A timely reassessment of the vital social, cultural, and political role of the aristocrat in Greek society, this book by distinguished historian Chester G. Starr provides a concise portrait of the upper classes and their way of life. Arguing that the influence of the aristocrat on ancient Hellenic civilization is undervalued by both modern Western and Marxist scholars, Starr takes a close look at the social spectrum of ancient Greece, examining the consequences of the aristocrats' domination of the ancient polis, their involvement in the patronage of the arts, and their impact on the structure of religion and on the ancient Greeks' visual perception of their pantheon of gods. In a final chapter, Starr concludes that the influence of the aristocratic ideal did not end when ancient civilization flickered out, but rather was reborn in the Renaissance and has had powerful effects on the course of modern Western history.
'This latest book forms one of a series of short presentations of aspects of archaic and classical Greece ... It is the shortest, the most personal and polemical of the group. The themes of the book are important, and the subject of much current debate among ancient historians ... The enterprise is interesting and constantly provokes agreement or reflection.'
Times Higher Education Supplement