A Culture of Freedom: Ancient Greece and the Origins of Europe by Christian Meier
Historians and President of the German Academy for Language and Literature in Darmstadt and in 2003 received thee prestigious Jacob Grimm prize for German literature. culture so special? A Culture of Freedom attempts to answer this question - to find the key to the 'miracle' of ancient Greece. The book takes us on a tour through the rich spectrum of Greek life and culture, from their epic and lyric poetry, political thought and philosophy, to their social life, military traditions, sport, and religious festivals, and finally to the early stages of Greek democracy. Running as a connecting thread throughout is a people's attempt to create a society based upon the freedom rather than power. It is this which, Meier argues, is the distinctive key to Greek culture, marking it out from all that had gone before, including the ancient societies of the Middle East from which the Greeks otherwise borrowed so much. The ancient Greeks managed to build a society founded on the concept of freedom - and by doing so helped mould the Europe that we live in today.