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By Josiah Ober

Lord Byron defined Greece as nice, fallen, and immortal, a characterization extra apt than he knew. via such a lot of its lengthy background, Greece was once terrible. yet within the classical period, Greece was once densely populated and hugely urbanized. Many unusually fit Greeks lived in remarkably mammoth homes and labored for top wages at really expert occupations. Middle-class spending drove sustained fiscal progress and classical wealth produced a gorgeous cultural efflorescence lasting thousands of years.

Why did Greece achieve such heights within the classical period--and why simply then? and the way, after "the Greek miracle" had persevered for hundreds of years, did the Macedonians defeat the Greeks, likely bringing an finish to their glory? Drawing on an enormous physique of newly to be had facts and making use of novel techniques to proof, Josiah Ober deals an enormous new heritage of classical Greece and an unparalleled account of its upward thrust and fall.

Ober argues that Greece's upward push was once no miracle yet particularly the results of political breakthroughs and financial improvement. the extreme emergence of citizen-centered city-states reworked Greece right into a society that defeated the strong Persian Empire. but Philip and Alexander of Macedon have been capable of beat the Greeks within the conflict of Chaeronea in 338 BCE, a victory made attainable by way of the Macedonians' appropriation of Greek concepts. After Alexander's demise, battle-hardened warlords fought ruthlessly over the remnants of his empire. yet Greek towns remained populous and filthy rich, their economic climate and tradition surviving to be handed directly to the Romans--and to us.

A compelling narrative full of uncanny glossy parallels, this can be a booklet for someone drawn to how nice civilizations are born and die.

This ebook is predicated on facts to be had on a brand new interactive web site. to profit extra, please stopover at: http://polis.stanford.edu/.

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Classical Greek triremes have been three-­banked oared galleys, powered by means of huge (ca. 180-­man) crews of rowers. The manpower for the newly developed ships used to be recruited from the ranks of the poorer electorate (the lowest Solonian source of revenue class), who thereby turned complete individuals within the Athenian safeguard institution. there's no trace in our assets that the notion to reinforce Athenian sea strength was once hostile through the middle-­ category soldiers who manned the land military. that during flip means that the extent of belief throughout social periods within the Athenian citizen physique used to be excessive sufficient that the hoplites felt no use to guard a monopoly at the employment of geared up violence within the state’s curiosity. by way of the 480s, and possibly good sooner than, it was once transparent that judgements in regards to the Athenian army, the way it will be constructed, and the way deployed, have been being made by way of the citizenry and never via a closed coalition of experts in violence. concerns with Persia got here to a head back in 481; a huge overland invasion of Greece, via Thrace and Thessaly, used to be impending. Athens needed to make a decision what to do earlier than the Persians neared Attica. After enormous debate, the Athenians followed a plan, encouraged by way of Themistocles, to evacuate the inhabitants of the polis to the Peloponnese, and, along with different Greek states, to problem the Persians at sea. the outcome used to be the dramatic Greek victory on the naval conflict of Salamis, off the coast of Athens, in 480. Salamis manage a decisive land conflict the subsequent 12 months at Boeotian Plataea, during which the soldiers of Athens, Sparta, and the Peloponnesian League states defeated an elite Persian strength of infantry and cavalry. a last naval conflict, at aspect Mycale at the principal Anatolian coast (map 7), sealed the Greek victory. It used to be visible to every body within the Greek global that the struggle opposed to Persia might by no means were gained with no Sparta’s specialist citizen-­ infantry and its skill to muster the Peloponnesian League. yet neither might it were received with no Athens’ huge citizen-­navy. Athens had, over the process a new release, joined the ranks of the Greek superpoleis.

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