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How to Survive in Ancient Greece (ePub)

Ancient History P&S History

By Robert Garland
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 14.0 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526754714
Published: 22nd June 2020


£4.99 Print price £14.99

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History Hit

An article written by the author for Dan Snow's History Hit: 'What Did the Ancient Greeks Eat and Drink?'

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Imagine you were transported back in time to Ancient Greece and you had to start a new life there. How would you fit in? Where would you live? What would you eat? Where would you go to have your hair done? Who would you go to if you got ill, or if you were mugged in the street? All these questions, and many more, will be answered in this new how-to guide for time travellers.

Part self-help guide, part survival guide, this lively and engaging book will help the reader deal with the many problems and new experiences that they will face, and also help them to thrive in this strange new environment.

As featured in

The Journal of Classics Teaching

This book examines what daily life would have been like if you were to suddenly find yourself transported back 2500 years to Ancient Greece. It is certainly not presented as an academic text book but its main advantage is that it’s a quick and easy read that teachers of all age groups will find accessible for a quick synopsis of the many varied aspects of life in Athens, however the content would restrict direct reading to the Secondary age group. A useful first introduction that doesn’t take an overly romantic view of the era!

Ashley Holt, The Hoplite Association

I found this very interesting I learned a lot about how life really was in ancient Greece and really enjoyed the authors writing style.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A both hilarious and informative guide to Ancient Greece. I love the way Garland provides his insight, along with decent facts that I surprisingly didn't know! Choosing to focus mostly in Athens and Sparta was definitely one of the better choices, and picking a small time period made things flow really well. The integration of Sparta as a contrast, showing not everywhere in Greece was the same, also helps with the narrative the author is creating. Fun and interesting!

NetGalley, Renee Trenaman

Found this to be an enjoyable and informative read. It's not textbook-deep into Greek history, but it covers what's necessary to give context and paint a picture of this Athens 'we' are going to get lost in. Found it to be very descriptive, knowing what it was talking about, and that eternal little touch of humor throughout, in the slightly sartorial tone, made this an even more enjoyable journey. Perfect if you want to know more about Ancient Greece (say after watching movies like 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire) to put you further into that world.

NetGalley, Zee M

We all have read the stories about Ancient Greece. From the rise of Athens and Sparta to the Persian Wars and from King Leonidas and Themistokles to Alexander the Great. But imagine, if you went back in time to Ancient Greece and you had to start a new life there. How and Where would you live? What would you eat? How would you earn your livelihood? All these questions, and many more, will be answered in How to Survive in Ancient Greece in a mock survival guide for those who wish to live in Ancient Greece.

Throughout history, the focus has always been on kings and empires. There has been little focus on how the common people lived in any particular era. Set in the year 420 B.C, often considered the Golden Age of Classical Greece, How to Survive in Ancient Greece is a funny yet informative look at the life in ancient Greece. The author has covered several important aspects of Greek life, such as food, housing, gods, slavery, family, food and clothing, class/social structure, politics, religion. It covers even several less discussed aspects like entertainment, marriage, travel, crime, etc. Any aspect of life, which is you can think of, is covered in this book.

The book is written in a light and humorous style, explaining varied facts in a fun way. The author has done a great job when it comes to research, which in my opinion was top notch. The chapters are kept short to keep you interested.

NetGalley, Sumit RK

Wow! It's almost like the author takes the reader back in a time machine to ancient Greece. He describes all aspects of early Greek life. From the rich to the poor. Far from the romanticized notions of Greece as a good place to live, he explains the short life spans, the diseases, the lack of sanitation, the patriarchy, and on and on. Easy to read, easy to understand, and told in an engaging manner. I, for one, am sure glad that I did not live back then!

NetGalley, Randal White

"How to Survive in Ancient Greece" is a very informative and funny reading.
The author has done a great job to give all details on life in ancient Greece. Certain parts of the book like those describing how was cultural life in Athens are really fascinating and seem very modern, even for our time. However, for other considerations such as short lifespan, the importance of diseases, male-female relationships, slavery and others, I will definitely not change today's life to go and live in ancient Greece.

I recommend this book to those who like history. They will definitely appreciate the fun way taken by the author to tell the everyday life in the Ancient Greece.

NetGalley, Achour Ait Mohand

A brilliantly irreverent way to learn about life in Ancient Greece.

