We are all classicists--we come into touch with the classics on a daily basis: in our culture, politics, medicine, architecture, language, and literature. What are the true roots of these influences, however, and how do our interpretations of these aspects of the classics differ from their original reality? This introduction to the classics begins with a visit to the British Museum to view the frieze which once decorated the Apollo Temple a Bassae. Through these sculptures John Henderson and Mary Beard prompt us to consider the significance of the study of Classics as a means of discovery and enquiry, its value in terms of literature, philosophy, and culture, its source of imagery, and the reasons for the continuation of these images into and beyond the twentieth century. Designed for the general reader and student alike, A Very Short Introduction to Classics challenges readers to adopt a fresh approach to the Classics as a major cultural influence, both in the ancient world and twentieth-century--emphasizing the continuing need to understand and investigate this enduring subject.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
this short and brilliant book ... is now re-issued in an attractive pocket-sized format ... amazing range of reference ... very clear organisation. JT, Anglo-Hellenic Review, No.22, 2000.
`nobody could fail to be informed and entertained - and the accent of the book is provocative and stimulating.'
`Lively, and up-to-date...it shows classics as a living enterprise, not a warehouse of relics.'
New Statesman and Society
`Beard and Henderson have suceeded brilliantly in communicating the sheer breadth of Classics in this Very Short Introduction.... In language accessible to non-specialist and student alike, Beard and Henderson illustrate how Classic encompasses not just a study of the ancient world, but also of its traditions of scholarship and its influence on the culture of the western world...... This book does not fail to challenge and provoke. Nor does it ignore the
problems and current issues that beset the subject and its teaching, but presents them even handedly and with humour, eschewing propaganda.... A stimulating addition to the school library.'
`The authors show us that Classics is a 'modern' and sexy subject. They succeed brilliantly in this regard nobody could fail to be informed and entertained-and the accent of the book is provocative and stimulating.'
John Goodwin, Times Literary Supplement
`Statues and slavery, temples and tragedies, museum, marbles, and mythology-this provocative guide to the Classics demystifies its varied subject-matter while seducing the reader with the obvious enthusiasm and pleasure which mark its writing.'
Edith Hall, author of Inventing the Barbarian
`You could not find two better introducers to the Classics than Mary Beard and John Henderson. They are questioning, funny, bold, and widely read in many fields. They could not be dull if they tried.'
Philip Howard, columnist for The Times
`This little book should be in the hands of every studentm and every tourist to the lands of the ancient world - a splendid piece of work.'
Peter Wiseman, author of Talking to Virgil
`For those who think Classics is just the dry as dust learning of dead languages this arresting book will come as a rude shock. This is no potted history of Greece and Rome, but a brillian demonstration that the continual re-excavation of our classical past is vital if the modern world is to rise to the challenge inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi to "Know yourself".'
Robin Osborne, author of Demos: The Discovery of Classical Attica
1. The Visit 2. On Site 3. Being There 4. A Guide in Hand 5. Beneath the Surface 6. Grand Theories 7. The Art of Reconstruction 8. The Greatest Show on Earth 9. Imagine That 10. 'Et in Arcadia Ego' Outline of Bassae Frieze Timelines Citations and Further Reading Index