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This monumental work by a distinguished European scholar presents a scrupulously realistic approach to ancient Greek civilization. Professor Burckhardt dispenses with superficial and sentimental views of ancient Greece to embrace a more sophisticated and accurate vision of a complex culture that practiced both the best and worst elements of the social contract. A penetrating thinker with a genius for concrete illustration, Burckhardt begins with a thorough account of the development of the polis, or city-state, exploring its regional variations and offering a balanced appraisal of its virtues and faults. In the second part, he discusses fine arts and their expression, with particular focus on sculpture, painting, and architecture. Part Three examines poesy and music, with an in-depth account of Homeric traditions and their role in maintaining the form and order of Greek beliefs and myths, as well as a consideration of other poetic forms, including the classical theater. The final part comprises perceptive accounts of numerous and enduring Greek achievements in philosophy, science, and oratory. In addition to an excellent glossary, the work is profusely illustrated with 80 photographs and many fine drawings.
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