Our contemporary world is inescapably Greek. Whether in a word like “pandemic,” a Freudian state of mind like the “Oedipus complex,” or a replica of the Parthenon in a Chinese theme park, ancient Greek culture shapes the contours of our lives. Ever since the first Roman imitators, we have been continually falling under the Greeks’ spell.
But how did ancient Greece spread its influence so far and wide? And how has this influence changed us?
Tony Spawforth explores our classical heritage, wherever it’s to be found. He reveals its legacy in everything from religion to popular culture, and unearths the darker side of Greek influence―from the Nazis’ obsession with Spartan “racial purity” to the elitism of classical education. Paying attention to the huge breadth and variety of Hellenic influence, this book paints an essential portrait of the ancient world’s living legacy―considering to whom it matters, and why.