View Full Version : Ancient Greece - Book Recommendations?

11-16-2010, 06:16 PM
I've been perusing Amazon, but thought I'd throw this out there and see if anyone has any particular books they'd recommend.

I'm researching Ancient Greece for a novel, and am looking for anything I can get my hands on. Books that delve into everything from mythology to warfare to daily life, from the earliest recorded history onward. Anything goes.

My library facilities are quite limited, and the bookstores here suck, so I have to make do with what I can get online. I'll even buy hard-to-find books (such as textbooks) off people if you have one you're looking to unload.

So...recommendations? Help me learn about Greece, yo. :D

11-16-2010, 08:19 PM
My knowledge of mythology is much better than my knowledge of history, so I'll stick with that. I recommend:

Larousse Greek and Roman mythology

Bullfinch's Age of Fable

Hesiod's Theogony
(not sure if this is the translation I read or not...there are many)

There was another which I read as a kid and which was quite good and well-organized but probably somewhat Bowdlerized. I'm having trouble remembering its title, though. If I think of it, I will post that too!

11-16-2010, 08:23 PM
PS there are also many other editions of Bullfinch, like this:

whimsical rabbit
11-16-2010, 09:43 PM
A good place to start would be Herodotus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodotus). He's called the 'Father of Greek history'.

Fiction-wise, you can read Homer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer), Sophocles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophocles)and Aeschylus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeschylus). Their fiction is often inspired by aspects of the ancient Greek history, and contains strong mythological elements, mostly dominated by ancient gods.

Another idea is to have a look at Steven Pressfield's novels (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_0?rh=k:steven+pressfield,n:266239,n:!1 025612,n:62&bbn=1025612&keywords=steven+pressfield&ie=UTF8&qid=1289928635&rnid=1025612). 'Gates of Fire' and 'Tides of War' have been especially praised.

Another major part of ancient Greek history is the Alexander the Great (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_great) era. Aristotle was his teacher, and his father, King Philip, united the Northern and Southern parts of Greece as we now know it.

Finally, if you want to reflect upon philosophical works, I'd say go for Aristotle or Socrates.

Any questions feel free to pm me. (I'm a Greek Rabbit :D)

11-16-2010, 10:19 PM
If you're interested in magic and superstition in ancient Greece, I highly recommend Christopher Faraone's "Magika Hiera: Ancient Greek Magic and Religion" as well as his "Ancient Greek Love Magic". Fascinating stuff, and it will keep you occupied for hours.

11-16-2010, 10:23 PM
An oldie but a goodie, The Greeks by H.D.F. Kitto.

Smiling Ted
11-17-2010, 05:49 AM

The Anabasis
The Hellenica

11-17-2010, 05:55 AM
Thank you all, this is very helpful. :) Keep 'em coming!

11-17-2010, 05:58 AM
Okay probably not too helpful, seeing as it's fiction, but I just really love telling people to read it :D

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series is not only a really good series, but definitely follows mythology. I learned a lot about Ancient Greece/Mythology while reading it. And it's fun to read!

Okay, we can go back to being scholarly now...

dolores haze
11-17-2010, 06:19 AM
Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity (http://www.amazon.com/Goddesses-Whores-Wives-Slaves-Classical/product-reviews/080521030X/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1) by Sarah Pomeroy

Scholarly work, but very readable.

Smiling Ted
11-17-2010, 07:54 AM
Also, Wikipedia's content on Ancient Greece is quite extensive.

Rufus Coppertop
11-17-2010, 08:40 AM
Some of what people have already mentioned. Faraone's Ancient Greek Love Magic and The Histories by Herodotus.

There is just so much!

Oeconomicus by Xenophon. (trans) Pomeroy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. Good for stuff about daily life and household issues.

As Ted says too, not only is the Wikipedia content good BUT .... it gives references and bibliography.

11-17-2010, 12:35 PM
I'll join in with a related request. I've had considerable trouble finding books on religious ritual and concrete descriptions of typical behaviour. All I've found is snippets in various works. My focus is ordinary people, not nobility.

I've had no problems finding books on the overall Greek history or about kings.

11-17-2010, 01:05 PM
Pausanias' Guide to Greece (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guide-Greece-Central-Penguin-Classics/dp/0140442251/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289984695&sr=1-1)