Cover image for The school of history : Athens in the age of Socrates
The school of history : Athens in the age of Socrates
Munn, Mark Henderson.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley ; Los Angeles ; London : University of California Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 525 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1460 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DF277 .M86 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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History, political philosophy, and constitutional law were born in Athens in the space of a single generation--the generation that lived through the Peloponnesian War (431-404 b.c.e.). This remarkable age produced such luminaries as Socrates, Herodotus, Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and the sophists, and set the stage for the education and early careers of Plato and Xenophon, among others. The School of History provides the fullest and most detailed intellectual and political history available of Athens during the late fifth century b.c.e., as it examines the background, the context, and the decisive events shaping this society in the throes of war. This expansive, readable narrative ultimately leads to a new understanding of Athenian democratic culture, showing why and how it yielded such extraordinary intellectual productivity.

As both a source and a subject, Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian War is the central text around which the narrative and thematic issues of the book revolve. Munn re-evaluates the formation of the Greek historiographical tradition itself as he identifies the conditions that prompted Thucydides to write--specifically the historian's desire to guide the Athenian democracy as it struggled to comprehend its future.

The School of History fully encompasses recent scholarship in history, literature, and archaeology. Munn's impressive mastery of the huge number of sources and publications informs his substantial contributions to our understanding of this democracy transformed by war. Immersing us fully in the intellectual foment of Athenian society, The School of History traces the history of Athens at the peak of its influence, both as a political and military power in its own time and as a source of intellectual inspiration for the centuries to come.

A Main Selection of the History Book Club

Author Notes

Mark Munn is Associate Professor in the Departments of History and Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at the Pennsylvania State University and the author of The Defense of Attica: The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 b.c. (California, 1993).

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. x
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 The Spirit of Democratic Athens, 510-415p. 13
Chapter 1 The Past of Democratic Athensp. 15
Chapter 2 The Aristocracy of Democratic Athensp. 46
Chapter 3 Servants of the Athenian Democracyp. 64
Part 2 The Crisis of Athens, 415-403p. 93
Chapter 4 The Expulsion of Alcibiades, 415-413p. 95
Chapter 5 Rationalizing Oligarchy, 413-411p. 127
Chapter 6 A Procession of Victories, 411-408p. 152
Chapter 7 The Limits of Democratic Imperative, 408-405p. 175
Chapter 8 Surrendering to Sparta, 405-404p. 195
Chapter 9 The Athenian Civil War, 404-403p. 218
Part 3 Resurrecting Athens, 403-395p. 245
Chapter 10 The Laws of Athens, 403-400p. 247
Chapter 11 Eliminating Socrates, 401-399p. 273
Chapter 12 Athenian Democracy and History, 399-395p. 292
Appendix A Epigraphic Chronologyp. 331
Appendix B Euripides' Helen and Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusaep. 333
Appendix C Chronology of the Events of 410-406p. 335
Appendix D The Surrender of Athens and the Installation of the Thirtyp. 340
Abbreviationsp. 345
Notesp. 347
Bibliographyp. 441
General Indexp. 469
Index Locorump. 495