Ancient Greece - Resource Bibliography

Publications - Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks - A Critical History

By John V. A. Fine
Belknap Press (1983)
736 Pages

An esteemed teacher offers a major reassessment of the history of Greece from prehistoric times to the rise of Alexander. This is a work of prodigious scholarship written in grand style. The Ancient Greeks is a splendid narrative history and a refreshing reinterpretation that will please students of ancient history, and everyone interested in early civilizations.

 

The Best Publication on Ancient Greece!

Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times

By Thomas R. Martin
Yale Press (2013)
328 Pages

In this compact yet comprehensive history of ancient Greece, Thomas R. Martin brings alive Greek civilization from its Stone Age roots to the fourth century B.C. Focusing on the development of the Greek city-state and the society, culture, and architecture of Athens in its Golden Age, Martin integrates political, military, social, and cultural history in a book that will appeal to students and general readers alike.

A Great Book for an overview of Ancient Greece!

Mythology

By Edith Hamilton
Grand Central Publishing (2011)
512 Pages

Edith Hamilton's mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture-the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present. 


We follow the drama of the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus. We hear the tales of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Cupid and Psyche, and mighty King Midas. 

Mythology is a classic not to be missed!

The Library of Greek Mythology

By Apollodorus
Oxford Press
336 Pages

Apollodorus' Library has been used as a source book by classicists from the time of its compilation in the 1st-2nd century BC to the present, influencing writers from antiquity to Robert Graves. It provides a complete history of Greek myth, telling the story of each of the great families of heroic mythology, and the various adventures associated with the main heroes and heroines, from Jason and Perseus to Heracles and Helen of Troy.

 

As a primary source for Greek myth, as a reference work, and as an indication of how the Greeks themselves viewed their mythical traditions, the Library is indispensable to anyone who has an interest in classical mythology.

The only work of its kind to survive from classical antiquity!

The Oxford History of Greece & the Hellenistic World

By John Boardman (Editor)
Oxford Press (2002)
520 Pages

The legacy of the Hellenistic world is vast--it ranges from architecture to philosophy, literature, and the visual arts to military strategy and science. 

This authoritative study covers the period from the eighth century BC, which witnessed the emergence of the Greek city-states, to the conquests of Alexander the Great and the establishment of the Greek monarchies some five centuries later.

A comprehensive view of the ancient Greek world!

The Mycenaeans

By Lord William Taylor
Thames and Hudson (1965)
180 Pages

This publication studies the distinctive culture of the Mycenaeans, examining the architectural, engineering and artistic achievements of this civilization which dominated the pre-Classical era of Greek history.

A leading college textbook for years!

Theogony and Works and Days

By Hesiod
Oxford Press
112 Pages

This new, fully-annotated translation by a leading expert on Hesiodic poems combines accuracy with readability and includes an introduction and explanatory notes on these two works.

The Theogony contains a systematic genealogy and account of the struggles of the gods, and the Works and Days offers a compendium of moral and practical advice for a life of honest husbandry.

Classic Greek Poetry by one of the oldest Greek poets! 

The Cambridge Companion to Homer

By Robert Fowler
Cambridge Press (2004)
444 Pages

The two Homeric poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, have long been considered masterpieces, and their influence on subsequent Greek and Western literature has been immense. An international team of experts discusses the poems, their background and composition, and subsequent reception to the present day. Each chapter features contemporary critical insights and closes with a guide to further reading on the topic.

Edited by Robert Fagles...

The Iliad

By Homer
Translated By Robert Fagles
Penguin Classics (1998)
704 Pages

Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, brings the energy of contemporary language to this enduring heroic epic.

 

He maintains the drive and metric music of Homer’s poetry, and evokes the impact and nuance of the Iliad’s mesmerizing repeated phrases in what Peter Levi calls “an astonishing performance.

The World's Greatest War Epic!

