The Best Greek History Books of 2021

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Are you looking got the perfect modern Greek history books to write a winning essay?  Do you have a love for Greek history and an appetite for more information?  If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you have come to the right place.

When you think about Greek history, several things should come to mind.  These events may include the first Olympic games, the Trojan war, or even the Age of Pericles.  However, there is much more to Greek History to learn.

This list will not only provide you with some of the best books on greek and roman history, but it will also provide you with tips on how to choose your texts as well.  Though this is a great list, there are several options outside of the items listed here.  All you have to do is keep reading for an abundance of information.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for greek history books here.

Our Top Favorite
Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times
Our Top Runner Up
National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History
Our Top Value Pick
Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities
Book Title
Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times
National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History
Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Favorite
Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times
Book Title
Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History
Book Title
National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities
Book Title
Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities
Prime Eligible?
-

Last update: 2021-09-01

Our Favorites for Best Greek History Books

Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times by Thomas R. Martin

Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times is a short text which illustrates the rich history of Ancient Greece. It is a text which is perfect for all levels of readers as you do not need a specialization to understand it. The book provides a comprehensive overview of Greek history, starting from the stone age into the Hellenic periods. The book was initially written in 1998 and updated in 2000.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Unlike several other books on Ancient Greece, Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times starts with the stone age. The Stone Age provides a background for the conditions of Greek Life, especially within the context of Greece and Europe.
  • Before getting into the text, the opening pages provide readers with not just an index of the chapters but of the maps, illustrations, and figures used within the book as well.
  • Though the author introduces a host of events and people within the text, topics are not covered in full detail. This text can be seen as a narrative timeline of events in Greece.
  • The bok gives a variety of information. This includes information on the Minoans, the island of Crete, Greek Dark ages, classical Greece, and so much more.
  • The text also includes an overview of the abbreviations used within the text
  • The first chapter of the book begins with the background of Ancient Greece. This background information consists of the physical characteristics and even the pre-history of Greece.
  • The book takes the format of a timeline, except for the last two chapters. It includes a multitude of free thinkers and various ways of thought.

Why Choose This Greek History Book:

  • Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times is an easily read text. Thomas Martin presents the information in a manner that is clear and easy to follow.
  • This is a text which has ignited a love for Greek history in many individuals. Martin does an excellent job of providing readers with a resource to find more books about Greek history through his bibliography.
  • This is a excellent starting text for individuals looking to get into Greek and Roman history. Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times is a unique introductory text that will not overwhelm readers.
  • The text remains objective while providing readers with an enormous amount of historical information.

Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times
  • Martin, Thomas R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 311 Pages - 04/16/2013 (Publication Date) - Yale University Press (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-09-01


The Histories: Herodotus (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Herodotus, Paul Cartledge, et al

The Histories: Herodotus is a translated account of Herodotus’s histories.  It includes events beginning from the Trojan War. Many consider it to be one of the founding historical works of Western Literature. Herodotus was a Greek historian who many believe but the study of history.  It is a book that can be overwhelming for some and is a moderate read.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The purpose of this text was to explain the Greek’s victory against the Persian Army. This event has been come to be known as the Persian wars.  These wars took place between 500 and 449 BCE.
  • The text follows a unique format, and many of the stories do not fit together cohesively. There is no stable character listing as some characters may appear once and never again.
  • Herodotus was someone who was consistently interested in the “why” of life. To find the answers that he seeks, he considers the beginnings of things and people.  This notion is a consistent theme throughout the text.
  • Throughout the text, Herodotus also gives readers perspectives from a variety of thinkers to formulate their own opinions.

Why Choose This Greek History Book:

  • Many readers found this to be a great translation, as well as a fascinating read. It gives the readers insight into wartime and the events which transpired.
  • Readers consistently raved about this translation and found a love for the consistent conflict between Greek cities. The maps allow readers to follow the warpath of the city as well as compare them to maps of modern Greece.
  • The text much feels as if you are sitting down to write a story.

