Tony Spawforth

Nov 28, 2023

What the Greeks Did for Us

Yale University Press 2023

Our contemporary world is inescapably Greek. Whether in a word like “pandemic,” a Freudian state of mind like the “Oedipus complex,” or a replica of the Parthenon in a Chinese theme park, ancient Greek culture shapes the contours of our lives. Ever since the first Roman imitators, we have been continually falling under the Greeks’ spell.

But how did ancient Greece spread its influence so far and wide? And how has this influence changed us?

In What the Greeks Did for Us (Yale UP, 2023), Tony Spawforth explores our classical heritage, wherever it’s to be found. He reveals its legacy in everything from religion to popular culture, and unearths the darker side of Greek influence—from the Nazis’ obsession with Spartan “racial purity” to the elitism of classical education. Paying attention to the huge breadth and variety of Hellenic influence, this book paints an essential portrait of the ancient world’s living legacy—considering to whom it matters, and why.

Tony Spawforth is emeritus professor of ancient history at Newcastle University. As well as leading cultural tours in Greece, he has presented eight documentaries for the BBC and has published thirteen books, including The Story of Greece and Rome.

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter.

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Morteza Hajizadeh

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter.

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