The Odyssey

By Homer
Translated By Robert Fagles
Penguin Classics (1999)
560 Pages

If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, the Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of an everyman's journey through life. Odysseus' reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War is at once a timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance. 

In the myths and legends  retold here, Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom, and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. 

The very best in Greek storytelling!

The Argonautika

By Apollonios Rhodios
University of California (2008)
524 Pages

The Argonautika is a retelling of the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, probably the oldest extant Greek myth. Peter Green's lively, readable verse translation captures the swift narrative movement of Apollonios's epic Greek. This expanded paperback edition contains Green's incisive commentary, introduction, and glossary. 

The only surviving epic of the Hellenistic era!

The Spartans

By L.F. Fitzhardinge
Thames & Hudson (1980)
180 Pages

Maintaining that classical writers perpetuated a myth about Sparta, Fitzhardinge uses contemporary written evidence and the latest archaeological findings to provide an account of Spartan life and more.

This publication remains a Classic with historians and scholars alike!

The Greeks Until Alexander

By R. M. Cook
Frederick A. Praeger (1966)
264 Pages

Robert Cook’s concise and vivid style is admirably suited to the kind of text with which we have by now become very familiar in the many volumes that have appeared in the Ancient Peoples and Places series.

 

His earlier experience in writing handbooks has served him well and he has been able to distill the meaningful essence out of our vast knowledge of ancient Greece between the Dorian Invasion of the late 12th century B.C. and the rise to power of Alexander the Great in 338 B.C.

Becoming a rare, hard to find pubication!

The Rise and Fall of Athens - Nine Greek Lives

By Plutarch
Penguin Classics
320 Pages

Nine Greek biographies illustrate the rise and fall of Athens, from the legendary days of Theseus, the city's founder, through Solon, Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, Pericles, Nicias, and Alcibiades, to the razing of its walls by Lysander.

Aesop's Fables

By Aesop
Oxford Press (2002)
356 Pages

The fables of Aesop have become one of the most enduring traditions of European culture, ever since they were first written down nearly two millennia ago. Aesop was reputedly a tongue-tied slave who miraculously received the power of speech; from his legendary storytelling came the collections of prose and verse fables scattered throughout Greek and Roman literature. First published in English by Caxton in 1484, the fables and their morals continue to charm modern readers: who does not know the story of the tortoise and the hare, or the boy who cried wolf?

 

This new translation is the first to represent all the main fable collections in ancient Latin and Greek, arranged according to the fables' contents and themes. It includes 600 fables, many of which come from sources never before translated into English.

The Origins of Children Stories!

On Sparta

By Plutarch
Penguin Classics
304 Pages

Plutarch’s vivid and engaging portraits of the Spartans and their customs are a major source of our knowledge about the rise and fall of their remarkable Greek city-state between the sixth and third centuries BC.

 

Through his Lives of Sparta’s leaders and his recording of memorable Spartan Sayings, he depicts a people who lived frugally and mastered their emotions in all aspects of life, who disposed of unhealthy babies in a deep chasm, introduced a grueling regimen of military training for boys, and treated their serfs brutally. 

The Greek Philosophers - From Thales to Aristotle

By W. K. C. Guthrie
Routledge (2012)
178 Pages

W.K.C. Guthrie has written a survey of the great age of Greek philosophy—from Thales to Aristotle—which combines comprehensiveness with brevity. Without pre-supposing a knowledge of Greek or the Classics, he sets out to explain the ideas of Plato and Aristotle in the light of their predecessors rather than their successors, and to describe the characteristic features of the Greek way of thinking and outlook on the world.

 

Thus, The Greek Philosophers provides excellent background material for the general reader—as well as providing a firm basis for specialist studies.

Pythagoras - His Life and Teachings

By Thomas Stanley
Nicolas-Hays, Inc (2010)
352 Pages

The timeless brilliance of this exhaustive survey of the best classical writers of antiquity on Pythagoras was first published in 1687 in Thomas Stanley's massive tome, The History of Philosophy. It remains as contemporary today as it was over three hundred years ago. The text of the 1687 book has been reset and modernized to make it more accessible to the modern reader.

