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Ancient Greece

When we think of Ancient Greece, what we usually have in mind are the Classical or Hellenistic eras—the Archaic Period is murky and uncertain, the lines between myth and reality unhelpfully blurred. Classical Greece (and the more universal Hellenistic Period that followed) are fortunately well-documented, and for those who've studied Western history, by now quite familiar.

The entity we call Western Civilization began, by most accounts, in Greece. Dates are fluid, but we do know a few: the Persian Wars began in 490 BC and lasted till 449; the Peloponnesian Wars dragged from 431-404 BC; the philosopher Plato was born around 428 BC and lived about 80 years; his brightest pupil, Aristotle, was born in 384 BC, living to approximately 61 years.

And, of course, in 336 BC Alexander the Great became king of Macedon and invaded Asia Minor two years later. This initiated the Hellenistic Age in which Greek thought, culture, language, and warfare was distributed throughout the known world at an extremely rapid pace and with almost evangelistic fervor. The era isn't greatly distinguishable from the Classical Period that preceded it, except that the Classical ideals were more aggressively distributed throughout the rest of Europe and Western Asia.

So what were these ideals? and how were they responsible for shaping the Western world? In many ways we could boil it down to a single word: philosophy (though not in the restrictive sense we tend to use that word nowadays). The ancient Eastern and Near Eastern cultures involved a spiritual element oddly lacking in the salient elements of Greek culture, a religiosity foreign to the temporally-minded Balkans.

During the Archaic Period (roughly 800-400 BC), Greek culture began to develop in earnest after a protracted Dark Ages from which not much emerged but extensive warfare and the early stages of the city-state polis. In the four hundred years prior to the Classical Era, the city-state evolved into the dominant governmental form (largely due to geographical concerns), tragic theater formed, and the first philosophers began contemplating the world.

Philosophy to those of us in the post-Enlightenment refers to a highly academic pursuit involving truth-constructions, advanced logic, and the perception and analysis of facts to create interpretations of reality. It's all very abstruse, and for most 20th and 21st century philosophers (by their own admission) no more than an intellectual game.

In ancient Greece, philosophy was a search for Truth. It encompassed science, mathematics, music and art, literature, and the activity Aristotle believed was man's highest end: contemplation. The word comes from two Greek words—philos meaning love, and sophia meaning wisdom; thus, love of wisdom—and is the summation of the Greek cultural project.

What set the Greeks apart from their Eastern neighbors was their starting point. The Jews had philosophy of a sort (expressed best in the books of Job and Ecclesiastes), the races Alexander conquered in India had philosophy, the Egyptians to the south certainly had religiously-informed philosophy. But they all began with some kind of religious contruct and authority system; the Greeks began with man's ability to reason.

It wasn't that they didn't have religion or gods, either. But their gods were strangely human, even by ancient polytheistic standards, and served rather to celebrate man's mannishness (to borrow a phrase from Schaeffer) than any distinctly divine attributes. Man was the measure of all things for the Greeks, and they set out trying to understand everything from his perspective.

Some of the greatest accomplishments in the arts and thought were the result. Socrates was the father of philosophy; his accolyte, Plato, one of its greatest champions; and his successor, Aristotle, arguably the greatest philosopher who ever lived. The architecture and statuary of the period, the scientific advances, the literature (The Iliad and The Odyssey, the works of Aristophanes, Euripides, and Herodotus), the political science, all laid the foundation for what would come later in the West.

Without a relatively comprehensive understanding of ancient Greece and its culture, we have no real basis for understanding the subsequent 3000 years of Western history, or even our own time. The ideas of Medieval Scholasticism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, modernism, and postmodernism are all based in ideas developed in the Classical period in a relatively out-of-the-way region of the second smallest continent. Because it's such an important era, we offer a wide range of materials for every age and reading level.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

 