The Histories: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
  • Herodotus (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 880 Pages - 05/19/2015 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Ancient Greeks: Ten Ways They Shaped the Modern World by Edith Hall  

The Ancient Greeks: Ten Ways They Shaped the Modern World is a text which gives context to the most notable things the Greeks did to shape the modern world. The book speaks to a variety of time periods in Greek history.  It is a great introduction to the Ancient Greeks. The book goes into who they were and what has led them to achieve so much.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The book opens by identifying ten characteristics of Greeks. The author mentions that these characteristics are often shared amongst the people.
  • Edith Hall aims to let readers know that though Greeks and Romans both valued self-education during a period of quick progression. The Greek people had a history of this some 800 years before.
  • The book provides information for 2000 years ranging from 1600 BC to AD 400. Throughout this span, Greeks took on many roles and lived in thousands of different towns and villages.
  • The author also includes several maps and timelines to help readers get a better idea of the state at a given time and highlight key events.

Why Choose This Greek History Book:

  • This is a great introductory text. It is a fascinating and information-heavy read that is still able to hold the reader’s attention.
  • Many readers love the text and feel as if Hall wrote this text for the academic world. It not only explains historical events but attempts to provide insight into human characteristics.
  • The author doesn’t ignore the melting pot of cultures present during this time. Instead, she writes about how knowledge and goods were traded between Greeks and others.  She also goes in-depth on the Greek and Roman relationship and how it changed things for both parties.
  • The text provides a very objective view of Greek Life; its rich history and changing culture.

Last update: 2021-08-31


Runner Ups for Best Greek History Books

National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History by Diane Harris Cline

National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History is a colorful reflection of Greek history. The text provides a visual account of several events throughout Greek & Roman history. It is a text which is easy to comprehend and read. It uses stories to tell of several events and happenings throughout Greek history. Diane Cline has a background in Greece historical education whose expertise is specific to Athens, Greece.

What Makes It Unique:

  • National Geographic The Greeks is an extremely well-written text which provides readers with quality imagery and illustrations. Though it is a short read.
  • The book provides details for several Greek statues and relics.
  • Several events are reflected in this guide like Alexander the Great, the Olympics, the legacy of ancient Greece as well as the fundamentals of Greek thinking.
  • This is a beautifully written companion text for the PBS special, The Greeks. It covers the high points for Greeks and history but ignores things like imperialism, misogyny, and other dark moments in Greek history.

Why Choose This Greek History Book:

  • This is a great text for students or even historians. There is no limit to the possibilities that this text has.  It will fill in gaps that other texts may have created or overlooked.
  • This is an excellent book for individuals interested in Greek history. It can provide a great jumping-off point for exploring Greek history further.
  • The further reading sections of the books provide a list of scholarly texts to get you started in your historical research.

On Sale
National Geographic The Greeks: An Illustrated History
  • Hardcover Book
  • Cline, Diane Harris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Greek Warfare: Myth and Realities by Hans van Wees

Greek Warfare: Myth and Realities take readers into the various parts of combat as well as the economic structure of the time period. The text includes large amounts of information on battles, details of how raids were conducted, and even provides insight into the cost and cause of war. The book also aims to trump several myths regarding Greek warfare.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Greek Warfare provides a unique perspective and brings information into consideration that many may not have known or thought about. This includes the reasons behind the war, who fought, how the armies were organized, and their tactics behind the battle.
  • The text also brings to light the way war strategies and tactics changed as time progressed, and things evolved.
  • The author makes several assumptions throughout the text and builds upon these as the book progresses.
  • The book is split into six parts. Each part aims to address a different area of war and provide a full picture of the time.  Some sections include Greek Warfare: Myth and Realities “Citizens and Soldiers,” and even “The Experience of Combat.”  These sections provide a total view of not just the war but the conditions which made them possible.

