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Who were the ancient Greeks? They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. But what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? The ancient Greeks were a geographically disparate people whose civilisation lasted over twenty centuries – and that made us who we are today. And here Edith Hall gives us a revelatory way of viewing this scattered people, identifying ten unique personality traits that she shows to be unique and central to the widespread ancient Greeks. Hall introduces a people who are inquisitive, articulate and open-minded but also rebellious, individualistic, competitive and hedonistic. They prize excellence above all things but love to laugh. And, central to their identity, they are seafarers whose relationship with the sea underpins every aspect of their society. Expertly researched and elegantly told, this indispensable introduction unveils a civilisation of incomparable richness and a people of astounding complexity.
Edith Hall is one of Britain’s foremost classicists, having held posts at the universities of Royal Holloway, Cambridge, Durham, Reading, and Oxford. In 2015 she was awarded the Erasmus Medal of the European Academy, given to a scholar whose works represent a significant contribution to European culture and scientific achievement. She is the first woman to win this award. Hall regularly writes in the Times Literary Supplement, reviews theatre productions on radio, and has written and edited more than a dozen works on the ancient world. She teaches at King’s College London and lives in Gloucestershire.