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303 Items found Print
Adventures of Hercules - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Bob Blaisdell & John Green
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Literary & Fantasy Coloring Books (Location: A02-02)
$2.99
Adventures of Ulysses
World Landmark #40
by Gerald Gottlieb
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in World Landmark Books (Location: A10-04D)
Adventures of Ulysses - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Bruce LaFontaine
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Literary & Fantasy Coloring Books (Location: A02-02)
$2.99
Aeneid for Boys and Girls
by Alfred J. Church
from Yesterday's Classics
Roman Mythology for 5th-8th grade
in Yesterday's Classics (Location: A11-02C)
$9.95
Aeschylus I: The Oresteia (old)
The Complete Greek Tragedies
by Aeschylus (translation by Richmond Lattimore)
from University of Chicago
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
$6.00 (3 in stock)
Aeschylus II: The Oresteia
The Complete Greek Tragedies
by Aeschylus (translation by Richmond Lattimore)
3rd edition from University of Chicago
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
$12.00 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Aeschylus' Oresteia
Penguin Classics
by Aeschylus (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
$13.00 $7.00 (4 in stock)
Aeschylus' Oresteia
Penguin Classics
by Aeschylus (translation by Phillip Vellacott)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
$12.00
Aesop's Fables
by Aesop
from Signet Classics
Fairy Tales & Fables for 10th grade-adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
$5.95 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Aesop's Fables
Puffin Classics
by Aesop
Reprint from Puffin Books
for Kindergarten-4th grade
$4.99
Alexander
by Simon Adams
from National Geographic
for 3rd-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Alexander the Great
by Robert Green
from Grolier Publishing
Biography for 4th-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
Alexander The Great
by Jane Bingham
from Usborne
for 4th-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
Alexander the Great
by Jacob Abbott
from Canon Press
for 4th-7th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$12.00
Alexander the Great
by Andrew Langley
Reissue from Oxford University
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.99
Alexander the Great
World Landmark #2
by John Gunther
from Random House
for 5th-8th grade
in World Landmark Books (Location: A10-04D)
Alexander the Great
by Demi
from Marshall Cavendish Education
for 1st-3rd grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$19.99
Alexander the Great
by Charles Mercer
from Harper & Row
for 4th-8th grade
in Horizon Caravel Books (Location: A10-03G)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
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by John K. Anderson
from Bellerophon Books
for 1st-4th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
Alexander the Great: His Armies and Campaigns 334-323 BC
by John Warry, Nick Sekunda
from Osprey Publishing
for 4th-7th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
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by Diana Waring
from Diana Waring Presents
History Curriculum for 4th-9th grade
in Diana Waring History Revealed (Location: B03-05B)
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Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece
by Michelle Miller
from TruthQuest History
History Curriculum for 5th-12th grade
Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks
in Clearance: History & Biographies (Location: BLG-07D)
$18.00
Ancient Greece
Art and Civilization
by Matilde Bardi
from Peter Bedrick Books
Ancient Greek History Reference for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
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by G. Bejor
from J. Paul Getty Museum
for 3rd-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$21.00 (1 in stock)
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by Christine Hatt
from Heinemann Educational Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$8.99
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by John D. Clare
from Gulliver Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$9.50 (1 in stock)
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by David Jeffries
from Teacher Created Materials, Inc.
for 4th-7th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$2.50 (1 in stock)
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by Sean Price
from Scholastic Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
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by Michelle Miller
from TruthQuest History
for 5th-12th grade
in TruthQuest History (Location: B04-01A)
$24.95 $17.50 (2 in stock)
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by Robert Nicholson
from Scholastic Inc.
for 3rd-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
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by Susan Altman, Susan Lechner
from Children's Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
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by John Malam
from Peter Bedrick Books
for 4th-9th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Ancient Greece of Odysseus
by Peter Connolly
from Oxford University
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
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by Avery Hart & Paul Mantell
from Williamson Publishing Company
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$8.00 (2 in stock)
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by Susie Hodge
from Heinemann Educational Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$7.99 $5.50 (2 in stock)
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from Heinemann-Raintree
for 4th-8th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
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by Stephen Savage
from Stemmer House Publishers
for 3rd-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
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for 3rd-7th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
$9.50 (1 in stock)
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from Heinemann Educational Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
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for 5th-9th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: B02-03A)
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by Lori Verstegen
4th edition from Institute for Excellence in Writing
for 3rd-6th grade
in IEW Theme-Based Writing Lessons (Location: B16-03C)
$49.00
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Dover Thrift Editions
by Sophocles
from Dover Publications
Ancient Tragedy for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
$2.50 $1.50 (3 in stock)
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by Jeanne Bendick
from Bethlehem Books
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in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
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by Aristophanes, Paul Muldoon
from University of Pennsylvania Press
for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
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from Classical Historian
for Kindergarten-2nd grade
in Classical Historian: Take a Stand (Location: B04-01C)
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for 8th-10th grade
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
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Penguin Classics
by Euripides (translation by John Davies)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Tragedy for 11th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
$12.00
Bacchae and Other Plays
Penguin Classics
by Euripides (translation by Phillip Vellacott)
from Penguin Putnam
Ancient Tragedy for 11th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
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by Aristotle
from Modern Library
for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: CLT-ANC)
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by Cynthia Rylant
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for 4th-7th grade
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