First Published in 1687!

The Battle of Marathon

By Peter Krentz
Yale Press (2010)
251 Pages

How did the city-state of Athens defeat the invaders from Persia, the first world empire, on the plain of Marathon in 490 B.C.?

Clever scholars skeptical of our earliest surviving source, Herodotus, have produced one ingenious theory after another. In this stimulating new book, bound to provoke controversy, Peter Krentz argues that Herodotus was right after all!

The Battle of Salamis

By Barry Strauss
Simon & Schuster (2005)
294 Pages

On a late September day in 480 B.C., Greek warships faced an invading Persian armada in the narrow Salamis Straits in the most important naval battle of the ancient world!

In this dramatic new narrative account, historian and classicist Barry Strauss brings this landmark battle to life. He introduces us to the unforgettable characters whose decisions altered history.

The Oresteia

By Aeschylus
Penguin Classics
336 Pages

In the Oresteia Aeschylus addressed the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos. As they move from darkness to light, from rage to self-governance, from primitive ritual to civilized institution, their spirit of struggle and regeneration becomes an everlasting song of celebration.

The only trilogy in Greek drama that survives from antiquity!

The Three Theban Plays

By Sophocles
Penguin Classics
430 Pages

Towering over the rest of Greek tragedy, the three plays that tell the story of the fated Theban royal family—Antigone, Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus—are among the most enduring and timeless dramas ever written.

 

Robert Fagles's authoritative and acclaimed translation conveys all of Sophocles's lucidity and power: the cut and thrust of his dialogue, his ironic edge, the surge and majesty of his choruses and, above all, the agonies and triumphs of his characters. 

The most famous Greek Tragedy!

The Histories

By Herodotus
Penguin Classics
771 Pages

Here is the historian, investigating and judging what he has seen, heard, and read, and seeking out the true causes and consequences of the great deeds of the past. In his History, the war between the Greeks and Persians, the origins of their enmity, and all the more general features of the civilizations of the world of his day are seen as a unity and expressed as the vision of one man who as a child lived through the last of the great acts in this universal drama.

From the Father of History!

History of the Peloponnesian War

By Thucydides
Penguin Classics
648 Pages

Written four hundred years before the birth of Christ, this detailed contemporary account of the struggle between Athens and Sparta stands an excellent chance of fulfilling the author's ambitious claim that the work "was done to last forever." The conflicts between the two empires over shipping, trade, and colonial expansion came to a head in 431 b.c. in Northern Greece, and the entire Greek world was plunged into 27 years of war. Thucydides applied a passion for accuracy and a contempt for myth and romance in compiling this exhaustively factual record of the disastrous conflict that eventually ended the Athenian empire.

The First War Documentary!

Expedition to Disaster

By Philip Matyszak
Pen and Sword (2013)
192 Pages

The Athenian expedition to conquer Sicily was one of the pivotal events of the classical period. At this time (415 BC), Athens was locked in a decades-long struggle with Sparta for mastery of the Greek world. The expedition to Sicily was intended to give Athens the extra money and resources to crush the Spartans.

 

Philip Matyszak's combination of thorough research and gripping narrative makes him the perfect man to do justice to this famous story.

You won't believe the bad decisions made on this ill fated expedition!

A History of My Times

By Xenophon
Penguin Classics
432 Pages

Xenophon's History recounts nearly fifty turbulent years of warfare in Greece between 411 and 362 BC. Continuing the story of the Peloponnesian War at the point where Thucydides finished his magisterial history, this is a fascinating chronicle of the conflicts that ultimately led to the decline of Greece, and the wars with both Thebes and the might of Persia.

