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The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece
  • Author Image
    Josiah Ober
  • Publisher Logo
    Princeton University Press

The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece

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  • Josiah Ober
  • Princeton University Press
  • Paperback
  • 9780691173146
  • 8.4 X 5.4 X 1.3 inches
  • 1.15 pounds
  • History > Ancient - Greece
  • English
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Book Description

A major new history of classical Greece--how it rose, how it fell, and what we can learn from it

Lord Byron described Greece as great, fallen, and immortal, a characterization more apt than he knew. Through most of its long history, Greece was poor. But in the classical era, Greece was densely populated and highly urbanized. Many surprisingly healthy Greeks lived in remarkably big houses and worked for high wages at specialized occupations. Middle-class spending drove sustained economic growth and classical wealth produced a stunning cultural efflorescence lasting hundreds of years.

Why did Greece reach such heights in the classical period--and why only then? And how, after the Greek miracle had endured for centuries, did the Macedonians defeat the Greeks, seemingly bringing an end to their glory? Drawing on a massive body of newly available data and employing novel approaches to evidence, Josiah Ober offers a major new history of classical Greece and an unprecedented account of its rise and fall.

Ober argues that Greece's rise was no miracle but rather the result of political breakthroughs and economic development. The extraordinary emergence of citizen-centered city-states transformed Greece into a society that defeated the mighty Persian Empire. Yet Philip and Alexander of Macedon were able to beat the Greeks in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BCE, a victory made possible by the Macedonians' appropriation of Greek innovations. After Alexander's death, battle-hardened warlords fought ruthlessly over the remnants of his empire. But Greek cities remained populous and wealthy, their economy and culture surviving to be passed on to the Romans--and to us.

A compelling narrative filled with uncanny modern parallels, this is a book for anyone interested in how great civilizations are born and die.

This book is based on evidence available on a new interactive website. To learn more, please visit: http: //polis.stanford.edu/.

The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece

Author Bio

Josiah Ober, Mitsotakis Professor in the School of Humanities and Science, works on historical institutionalism and political theory, focusing on the political thought and practice of the ancient Greek world and its contemporary relevance. 

He is the author of a number of books mostly published by Princeton University Press, including Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989), Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (2008), Democracy and Knowledge (2008). 

He has also published about 75 articles and chapters, including recent articles in American Political Science Review, Philosophical Studies, Hesperia, Polis, and Transactions of the American Philological Association. 

His book on The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece was published in Spring 2015, from Princeton University Press.  It  documents and explains the remarkable Greek efflorescence of ca. 800-300 BCE, the Macedonian conquest of the late fourth century, and the persistence of economic flourishing into the Hellenistic era. 

Other work in progress includes a general theory of democracy, a study of rational cooperation and useful knowledge in Greek political thought.

 

Source: Stanford Department of Classics 

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