Periclean Athens, P.J. Rhodes

Periclean Athens, P.J. Rhodes, Pb, p144, Bloomsbury 2018 £14.99 9781350014954

Periclean Athens is part of the Classical World series by Bloomsbury; this series aims to give a short yet informative introduction to a particular aspect of the classical world.

In that sense, Rhodes’ Periclean Athens does exactly what it promises. In around 100 pages it gives an insight into the life of Pericles (albeit a short one, as the book focusses on Athens rather than the individual) and then it discusses aspects of Athens like democracy, the empire, religion and philosophy, literature, art and architecture and finally there is a chapter on Athens after Pericles.

The book is rather sober as it contains relatively few illustrations, yet the maps are informative and so are the suggestions for further reading. The amount of information is staggering and may therefore be almost too much for a first-time student. Periclean Athens is certainly very useful as a refreshment course per topic for those who have studied this subject before; its true value is the fact that it connects political and military developments to changes in other areas of life and thus offers a clear, concise and all-round description of this major period in Athenian society.


Jet van Gelder