Socrates - A Life Examined

By Luis E. Navia
Prometheus Books (2007)
291 Pages

Philosopher Luis E. Navia presents a compelling portrayal of Socrates in this very readable and well-researched book, which is both a biography of the man and an exploration of his ideas. Through a critical and documented study of the major ancient sources about Socrates — in the writings of Aristophanes, Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle — Navia reconstructs a surprisingly consistent portrait of this enigmatic philosopher.

One of the most influential thinkers in history!

The Cambridge Companion to Socrates

By Donald R. Morrison
Cambridge Press (2010)
433 Pages

The Cambridge Companion to Socrates is a collection of essays providing a comprehensive guide to Socrates, the most famous Greek philosopher. Because Socrates himself wrote nothing, our evidence comes from the writings of his friends (above all Plato), his enemies, and later writers. Socrates is thus a literary figure as well as a historical person. Both aspects of Socrates' legacy are covered in this volume. 

The Cambridge Companion to Plato

By Richard Kraut
Cambridge Press (1992)
580 Pages

Plato stands as the foundation of our philosophical tradition, being the first Western thinker to produce a body of writing that touches upon a wide range of topics still discussed by philosophers today. In a sense he invented philosophy as a distinct subject, for although many of these topics were discussed by his intellectual predecessors and contemporaries, he was the first to bring them together by giving them a unitary treatment. 

Plato - The Complete Works

By Plato 
Hackett Publishing
1838 Pages

Outstanding translations by leading contemporary scholars--many commissioned especially for this volume--are presented here in the first single edition to include the entire surviving corpus of works attributed to Plato in antiquity. In his introductory essay, John Cooper explains the presentation of these works, discusses questions concerning the chronology of their composition, comments on the dialogue form in which Plato wrote, and offers guidance on approaching the reading and study of Plato's works.

The complete work in one volume!

The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle

By Jonathan Barnes
Cambridge Press (1995)
434 Pages

Aristotle is one of the greatest thinkers in the Western tradition, but also one of the most difficult. The contributors to this volume do not attempt to disguise the nature of that difficulty, but at the same time they offer a clear exposition of the central philosophical concerns in his work. Approaches and methods vary and the volume editor has not imposed any single interpretation, but has rather allowed differences of interpretation to stand.

Aristotle - The Complete Works

By Aristotle

Princeton Press (1984)

1256 Pages

The Oxford Translation of Aristotle was originally published in 12 volumes between 1912 and 1954. It is universally recognized as the standard English version of Aristotle. This revised edition contains the substance of the original Translation, slightly emended in light of recent scholarship; three of the original versions have been replaced by new translations; and a new and enlarged selection of Fragments has been added.

The complete work in two volumes!

Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

By Richard A. Gabriel
Potomac Books (2010)
318 Pages

To Philip belongs the title of the first great general of a new age of warfare in the West, an age that he initiated with his introduction of a new instrument of war, the Macedonian phalanx, and the tactical doctrines to ensure its success. As a practitioner of the political art, Philip also had no equal. In all these things, Philip exceeded Alexander’s triumphs.

This book establishes Philip’s legitimate and deserved place in military history!

Alexander the Great - Son of the Gods

By Alan Fildes and Joann Fletcher
Oxford Press (2002)
176 Pages

Famous for more than two millennia for the amazing deeds that he accomplished in his short life of thirty-two years, King Alexander III of Macedon is the most celebrated figure of classical antiquity. Alexander the Great: Son of the Gods presents, in a year-by-year chronicle, an intimate and fascinating portrait of the man who, in less than two decades, created the greatest empire the world had ever seen and acquired a semi-mythic status that persists today.

One of the top publications on Alexander the Great!

The Campaigns of Alexander

By Arrian
Penguin Classics 
432 Pages

Although written over four hundred years after Alexander’s death, Arrian’s Campaigns of Alexander is the most reliable account of the man and his achievements we have. Arrian’s own experience as a military commander gave him unique insights into the life of the world’s greatest conqueror. He tells of Alexander’s violent suppression of the Theban rebellion, his total defeat of Persia, and his campaigns through Egypt, India and Babylon – establishing new cities and destroying others in his path.

