From Polis to Empire, the Ancient World, c. 800 B.C.-A.D. 500: A Biographical Dictionary

From Polis to Empire, the Ancient World, c. 800 B.C.-A.D. 500: A Biographical Dictionary

From Polis to Empire, the Ancient World, c. 800 B.C.-A.D. 500: A Biographical Dictionary

From Polis to Empire, the Ancient World, c. 800 B.C.-A.D. 500: A Biographical Dictionary

Synopsis

Covering the very beginnings of Western civilization, this biographical dictionary introduces readers to the great cultural figures of the ancient world, including those who contributed significantly to architecture, astronomy, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, painting, sculpture, and theology. While focusing on great cultural figures of the Mediterranean basin, such as Homer, Sophocles, and Aristophanes, the volume also includes those who impinged on Greco-Roman Civilization such as Hannibal Barca and King Darius of Persia. Showing how the era's intellectual milieu was interwoven with its political agenda, the book also includes entries on major political and military figures, pointing to their cultural as well as their political contributions. With 480 entries, the book is an excellent basic reference for students seeking an understanding of the ancient world.

Excerpt

This volume in Greenwood's series of biographical dictionaries on the Great Cultural Eras of the Western World covers the time period roughly spanning the years 800 B.C. to A.D. 500. the volume differs from other biographical dictionaries in that its focus is cultural rather than political. As such, this biographical dictionary is weighed heavily in favor of those individuals who made significant contributions to the arts, including—though not limited to—the fields of architecture, astronomy, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, painting, sculpture, and theology. But as one cannot separate the arts from politics, one could not possibly have an understanding of the intellectual milieu of the ancient, classical, and late antique worlds without some knowledge of the policies and politics of figures such as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Constantine the Great. Therefore, while this volume considers the great political and military leaders of the period, it tries to emphasize their cultural contributions in addition to their political ones.

This volume covers such a large chronological period that only the briefest of introductions can be offered here. Its chronological scope begins with the archaic period of the eastern Mediterranean, advancing into the classical period of Greece, spanning the fifth century B.C. and the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars. It examines the period of the hegemons in Greece in the fourth century B.C., which ended with the victory of Philip II of Macedon at Chaeronea in 338 B.C. After Philip, Alexander ruled Macedon, conquering the Persian Empire and additional territory in India. After Alexander's death, the struggle of the Successors followed, thereby creating a social and geopolitical settlement commonly referred to as the Hellenistic world, consisting of three major empires: Antigonid (Macedon), Seleucid (Syria-Babylon), and Ptolemaic (Egypt). in the meantime, Rome had moved from a kingdom to a republic; after its victories in the three Punic Wars it rapidly became the master of the eastern Mediterranean. Rome defeated Macedon in 168 B.C. and again in 148 B.C., and in the following cen-

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