May 15 2011

Alexander to Actium by Peter Green

I can’t possibly do justice to this monumental work in the short space allowed for Facebook book reviews, but I would just like to say that in additional to being informative and educational, this book was delightfully entertaining and enoyable. I am currently taking a course on the Hellenistic Age, but this book, combined with Green’s excellent biography of Alexander, has taught me far more about the subject than the class has so far. The neverending wars and political intrigues were confusing and a bit wearying, but Green’s discussion of Hellenistic art, literature, and philosophy was the highlight of this journey. The paradox is that although at this period Greek cuture was at its apogee of influence and penetration in the world, this was also a period that saw a distinct decline in the quality of that culture, although this was not something that the philistine Romans could have ever appreciated. For all Alexander’s martial glory, Hellenization is his only truly positive legacy.

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