'His passion was for glory only, and in that he was insatiable'

Ghost on the Throne

By James Romm
Vintage (2012)
416 Pages

When Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-two, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea in the west all the way to modern-day India in the east. In an unusual compromise, his two heirs — a mentally damaged half brother, Philip III, and an infant son, Alexander IV, born after his death — were jointly granted the kingship. But six of Alexander’s Macedonian generals fought to gain supremacy. 

James Romm brings to life the cutthroat competition and the struggle for control of the Greek world’s greatest empire!

Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Robin Waterfield
Oxford Press (2012)
304 Pages

Alexander the Great conquered an enormous empire--stretching from Greece to the Indian subcontinent--and his death triggered forty bloody years of world-changing events. These were years filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women, such as Alexander's mother Olympias, schemed from their palaces and pavilions.

Twelve Greek and Romans Who Changed the World

By Carl J. Richard
Rowman & Littlefield (2003)
270 Pages

Carl J. Richard brings to life a group of men whose contributions fundamentally altered western society. In this compelling narrative, readers encounter a rich cast of characters, including eloquent Homer, shrewd Pericles, fiery Alexander, idealistic Plato, ambitious Caesar, dedicated Paul, and passionate Augustine.

 

As he vibrantly describes the contributions of the individuals, Richard details the historical context in which each lived, showing how these men influenced their world and ours.

Twilight of the Hellenistic World

By Mike Roberts & Bob Bennett
Pen and Sword (2012)
256 Pages

This book recounts and analyzes the complex series of conflicts between the Hellenistic Successor states in the generation before the Romans intervened in, and ultimately conquered, the region. This period is rarely treated in any depth, usually warranting little more than a summary as context for a discussion of the Roman conquests. The authors demonstrate that this period of almost-constant conflict and rivalry makes a fascinating subject of study in its own right. 

Ancient Greek and Roman Coins

By Zander H. Klawans
Western Pub. Co (1995)
287 Pages

This book is an excellent introduction to the many Greek and Roman coins that have survived to modern times and gives you information to help you identify the ancient coins of interest. 

The best guide for coin collectors and historians!

 

The Great Courses - Ancient Greece

 

Documentaries - Ancient Greece

Ancient Discoveries

2003 – History

We think of solar energy, electricity, surgery and computers as modern inventions, but these and other technologies have their roots in the distant past, as evidenced in this fascinating program from The History Channel. Journey back in time to ancient civilizations to uncover the remarkable machines, weapons and vehicles created centuries ago, and learn how they affected the development of their modern counterparts.

The Odyssey of Troy

1994 – A/E

The Trojan War was a legendary battle, fought between the Spartan king Menelaus and Paris, Prince of Troy, over Helen, the woman so beautiful that 'her face could launch a thousand ships'. The setting for the final showdown was the fabled city of Troy. But did it ever exist and did the war really happen?

Discovering Greece

2001 – Questar

This well-crafted video explores the geography, history and zeitgeist of sunbaked Greece, where ancient peoples planted the seeds of ideas that still bloom in contemporary Western art, culture and politics. Highlights include the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the islands of Crete and Corfu, and Mount Olympus, among others.

The Greek Gods

1997 - History

Their exploits were recorded and passed down through countless generations. Their images inspired some of the most beautiful art ever created. Their names echo throughout history. From their mythical home atop Mount Olympus, the Greek gods played an integral part in Ancient Greek life. The History Channel explores the fascinating history of these enduring figures through period accounts, interviews with renowned historians and classicists, and stunning location footage, including glimpses into the gods' phenomenal temples.

