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The Classical World

The Foundations of the West and the Enduring Legacy of Antiquity

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A masterly investigation into the Classical roots of Western civilization, taking the reader on an illuminating journey from Troy, Athens, and Sparta to Utopia, Alexandria, and Rome.

An authoritative and accessible study of the foundations, development, and enduring legacy of the cultures of Greece and Rome, centered on ten locations of seminal importance in the development of Classical civilization.

Starting with Troy, where history, myth and cosmology fuse to form the origins of Classical civilization, Nigel Spivey explores the contrasting politics of Athens and Sparta, the diffusion of classical ideals across the Mediterranean world, Classical science and philosophy, the eastward export of Greek culture with the conquests of Alexander the Great, the power and spread of the Roman imperium, and the long Byzantine twilight of Antiquity.

Nigel Spivey is Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology at Cambridge. He wrote Songs on Bronze: The Greek Myths Made Real and The Ancient Olympics and presented the television series "How Art Made the World" for the BBC. He lives in Cambridge.

"Engaging. A concise guide to the myriad events that helped to shape our culture."

– The New Criterion

"A grand ‘traverse of classical civilization.’  Just one of the delightful aspects of this book is the author’s penchant to throw in Greek and/or Latin sources for many of our words. He also provides countless telling details about each period in a way that makes ancient history feel fresh and invigorating. Anyone with the slightest curiosity about ancient classics will love this book. Shelve next to the work of Mary Beard."

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Spivey’s descriptions of historical facts and personages read smoothly. A serviceable overall look at Graeco-Roman history and its ideals."

– Library Journal