“The rise and fall of Ancient Greece revealed.”
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, and Authoritative Account of Greek Military and Political Power, Architecture, Sculpture, Art, Drama, and Philosophy. That is the full title of the book, written by Nigel Rodgers, that I will be reviewing. This book has over 500 pages and considering that the word count for these blogs is 500-900 words, that means this is going to take a while. For simplicities sake, I’ll just be calling the book IEAG, standing for Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece.
IEAG is what inspired me to begin writing mythological and ancient historical stories, primarily starring in Ancient Greece. The book’s first line says, “Our world began with Greece – the world, that is, of Western civilization.” That’s definitely one way to start a book! The first pages tell you where anything time-wise can be found, and a word glossary at the back of the book for more hyper-specific needs. For instance, if I wanted to know more about festivals, the book directs me toward pages 400-1. The chapter is titled Festivals, Sacrifices, Priesthood and Oracles. Fun title! IEAG contains many pictures, accurate or illustrated, to help the reader understand and realize how vibrant Greek life indeed was. Many depictions either come from recovered vases or statues found worldwide. If you wanted to know more about the Oracle of Delphi, the most well-known oracle of the Greek world, you could easily find it on page 400. When did she come to prominence? Funny you ask, it was “in the 8th century BC.” While it may not be specific, at least now you know you’re being scientifically accurate, and you can look up Greek life during the 8th century as opposed to Greek life during 478 BC.
When writing, whether it’s a piece of historical fiction or non-fiction, making it as accurate as possible will almost always entrance your reader. If you can bring someone into an entirely different world and keep them there without continuing about Ancient Greece’s economy relying mostly on good farming soil, you have struck gold.
IEAG even provides its reader with a basic timeline at the beginning of the book to help those new with researching or those who are unfamiliar with Greece as a whole. Greece was not always carved from white marble, “Far from being cold and passionless, the Greeks burned and quivered with passion and desires- personal, political and intellectual- that often led to disaster, not perfection.” If you were to write about Greece in 347 BC, you would want to put in that Plato died that year! History nerds and even those who don’t study up will be intrigued and want to know more about Plato’s death or Plato in general. Boom! You just tricked someone into studying and researching a benign topic. In 146 BC, “the Romans sacked the city of Corinth, making Achaea and Macedonia Roman provinces,” Write about the Romans overtaking the city of Corinth or how the Greek politicians reacted when hearing the news. You can do your best to base it on facts, but always have fun with your writing while trying to stay accurate.
IEAG even tells you about the Minoan society in Crete. The Minoans were the first civilization, then after their fall, the first draft of Ancient Greeks, the Mycenaean Society, came to be.
Please let me know what points of Greek history you would like to hear about or even words/phrases/items you would like me to expand upon.