The Spartans

2004 - PBS

PBS's The Spartans is a well-researched, well-paced three-hour documentary telling you everything an armchair Lambda-wearing Hoplite would ever want to know about Greece's legendary warriors.

The Greek and Persian Wars

2009 – Cromwell

This is the story of the bloody conflicts between the Greeks and the Persians that lasted for more than 50 years in the 4th century BC. It includes the famous battle of Marathon, a victory that has echoed down the years, and Thermopylae, where the Spartans made a heroic defense of the pass.

Secrets of Archaeology

2003 – A&E

Take a virtual tour through rediscovered cities and see archaeological sites as their inhabitants saw them centuries ago. Explore the magnificent city of Pompeii, the architectural treasures of the Roman Empire, the legendary city of Troy, the mighty pyramids of the pharaohs and much more in this comprehensive 6 disc collection.

Hoplite Warfare

2009 – Cromwell

For centuries, adventurers and Egyptologists have crawled through every passageway and chamber of the Pyramid, measuring and collecting data in an attempt to determine how it was built. For the first time, a revolutionary theory argues that the answer may be inside the Pyramid.

Engineering an Empire

2005 – History

The Ancient Greeks laid a foundation that has supported nearly 3000 years of European history, including philosophers, Olympian gods, the beginnings of democracy, and great conquering armies.

The True Story of Alexander the Great

2004 - History

Tutored by Aristotle, helpless witness to his father's assassination, and a brilliant, pioneering tactician, Alexander the Great had conquered the known world--and sealed his legacy as one of history's most remarkable rulers--by the age of 25. In the year 334 B.C., 20-year-old King Alexander of Macedonia decided to bring the farthest reaches of the world under one domain.

The True Story of Troy

2004 - History

It's the site of history's most legendary war and the Western world's oldest adventure story. According to myth it began with a rigged beauty contest and ended with a giant wooden horse unleashing utter destruction. Now archaeologists literary detectives and military analysts are uncovering evidence suggesting the war was really waged. From archaeological trenches at ancient Troy and the citadel fortress of King Agamemnon from Homer to Hollywood we search for the true story of Troy.

The Minotaur's Island

2008 – Acorn Media

This documentary examines the Minoan civilization, which thrived on the island of Crete more than 5,000 years ago and then suddenly collapsed, leaving behind fascinating ruins, relics and the myth of the Minotaur. Historian Bettany Hughes visits several of the civilization's key sites, tracing archaeological findings to gather clues about the social and political landscape of this mysterious society -- and why it came to such an abrupt end.

Clash of the Gods

2010 – History

Dive deep into the sacred realm of the ancients with this History Channel documentary series that recounts and examines the mythologies of Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and other lands, including tales of Greece's king of gods, Zeus. Revealing how these stories continue to shape Western thought and culture, the program also explores the trials of mighty Odysseus, the terrible fate of Medusa, and the legends of other gods, heroes and monsters.

The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization

2005 – PBS

Dramatic storytelling and state-of-the-art computer animation re-create Classical Greece of the 4th and 5th centuries, B.C, founder of modern science, politics, warfare, philosophy, and source of breathtaking art and architecture. This dazzling production charts the rise, triumph, and eventual decline of the world's first democracy. Witness it all through the eyes of Pericles, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

The Rise and Fall of the Spartans

2010 – History

They were the finest fighters of the ancient world. Their bravery and skill helped preserve Western Civilization in the face of a massive invasion from the east. Concepts they developed, like the boot camp/military service and frontal assault, remain fixtures of military life and tactics to this day. Along with the Athenians with whom they fought a decades-long war they helped to shape, advance and preserve the glory that was Greece.

The First Olympics

2004 – History

Return to ancient Greece and witness the Bacchanalian excess and raw competition of THE FIRST OLYMPICS. While the gods looked down brutal contests of boxing wrestling chariot racing and an early form of no-holds-barred fighting called Pankration raged within the bloodied arena.

Terry Jones – Barbarians