General, Late Bronze Age (ca. 1600 to 1200 BCE), Dark Age and Archaic Period (1200 to 479 BCE), Classical Period (479 to 323 BCE), Hellenistic Period (323 to 31 BCE), Greece under Rome (146 BCE to 395 CE), Athens and Athenian Democracy, Sparta, Greek Warfare, Society and Economy of Ancient Greece
The Oxford Classical Dictionary Simon Hornblower (first published 1949)
For more than half a century, the Oxford Classical Dictionary has been the unrivaled one-volume reference work on the Greco-Roman world. Whether one is interested in literature or art, philosophy or law, mythology or science, intimate details of daily life or broad cultural and historical trends, the OCD is the first place to turn for clear, authoritative information on all aspects of ancient culture.
Greek History: The Basics Robin Osborne (2004).
A very short, compressed primer on Greek history from the Dark Age up to the Roman conquest, written by one of the top experts.
Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities Cartledge, Paul Anthony ( 2009)
Designed for a non-expert audience, but again by a top expert, this book uses a series of microhistories to tell a story of Greece’s history from the Dark Age to the Byzantine Empire.
𝗟𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗕𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘇𝗲 𝗔𝗴𝗲 (𝗰𝗮. 𝟭𝟲𝟬𝟬 𝘁𝗼 𝟭𝟮𝟬𝟬 𝗕𝗖𝗘)
The Aegean Bronze Age Dickinson, Oliver ( 1994)
A comprehensive synthesis of a wide range of data, useful for beginners and researchers alike.
This is the only halfway decent book on the Bronze Age collapse that affected Greece, Anatolia, and Syria. Drews’ rebuttal of some widely-accepted theories on the collapse is the most useful part. His own argument, that the collapse was caused by changes in military practice, is much less useful (though his theory is at least no worse than its competitors).
𝗗𝗮𝗿𝗸 𝗔𝗴𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗔𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗶𝗰 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗱 (𝟭𝟮𝟬𝟬 𝘁𝗼 𝟰𝟳𝟵 𝗕𝗖𝗘)
Archaic Period (c. 800- 479 BCE), Greek Dark Ages c. 1100 — c. 800 BC
Archaic Greece: The Age of Experiment by Snodgrass, Anthony ( 1980)
A classic book: though it has been superceded in some ways, this can probably be regarded as embodying the conservative orthodoxy on the period.
The Trojans and their Neighbours Trevor Bryce (2006)
Though focused on Troy, this is currently the best book that deals with the relationship between Bronze Age Greeks and the peoples of Anatolia.
Greece in the Making 1200–479 BC Osborne, Robin ( 1996)
One of the definitive surveys of Dark Age and Archaic Greece.
A Companion to Archaic Greece Kurt Raaflaub and Hans van Wees (2009).
A thorough guide with over thirty chapters written by world experts.
(TEXTBOOK) A History of the Archaic Greek World: ca. 1200–479 BCE by Hall, Jonathan ( 2006)
Another of the definitive histories of Dark Age and Archaic Greece, by one of the greatest living historians of the period.
“Scholars as well as students of historical practice and specialists in Greek history will find this book indispensable … Highly recommended.” (Choice)
“Very attractive physical appearance … an extensive bibliography and index. Hall’s style is clear and crisp … .The book is to be recommended.” (Canadian Journal of History)
𝗖𝗟𝗔𝗦𝗦𝗜𝗖𝗔𝗟 𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗜𝗢𝗗 (𝟰𝟳𝟵 𝗧𝗢 𝟯𝟮𝟯 𝗕𝗖𝗘)
(upper-level undergraduates textbook) A History of the Classical Greek World: 478–323 BC P.J. Rhodes (2006).
Partner to Jonathan Hall’s textbook on Archaic Greece, listed above. Both provide accessible and up-to-date overviews of the period they cover.
“A leading authority on Athens, Rhodes has written a superbnarrative of Classical Greece for upper-level undergraduates:lucid, concise, and balanced. Welcome additions to the secondedition are chapters on life and culture, and brief selections fromcontemporary sources.”
(undergraduates textbook) The Greek World 479–323 BC Hornblower, Simon ( 1983)
A frequently used overview, written by a top scholar. Hornblower also pays a nice amount of attention to cities other than Athens and Sparta.
`To write a standard history which contains the essential material and yet is interesting and says things which have not been said before is one of the hardest tasks. Hornblower has performed it excellently.’ — Times Literary Supplement
`Packed with worthwhile ideas and impressive erudition. It will stimulate thought’. — David Whitehead, Classical Review
`An undergraduate text book which neither the professional ancient historian can afford to ignore nor the interested non specialist fail to read with profit and pleasure’ — History Today
𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗱 (𝟯𝟮𝟯 𝘁𝗼 𝟯𝟭 𝗕𝗖𝗘)
(TEXTBOOK) The Greek World After Alexander 323–30 BC by Shipley, Graham ( 1999)
An introduction to the Hellenistic Period. For more in-depth detail, the researcher will still need to go to Peter Green’s enormous Alexander to Actium (1990).
“the seventh volume to appear in Routledge ‘History of the Ancient World’ series is clearly and sensibly written, has an excellent and original selection of tables, maps, diagrams, and photographs, and provides and thorough, reliable, and up-to-date introduction to key topics. — Zofia H. Archibald, University of Liverpool.”
