The Greeks by Roderick Beaton: a world story | culture & arts, literature


Greek identity is inextricably linked with the Greek language which connects Greeks wherever they live in the world. The Greeks: A Global History by award-winning historian Roderick Beaton, his magnum opus, explores more than 3,500 years of culture and language, in time for the bicentennial celebration of the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Over two thousand years ago, the Greek city-states, ruled by Athens and Sparta, laid the foundation for much of modern science, the arts, politics, and law. The influence of the Greeks, however, did not end with the rise and fall of this classical civilization. As Beaton illustrates, for three millennia the Greek speakers produced a series of civilizations that were rooted in Southeastern Europe but that have spread again and again widely across the world.

In the book, Beaton traces the story of the Bronze Age Mycenaeans who built mighty fortresses at home and strong trade routes abroad, to the dramatic Eurasian conquests of Alexander the Great, to the pious Byzantines who sought to export Christianity around the world, to today’s Greek diaspora, which flourishes on five continents. The product of decades of research is the story of the Greeks and their global impact as told by a master historian.

Roderick Beaton is Professor Emeritus at King’s College London and Commander of the Order of Honor of the Hellenic Republic. His previous book, Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation, was shortlisted for the Cundill History Prize. He is the four-time winner of the prestigious Runciman Award and lives in Kent, England.

The national herald

The Greeks: A Global History by Roderick Beaton. Photo: Courtesy of Basic Books

The Greeks is set for release on October 26 and has received praise from experts on classics and Western civilization, including Gregory Nagy of Harvard University, who called the book “a masterpiece of a great expert. in Greek”.

Sarah Ruden, translator and author of Paul Among the People, said: “Roderick Beaton gave us a magnificent overview of the Greeks, with a very generous cross-cultural, temporal and geographic sweep. At the same time, the book’s solid details and painstaking distinctions – for example, between Platonic and Christian vocabulary for “virtue” – should help discourage political exploitation of stilted and anachronistic ideas about Greek civilization.

Anthony Kaldellis, professor and chair of the classics department at Ohio State University, said: A scholar with extensive knowledge of Byzantium as well as all phases of Greek literature, he weaves a living tale spanning from the age of heroes and traditions to the present day. The Greeks did not emerge as a single nation but rather as a series of great civilizations. They were often at odds with each other but, in all phases of their long history, brought cultural capital to the rest of the world. Beaton’s Greeks are always on the move, thoughtful and surprising. Their story has yet to be fully told, as is the case here.

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