
    2. The Sophist Polykrates' Pamphlet
    D. Socrates' Defense: "I Shall Obey God Rather Than You"
    E. Diogenes the Cynic
    A. The Decline and Fall of Sparta
    1. Social Problems at Sparta: The Conspiracy of Cinadon
    2. Sparta at Its Peak: The King's Peace (386 B.C.)
    3. The Foundation of the Second Athenian League (377 B.C.)
    4. The Battle of Leuctra and the End of Spartan Primacy (371 B.C.)
    5. The Decline of Sparta: Why?
    B. The Crisis of the Polis in Fourth-Century B.C. Greece
    1. Fifth Column Activity in Greek Cities
    2. Political Revolution in Argos
    3. Mercenaries and Exiles: The Tyranny of Clearchus of Heraclea Pontica (364-352 B.C.)
    4. Can the Polis Be Saved? Suggested Solutions
    C. The Periphery of the Greek World
    1. Thracian Court Life: A Heroic Society
    2. A Greek Trading Post in Thrace
    3. Greeks and Non-Greeks in the Black Sea: Amage, Queen of the Sarmatians, Saves the City of Chersonesus
    4. Bosporus: A Multi-Ethnic State in the Black Sea (347/6 B.C.)
    5. A Hellenized Satrap: Mausolus of Caria
    6. The Funeral of Mausolus: A Greek Extravaganza (353 B.C.)
    7. A Greek View of Persia: Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus
    D. Philip II and the Emergence of Macedon
    1. The Achievements of Philip II: Alexander the Great's Speech at Opis (324 B.C.)
    2. Philip II's Military Reforms
    3. The Companions of Philip II
    4. Philippi: The First Macedonian Colony
    5. Oath of Members of the League of Corinth (338-337 B.C.)
    6. The Marriages of Philip II
    7. The Assassination of Philip II
    E. The Reign of Alexander the Great: Alexander and the Greeks
    1. The Greeks in Europe
    2. The Greeks in Asia
    F. Alexander and Egypt
    1. Surrender of Egypt to Alexander
    2. Foundation of Alexandria
    3. Alexander's Visit to Siwah
    4. Alexander's Organization of Egypt
    5. The Administration of Cleomenes of Naucratis
    G. Alexander and the Non-Greeks
    1. Alexander's Organization of Babylon
    2. Babylonian Resistance to Alexander's Plans
    3. The Destruction of Persepolis
    H. The Challenges of Alexander
    1. The Attempt to Introduce Proskynesis
    2. The Pages' Conspiracy
    3. Alexander's Last Plans
    I. What Was Alexander? Saint or Demon?
    1. Plutarch: Alexander a Force for the Spread of Greek Culture
    2. Alexander the Enemy of the True Religion: A Zoroastrian View
    A. A New World
    1. A Greek Philosopher's View of Alexander's Conquests
    2. The Brutal Struggle for Alexander's Empire: The Heidelberg Epitome
    B. Alexandria and the Colonial World of Hellenistic Egypt
    1. A Hellenistic Metropolis: Alexandria in Egypt
    * 2. A Giant Warship: The Forty of Ptolemy IV Philopator
    3. Middle Class Life in Hellenistic Egypt
    4. Government in Ptolemaic Egypt: Advice to a Young Official
    5. Government Corruption in Ptolemaic Egypt: The Amnesty of 118 B.C.
    C. Cultural Contact: Ptolemaic Egypt
    1. The Origins of Sarapis
    2. The Praises of Isis
    3. How Sarapis Came to Delos: The Family of Apollonios, Priest of Sarapis
    D. Cultural Contact: Bactria and India
    1. The Greeks in Bactria and India
    2. Greek Wisdom in Bactria
    3. Sagala: A Greco-Indian Metropolis
    4. The Rock Edict of King Ashoka from Kandahar
    5. Dedication to Vishnu by Heliodorus (First Century B.C.)
    6. Stele of Sophytos, Son of Naratos
    E. Culture Clash: Jewish Resistance to Hellenism
    1. Jerusalem Transformed into a Polis (ca. 175 B.C.)
    2. Abolition of Jewish Law (167 B.C.)
    3. Armed Jewish Resistance Begins (167 B.C.)
    4. The Purification of the Temple and the Restoration of Jewish Law (165 B.C.)
    F. Jewish Life in the Diaspora
    1. The Synagogue of Alexandria
    2. The Origin of the Sabbath Ritual
    G. Opportunities and Social Roles in the Hellenistic Period
    1. An Athenian in Ptolemaic Service: The Life of Kallias, Ptolemaic Governor of Halicarnassus (Athens, 270-269 B.C.)
    2. The Dangerous Life of a Soldier of Fortune
    3. Recommendation for a Government Job (Egypt, 255 B.C.)
    4. A Political Woman: Phyle, Wife of Thessalos (Priene, First Century B.C.)
    5. A Woman Philosopher: The Life of Hipparchia
    6. A Professional Woman: Phanostrate, Midwife and Doctor (Athens, Fourth Century B.C.)
    7. A Professional Woman: The Theban Harpist Polygnota, Daughter of Socrates (Delphi, 86 B.C.)
    8. The Romance of Prince Antiochus and Queen Stratonice
    9. The Marriage Contract of Heracleides and Demetria (311 B.C.)
    H. The Coming of Rome
    1. T. Quinctius Flamininus and Greek Freedom (196 B.C.)
    2. The Reality of Roman Power: The Letter of King Eumenes II (156 B.C.)
    * 3. Greek Reactions to the Destruction of Carthage (Polybius, Histories 36.9-17)
    * 4. Rome's Role in Greek Affairs: Arbitration of Disputes
    5. Roman Expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Cynical View