A compelling and fascinating portrait of the continuing intellectual tradition of Greek writers and thinkers in the Age of Rome.
In 146 BC, Greece yielded to the military might of the Roman Republic; 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 to the famous Academy where Aristotle had studied. However, the traditions of Greek cultural life would continue to flourish during the centuries of Roman rule that followed, in the lives and work of a distinguished array of philosophers, doctors, scientists, geographers, travellers and theologians.
Charles Freeman's accounts of such luminaries as the physician Galen, the geographer Ptolemy and the philosopher Plotinus are interwoven with contextual 'interludes' that showcase a sequence of unjustly neglected and richly influential lives. Like the author's The Awakening, The Children of Athena is a cultural history on an epic scale: the story of a rich and vibrant tradition of Greek intellectual inquiry across a period of more than five hundred years, from the second century BC to the start of the fifth century AD.
'Charles Freeman has done it again – amassed a vast body of knowledge on a major subject and infused it with historical understanding and humane wit' Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge.
'The Awakening is a remarkable work of scholarship by esteemed historian Charles Freeman... The book is a fine production, adorned with coloured images of frescos and ancient manuscripts' Irish Times.
'Freeman is a good host, a superb narrator and tells his story with aplomb... His elegant prose is a treat for the mind and the accompanying illuminations a treat for the eye' International Times.
'A work of serious scholarship by an author who has clearly been everywhere, seen everything and read voraciously. But it is also a work written with great elan and, given its scope, undertaken with considerable courage' Christopher Lloyd, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, 1988–2005.
'My favourite book of the year... The wonderful images of the art, architecture and books bring to life the detailed argument of Awakening... Freeman makes the subject matter alive and relevant in a way that few historians of ideas can... A book to read slowly, to ponder and enjoy leisurely' Goodreads