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A brilliant, fascinating portrait of the intellectual tradition of Greek writers and thinkers during the Age of Rome.
In 146 BC, Greece yielded to the military might of the Roman Republic; sixty years later, when Athens and other Greek city-states rebelled against Rome, the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla destroyed the city of Socrates and Plato, laying waste to the famous Academy where Aristotle had studied. However, the traditions of Greek cultural life continued to flourish during the centuries of Roman rule that followed—in the lives and work of a distinguished array of philosophers, doctors, scientists, geographers, and theologians.
Charles Freeman's accounts of such luminaries as the physician Galen, the geographer Ptolemy, and the philosopher Plotinus are interwoven with contextual "interludes" that showcase a sequence of unjustly neglected and richly influential lives. A cultural history on an epic scale, The Children of Athena presents the story of a rich and vibrant tradition of Greek intellectual inquiry across a period of more than five hundred years, from the second century BC to the start of the fifth century AD.
Charles Freeman is an expert on the ancient world and its legacy. He has worked on archaeological digs on the continents surrounding the Mediterranean. Freeman is the author of numerous books over the past decades, including The Closing of the Western Mind and A New History of Early Christianity. He lives in Britain.
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Advance praise for The Children of Athena:
"This book brings together a gallery of fascinating personalities, a group of Greek intellectuals—controversialists, scientists, and scholars—to elucidate the role they each played in the discourse and intellectual life of the Roman Empire and beyond. The varied contribution of these famous individuals places them, without doubt, in the center of Roman intellectual life and explains the long-lasting influence they have had on European literature, science, and scholarship. Freeman brings them to life so they can resonate amongst us and show off the height of their achievements once more. A much needed reminder of the wonders of late antiquity and the birth of European scholarship.” Christos Nifadopoulos, PhD, Cambridge University
Praise for Charles Freeman’s The Closing of the Western Mind:
“A fascinating account.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Enjoyable and illuminating. Clearly and plausibly argued. Full of fascinating detail.” - The Boston Globe
“Entertaining. An excellent and readable account of the development of Christian doctrine.” The New York Times Book Review
“There is much here to admire. It is a panoramic view that Freeman handles with grace, erudition and lucidity.” - The Washington Times
“Ambitious, groundbreaking. A scholarly history that is accessible, passionate and energetic.” Hartford Advocate
"Freeman is a well-known scholar of ancient Greece and Rome, and in this provocatively titled work he directs his encyclopedic knowledge of the classical world at its relationship with early Christianity. His exploration of early Christian attitudes is simply too impressively erudite to dismiss or to set down.” - Booklist
“Engrossingly readable and very thoughtful. Freeman draws our attention to myriad small but significant phenomena. His fine book is both a searching look at the past and a salutary and cautionary reminder for us in our difficult present.” The New York Sun
“A fine book for a popular audience that enjoys history, clear writing, and subject matter that reflects our own time.” - Houston Chronicle
“A lucid account of an intellectual and social transformation that continues to shape the way Christianity is experienced and understood.” The Dallas Morning News
“One of the best books to date on the development of Christianity. Beautifully written and impressively annotated, this is an indispensable read for anyone interested in the roots of Christianity and its implications for our modern worldview. Essential.” - Choice
“Engaging. Refreshing. A memorable account. The author is always interesting and well informed. Freeman’s study moves with ease between political and intellectual history. The cumulative effect is impressive.” The Times Literary Supplement
“The narrative is clear and fluent, the nomenclature is studiously precise . . . and the theological conflicts of the fourth century are analyzed with subtlety.” - History Today
“A triumph. Engrossing. Successfully realized. Wholly admirable. Freeman is to be congratulated on a broad-brush approach that throws the main issue into sharp focus. [He] has added a new level of understanding.” The Times Higher Education Supplement