I picked up The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece by Nigel Rodgers on a whim. I thought, “Hm, this might be nice to thumb through.” Did I thumb through it? No. I read it, and it was quite the endeavor.
This book starts with the Minoans and Mycenaeans, the precursors to the Greeks, and works its way through the history of Greece from about 3,000 B.C. to 600 A.D. Even when Greece was conquered first by Alexander the Great (from Macedonia which is pseudo-Greece) and then by Rome, the Grecian culture (aka Hellenism) wasn’t extinguished. In fact, it was spread throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The book was a very good look at Ancient Greece from the history to the art. It even looks at everyday life of the people and what they wore. What I appreciated the most, though, was how Ancient Greece informs modern society. The way we think, our government, our philosophy, was not only influenced but based on what happened thousands of years ago (even if it was smothered a bit during the Dark Ages).
This book was a treasure trove of information. It was worth the read and was a fascinating look into a culture that has so much to do with Western thought.