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The remarkable story of how Greek-speaking writers and thinkers sustained and developed the intellectual legacy of Classical Greece under the rule of Rome.
In 146 BC, Greece yielded to the military might of the Roman Republic; some sixty years later, when Athens and other Greek city-states rebelled against Rome, the general Lucius Cornelius Sulla destroyed the city of Socrates and Plato, laying waste the famous Academy where Aristotle had studied.
However, the traditions of Greek cultural life would continue to flourish – across the eastern Mediterranean world and beyond – during the centuries of Roman rule that followed, in the lives and work of a distinguished array of philosophers, rhetoricians, historians, doctors, scientists, geographers and theologians.
Charles Freeman's accounts of such luminaries as the polymathic physician Galen, the soldier-botanist Dioscorides, the Alexandrian geographer and astronomer Ptolemy and the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus are interwoven with 'interludes' that counterpoint and contextualise a sequence of unjustly neglected and richly influential lives.
This is the story of a vibrant, constantly evolving tradition of intellectual inquiry across a period of more than five hundred years, from the second century BC to the start of the fifth century ad – one that would help shape the intellectual landscape of the Middle Ages and long after. The Children of Athena is a cultural history on an epic scale.
Author: Charles Freeman
Hardback Published 30 January 2024 400 pages