More than four thousand years ago, a warrior people invaded the rugged hills and fertile plains of the Balkan Peninsula. These people were the ancient Greeks, and their legacy to modern global society is immense. The Greeks invented democracy, narrative history writing, stage tragedy and comedy, philosophy, biological study, and political theory. They introduced the alphabet to European languages and they developed monumental styles of architecture still used throughout the United States for museums, courthouses, and other public buildings. They created a system of sports competitions and a cult of physical fitness, both of which we have inherited. In sculpture, they perfected the representation of the human body. In geometry, they developed theorems and terminology that are still taught in schools. They created the idea of national literature, with its recognized great writers and the libraries to preserve their work. And, perhaps what most people would think of first, the Greeks bequeathed to us their treasure trove of myths, including a hero who remains a favorite todayHercules.
A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World assembles the people, places, events, and ideas of this spectacular civilization in one easy-to-use source. With over five hundred entries and more than seventy line-drawings, this essential A-Z reference covers every aspect of Greek civilization, from the beginning of Minoan civilization in the third millennium B.C. to the Roman annexation of mainland Greece in 146 B.C. Detailing not only the loftiest achievements of the Greeks but also the ordinary facets of their everyday lifefrom the philosophy of Plato to Greek sexual attitudesthis extraordinary compendium illuminates the vitality and genius of that influential culture.