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Eureka!: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Ancient Greeks but Were Afraid to Ask
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Eureka!: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Ancient Greeks but Were Afraid to Ask

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  222 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The Ancient Greeks gave us our alphabet and much of our scientific, medical and cultural language; they invented democracy, atomic theory and the rules of logic and geometry; established artistic and architectural canons visible to this day on all our high streets; laid the foundations of philosophy, history, tragedy and comedy and debated everything from the good life and ...more
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Atlantic Books (first published November 6th 2014)
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 ·  222 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Does what it says on the cover! 4/5 stars.

This review was originally posted on my book blog.

This review may be more about me and my relationship with non-fiction than this specific book and for that I can only apologise.

I try to read at least 2 non-fiction books a year. I’m aware that 2 is a low number, but I tend to struggle with non-fiction. I find my attention wanders, mostly because I read far slower than I read fiction.

Firstly, all credit for me having found and read this book must go to my
Martine Gjermundsen Ræstad
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Any book about a special topic aimed for a general audience will struggle with the balance between either going too much into detail and presuming too much foreknowledge, or being too general - and so I assume reviews for this book vary greatly. All I can say is that it fit me very well and that I liked it.

I came in with quite a lot of detail-level knowledge about specific wars and eras, having taken a course in Attic Greek, and some general cloudy knowledge of the overall history. With my

I knew that this would be a book aimed at complete newcomers but even so I didn’t expect it to be as basic as it is. Really more of a coffee table book than anything else. If I were recommending a book to beginners, I’d suggest Thomas Martin’s Ancient Greece instead.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good introductory book in the topic of Ancient Greece. I think it's a nice introduction, the kind of book you read before getting into more reading and research. A lovely synthesis, focused on skimming the topics and also looking at some adjacent issues (like how did the texts survive?).

It's not „Everything”. It is a lot of information, it should be treated as light reading and not as a reference book. But it's a nice introduction and it should be treated as such.
In depth, at times humorous and engaging. Jones' book is almost a little too ambitious, trying to fit everything in and rapidly skimming through a weighty timeline - which made me skip through it, missing out chunks that seemed repetitive. It felt disjointed, as others have commented. Perhaps it would have been better to split the book into themes: sex, war, slavery, agriculture, etc?
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
An entertaining and illuminating survey of the history of ancient Greece, why it matters, and how we know what we know about this dynamic and influential culture. A great primer before diving more deeply into specific topics.
A.L. Butcher
A fun read with bitesize chunks of Ancient Greek history up to the Romans. Ancient Greek culture and language still influence us today - the Greeks birthed democracy (although in a different hue than hours), many of our words stem from Greek terms, then of course there are the Olympic Games.

The author covers many aspects of culture, language, history and myth - in a manner which is easy to follow and gives enough of a taster to get the reader interested in the subject. He's done his research too
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I found this a slightly odd book. It's very "bitty". It covers a lot of breadth, but with sections a short as a third of page, there's very little in the way of depth. I often found myself wanting more information about a person, a topic or a war. On the other hand, the very breadth is very useful for someone like me who has very little knowledge of ancient Greece. If nothing else, the book got across the very fractured nature of Greece in this period very well. The way the city-states would ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have to agree with the majority of other reviews on Goodreads that dislike the disjointed and "bitty" nature of the information given. At some points I felt rather confused about the time period or person being discussed as there were too many jumps between topics and people which made the book less enjoyable.

However, I didn't rate this a 1 star read as I have learnt something and have enjoyed some of rather humerous tidbits and facts given by Peter Jones, but I wouldn't recommend this on the
Gary Leeming
Interesting and lightly written

The book is a good overview of Greek history and culture but it can be a bit fragmentary and difficult to follow when the subject changes from paragraph to paragraph. Helpful as an introduction to dip into before looking through the bibliography for next steps.
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very informational, but I thought the organization was very disjointed and disorienting. I found myself paging forward and backward to refamiliarize myself with what a certain section was referencing, weakening the overall experience of reading the book.
Ishan Gohel
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Gave a lot of good history, but contains some mature topics.
Anna Belsham
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A history of the ancient Greeks in bite sized chunks. Some things I knew before but also some information that was new to me.
Jeroen Van de Crommenacker
A good book really. Written in a very light and witty style, but there is a lot to be learned and it is engaging throughout. Does exactly what it promises, in bite sized, easily digestible chunks.
Simon Binning
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek-history
This is a really good introduction to the Ancient Greek world; a sort of 'Horrible Histories' for adults. It isn't a straight history; each chapter covers a period of history, and starts with a timeline of major events, followed by a linear history of that period, which gives plenty of detail without being too heavy. The rest of the chapter will be short sections picking out individual items - be they philosophical ideas, battles, social changes, myths and so on - and explaining them in an ...more
David Bisset
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not everything, but a lot!

Best part of the book is the asides after the potted histories: stimulating, surprising - and educational. The Ancient Greeks are still influencing the contemporary world, and English is awash with Greek vocabulary. This book is an enjoyable read, and certainly encourages further exploration.
Pip Jennings
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very informative book for those (like me) unversed in the classics. The only thing that annoyed me was the constant page referrals - it really interrupted the flow of the text. I still found it very enjoyable.
Chizu Nakamura
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
After I came back from trip to Italy, I caught an urge to brush up my knowledge about ancient people. This book gave me more interesting facts than that from History lessons at school. And I think I saw a little bit of connection to our modern world, as well, which was fascinating.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ancient-history
Informative and funny. An excellent reading!
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Probably give this 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's a great book, realy educational and fun written but it is quite heavy. It is hard to get through but I absolutely learned so much!
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
bite size pieces of knowledge told in an entertaining and interesting way.
Petri Loukasmäki
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to the ancient greek world. Dirty poetry, wars, medicine, inventions, politics, ideals and philosophy and then some.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
A brave attempt to cram the whole of Ancient Greek history into one book. It was accessible and I did learn a lot, but the writing style (very short, disjointed chunks) didn't work for me.
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Aug 27, 2015
chris & carolyn welch
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Jul 08, 2016
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Jan 08, 2016
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Nov 02, 2018
Mark Redman
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Dec 29, 2018
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Sep 21, 2016
David Keogh
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Mar 27, 2015
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Peter Jones (sometimes credited as Peter V. Jones) is a former lecturer in Classics at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, a writer and journalist. Jones has regularly written on Classics for major newspapers, and was awarded the MBE in 1983. He is a Cambridge graduate.

Jones' popular work has been focused on introducing new generations to Ancient Rome and Greece, from newspaper columns to