Why Choose This Greek History Book:

  • Greek Warfare: Myth and Realities have become a classic when referring to Greek warfare and is a text that is often quoted or recommended to readers.
  • Many readers feel that this is a crucial reference text and an excellent read for all history and warfare enthusiast. This is also a text which would prove itself helpful in Greek history courses.
  • For many readers, this is one of the best books on ancient Greece and should be considered a classic.

Greek Warfare: Myth and Realities
  • Bristol Classical Press
  • Wees, Hans van (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Value Picks for Best Greek History Books

Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities by Paul Cartledge

Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities provides a short introduction to Greek history using 11 of its most historic cities.  These include Athens, Thebes, Syracuse, Alexandria, and more.  The author covers a variety of themes, economic information, as well as gender and sexuality. Many have regarded this as a compassionate and engaging narrative.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The text includes several resources to aid you in understanding Greek culture. This includes a list of maps and illustrations. Cartledge also includes information on how Greeks measure money and distance, as well as information on understanding Greek names.
  • Despite being in a small package, the author does add in several subtle details that you would typically not expect to see in a text of this size. Though each chapter could have been a full text, the author does a great of providing a scholarly overview of each city.
  • At the end of the text, readers will find a who’s who guide to the individuals listed in the book as well as a timeline for ease of understanding the order of events.

Why Choose This Greek History Book:

  • This is a great reference text to use to gain background information about the culture in the cities of Greece. It is also a great starting point to pique the interest of newbies to Greek History.
  • Despite the size of this text, many feel that it is a full account of Greek history. However, it may be a difficult read if you do not already have some knowledge of Greek history. However, this is an excellent text for someone who has taken or is taking an introductory Greek history course.

Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Cartledge, Paul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


How to Choose the Best Greek History Book for You

If you’re reading this list, it should be safe to assume that you have an interest in not only finding the best modern Greek history books but also learning how to pick quality books for yourself.  As you get more into Greek history, this process will undoubtedly become easier; however, we have some tips to get you started if you aren’t.

When searching for books on ancient Greek History, there are enormous possibilities for the books you can choose; however, not every book will have what you need.  If you are a more casual learner who is merely seeking information, this may not be an issue.  However, if you are looking for specific information, this could be a problem.

What is the intention behind the text?

Before picking a text, you must understand why you need the book.  Is it for a class?  Is this text simply for an assignment or for leisure?  This will aid you in more easily answering the questions which follow and narrowing down a genre of text you will need to stick to.

What time should this book cover?

Time is a critical piece of information when looking for books.  There are several events in Greek History, and time is one thing that changes everything.  Narrow down the span of your search to ensure that the books you select from are confined to the period that you need.

What is the reading level that you will need your text to be?

This is an important question to ask yourself as it will vary for everyone. You do not want to have a text that is so complex and scholarly that you are not able to comprehend or do your analysis of it. Make sure you find a book that is at a reading level you are comfortable with.

What type of book are you looking for?

Are you looking for a narrative style book or a traditional textbook? This is another essential question to ask when looking for the best Greek history books. There is a severe difference in the information you will receive from a textbook, a biography, or a factual narrative. In some texts, the author may also infuse their opinion into the work.  It can be harder to find more objective books depending on the type of text you are looking for.

If you can successfully answer these questions before you begin your search or even utilize them to review some of the texts within this list, you won’t be sorry.

Wrapping Up the Best Greek History Books

If you have gotten this far, we hope that you have found a book to pique your interest in Greek history or a book to suit your educational needs. This list is made up of a variety of texts that can be beneficial to increasing your knowledge of Greek History.

Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times provides a book that is great for all readers, no matter their current knowledge of Greek history. It is an easy introductory read. If you are looking for something more specific, Greek Warfare: Myth and Realities is a text which focuses on the Greek army and their structure.

If we couldn’t provide you with a useful read, we hope that you will use the questions listed to aid you in choosing a book that fits your style and necessity. These questions can be altered and combined with several different genres and used interchangeably. Regardless of how you come across the perfect text, we hope you find what you’re looking for.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll like our history book reviews here.

Here are a few other history book reviews you may find interesting:

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> The Best Roman History Books

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