Everyday Life in Ancient Greece
by Cyril Robinson
Published in June 1933
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
This book is an excellent short introduction to ancient Greek history. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick and easy read about ancient Greece.
The topic of the book is very interesting. Instead of focusing on nobles, warriors, and philosophers, Robinson explores the lives of ordinary people. He succeeds at keeping the reader’s interest without dramatizing history. Many authors who have attempted at writing histories of ordinary people often slip into Marxism. Robinson succeeds in keeping his book almost completely apolitical.
Cyril Robinson’s style of writing is very compelling. His sentences are always clear. He wastes no ink on superfluous information, yet never fails to include any of the important details.
I found the chapter on Sparta to be particularly interested. I didn’t realize how militarized the life of the ordinary people were, and had previously assumed that only a small elite class was bound by fascistic Spartan law.
My only reproach is that this book was written in 1933, before the advent of forensic archeology. This forces Robinson to rely almost entirely on historical accounts. As any lawyer knows, eyewitness testimony is the least reliable evidence in court, and forensic evidence is the strongest.
Everyday Life in Ancient Greece is a good and short read, easily accessible to people who don’t know very much about history and non-native English speakers that manages to keep more knowledgable readers engaged.
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