Classics: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


This Very Short Introduction to Classics links a haunting temple on a lonely mountainside to the glory of ancient Greece and the grandeur of Rome, and to Classics within modern culture-from Jefferson and Byron to Asterix and Ben-Hur.

We are all Classicists - we come into touch with the Classics daily: in our culture, politics, medicine, architecture, language, and literature.

What are the true roots of these influences, however, and how do our interpretations of these aspects of the Classics differ from their original reception?

This introduction to the Classics begins with a visit to the British Museum to view the frieze which once decorated the Apollo Temple at Bassae.

Through these sculptures, John Henderson and Mary Beard prompt us to consider the significance of Classics as a means of discovery and enquiry, its value in terms of literature, philposophy, and culture, and its importance as a source of imagery.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages, black and white halftones and line drawings
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Architecture
  • ISBN: 9780192853851



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Using the temple at Bassae in Arcadia and its sculptured frieze as a starting point, the authors discuss the relationship of the Roman civilization with that of Classical Greece and of both of them with modern Europe since the Renaissance. For such a small book its scope is wide; the writing is thought-provoking.

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