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Roderick Beaton

May 2, 2022

The Greeks

A Global History

Basic Books 2021

For nearly 3,000 years, the question of what it means to be Greek has been one of perennial interest—and, incredibly enough, not only to the Greeks. How a collection of small cities and kingdoms around the northeastern Mediterranean Sea laid down precepts for science, the arts, politics, law, and philosophy is one of the great historical stories. Their influence would eventually reach far beyond the shores of the Mediterranean, and for long after what is typically thought of as the zenith of their civilization—and not simply through the continuation of ideas that Greeks originally put in motion. For throughout their history, the Greeks have not only excelled in exporting ideas, but exporting goods through trade, exporting faith through missionary endeavor, and exporting themselves, most recently in a 20th century diaspora that took them to five continents.

Roderick Beaton surveys these Hellenic millennia in his magisterial The Greeks: A Global History (Basic Books, 2021). He is the Emeritus Koraes Professor of Modern Greek & Byzantine History, Language & Literature at King’s College London, a Fellow of the British Academy, and one of the foremost authorities on modern greek literature.

Al Zambone is a historian and the host of the excellent podcast Historically Thinking. You can subscribe to Historically Thinking on Apple Podcasts.

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Albert Zambone

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