(TEXBOOK) Thundering Zeus: The Making of Hellenistic Bactria by Holt, Frank L. ( 1999)
A good introduction to Greek culture outside of its traditional homelands, and more specifically Greek cultures of the Hellenistic era. Well researched, and highly current.
A Companion to the Hellenistic World by Erskine, Andrew ( 2003)
A thorough guide with nearly thirty chapters written by world experts.
Alexander the Great in His World by Thomas, Carol G. ( 2006)
A fairly academic but very good biography of Alexander.
“An engaging and persuasive book, which offers a newperspective … .It will maintain the interest of specialists… yet remain accessible to the general reader.”Canadian Journal of History
𝗚𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗰𝗲 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗥𝗼𝗺𝗲 (𝟭𝟰𝟲 𝗕𝗖𝗘 𝘁𝗼 𝟯𝟵𝟱 𝗖𝗘)
Troy Between Greece and Rome: Local Tradition and Imperial Power by Erskine, Andrew ( 2001)
In this book Andrew Erskine examines the role and meaning of Troy in the changing relationship between Greeks and Romans, as Rome is transformed from a minor Italian city into a Mediterranean superpower. The book seeks to understand the significance of Rome’s Trojan origins for the Greeks by considering the place of Troy and Trojans in Greek culture. It moves beyond the more familiar spheres of art and literature to explore the countless, overlapping, local traditions, the stories that cities told about themselves, a world often neglected by scholars.
“A detailed and spirited sifting of evidence.” — Times Higher Education Supplement
Greek Literature and the Roman Empire: The Politics of Imitation by Whitmarsh, Tim ( 2002)
Greek Literature and the Roman Empire uses up-to-date literary and cultural theory to explore the phenomenal rise of interest in literary writing in Greece under the Roman Empire. Greek identity cannot be properly understood without appreciating the brilliant sophistication of the writers of the period, whose texts must be considered in the historical and cultural context of the battles for identity that raged under the vast, multicultural Roman Empire.
“An important contribution to the study of the so-called ‘Second Sophistic’ period…. Whitmarsh offers illuminating and provocative readings of texts both familiar and less known.” — Choice
Local Knowledge and Microidentities in the Imperial Greek World by Whitmarsh, Tim ( 2010)
“The nine chapters, whose authors represent an all-star cast of thinkers about this period, are all innovative and well-written.”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
𝘼𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙣𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝘼𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙣𝙞𝙖𝙣 𝘿𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙘𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙮
(textbook) Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens: Rhetoric, Ideology, and the Power of the People Ober, Josiah ( 1989)
Examines the political dynamics between different classes in democratic Athens, with an emphasis on the role of persuasive speaking in the assembly and the court system.
The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes: Structure, Principles, and Ideology by Hansen, Mogens Herman ( 1991)
A comprehensive account of the workings of Athenian democracy and of Athenian political ideology.
𝗦𝗣𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗔 𝟵𝟬𝟬𝘀–𝟭𝟵𝟮 𝗕𝗖
(textbook) Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History 1300–362 BC by Paul Cartledge (1979).
While dated in many ways, this remains one of the pillars of scholarship on Sparta, and one of the works responsible for reviving the subject in the modern academy
(textbook) Spartans: A New History Nigel M. Kennell (2010)
An accessible new introduction to Sparta, taking into account the latest scholarship transforming our view on the subject.
Sparta by Whitby, Michael ( 2001)
An up-to-date collection of studies on aspects of Spartan history and society, most of them by the world’s top historians of Sparta.
(textbook) A Companion to Sparta Anton Powell (2017)
A collection of summaries of the very latest research on Sparta, written by the foremost scholars in the field.
The Ancient Greeks at War Louis Rawlings (2007
Perhaps the finest recent introduction to the topic; up-to-date and comprehensive.
“This is a fine book, which strikes a judicious balance between accessibility and scholarship, covering a much wider range of topics than most books on warfare, and offers an intelligent and original interpretation of its subject.” — Hans van Wees, University College London
Classical Greek Tactics: A Cultural History Roel Konijnendijk (2017)
A comprehensive reassessment of how and why Greeks fought pitched battles.
The Peloponnesian War by Kagan, Donald ( 2003)
Written by one of the top experts on the war, this intelligent account is a condensed version of his four-volume history first published in the 1960s.
𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗘𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗺𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗚𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗰𝗲
- The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece Josiah Ober (2015)
An attempt to explain the spectacular wealth and impressive achievements of Classical Greece through models from economic theory and game theory
- The Ecology Of The Ancient Greek World by Sallares, Robert ( 1991)
A tremendously important (though not always well-written) study of the relationship between the environment, the realities of agrarian economy, and human society.
- The Invention of Coinage and the Monetization of Ancient Greece by Schaps, David ( 2003)
A useful and sane study of the development of currency and its role in Greek society.
- A Companion to Ancient Greek Government Hans Beck (2013)
A collection of chapters on all aspects of Ancient Greek government — its different forms, institutions, practices, and values.
- Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens James Davidson (1997)
An exploration of the theme of desire and the Greek obsession with controlling it; a survey of all the things and people the Greeks desired.