SAGSTETTER, KELCY S
The Greeks enjoy a special place in the construction of western culture and identity, and yet many of us have only the vaguest notion of what their culture was like. A few Greek myths at bedtime when we are kids, maybe a Greek tragedy like Sophokles' Oidipous when we are at school: these are often the only contact we have with the world of the ancient Mediterranean. The story of the Greeks, however, deserves a wider audience, because so much of what we esteem in our own culture derives from them: democracy, epic poetry, lyric poetry, tragedy, history writing, philosophy, aesthetic taste, all of these and many other features of cultural life enter the West from Greece. The oracle of Apollo at Delphi had inscribed over the temple, "Know Thyself." For us, that also means knowing the Greeks. We will cover the period from the Late Bronze Age, c. 1500 BC, down to the time of Philip of Macedon, c. 350 BC, concentrating on the two-hundred-year interval from 600 to 400 BC.