I'm a fully-fledged History and Mythology nerd so there was no real new information for me but it was a fun way to refresh the memory banks whilst I was stuck at home on lockdown. Written almost as a Tourist Guide to Ancient Greece for a far-flung traveller from the future, the pages read like a what not to do if you want to blend in guide!

NetGalley, Nicola Brooks

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book, filled with so many tidbits of information about how everyday life is lived. Well wrillen, intelligent and articulate.
If you have even a smidgen of interest in ancient history you will assuredly enjoy this book.

NetGalley, Chrisana Droigk

This is such a fun book! I learned so much about ancient Greece. I really enjoyed that you learned how to live there, and what you could encounter if you were to be living in ancient Greece. It touches on so many aspects of life, and it never failed to bore me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

NetGalley, Linde Boon

"How to Survive in Ancient Greece" is a very informative and fun read. The author has done a great job to give all details on life in ancient Greece. Certain parts of the book like those describing how was cultural life in Athens are really fascinating and seem very modern, even for our time. However, for other considerations such as short lifespan, the importance of diseases, male-female relationships, slavery and others, I will definitely not change today's life to go and live in ancient Greece.

I recommend this book to those who like history. They will definitely appreciate the fun way taken by the author to tell the everyday life in the Ancient Greece.

NetGalley, Achour Ait Mohand

If you are interested in the subject, this book is a treasure trove. Read about Athenian history and learn how the city was run. Learn more about the religion, the family the system of slavery and more. Find out how women were viewed by men, how children were treated and educated, where to shop, what a house looked like, jobs and more. This book includes so many interesting sections.

If you are a person who enjoys imagining life in other eras, give this book a try. I think that you will be fascinated.

NetGalley, Joyce Laudon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. Garland is able to narrate life in ancient Athens in a fascinating and fun way that makes it enjoyable to learn about the roots of modern western culture.

"How to Survive in Ancient Greece" is structured in small chapters that look at different aspects of ancient greek life, focusing mainly on Athens. The author uses an informal, but elegant writing style and he occasionally detaches himself from the reality of ancient Athens by making jokes or putting it into a modern perspective.

Even though I have studied ancient Greek, I learned a lot from this book, because it takes a fresh angle to the subject and answers many questions that are not typically addressed in class.

I would recommend this book for people who want to experience history in a fun way, and for people who want to brush up on their knowledge of ancient Greece or use this book as a complementary read that is a bit easier to read and understand than a lot of the literature about the ancient world.

NetGalley, Lux X

Sort of like a pre-Stargate dimensional portal handbook, this is a guide on what to do for work and fun, how different levels of the population are treated and regarded, how this look and appear, and what to wear and eat. It's very open and good-luck-with-that fatalistic with how primitive, dangerous, and painful things are. Somewhat more light-heartedly myself, I prefer the bits about eating and shopping.

NetGalley, Kristine Fisher

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It was a fun way to learn about everyday life in Ancient Greece.
I enjoyed this well researched and interesting book that kept me hooked while learning a lot.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When wondering about ancient Greece most of what we know comes from the Grreks themselves. Interesting as this might be, it doesn't give much insight into what daily life was really like. What would you wear, what would you eat, how would you spend your day -- these are questions the book answers. By addressing the reader directly and by using an informal style throughout, Garland teaches and engages the reader. It's a wonderful book for classicists and those interested in Ancient Greece.

NetGalley, Janet Perry

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

This book talked about what daily life was like in Athens during the classical period (specifically in 420 BC). The author used a humorous tone but provided good, educational material. He covered war, work, family, food and clothing, class/social structure, politics, religion, entertainment, marriage, travel, crime, trials, slavery, medical practices, illness, and death. He talked about the differences in how men, women, and children were treated as well as the difference between slaves, poor, and rich. After talking about the different aspects of life, the author had pretend interviews with different types of people (teenage girl, widow, crime victim, politician, philosopher, etc.) talking about their life in ancient Athens. Overall, I'd recommend this entertaining way to learn more about daily life in classical Athens (and some about Sparta).

NetGalley, Deborah White

If you ever wondered if you would be able to survive in Ancient Greece, this is the answer! I don't think that I would have coped particularly well at all. After reading this I think I may have been mugged in the streets or rendered useless by being unable to cope with how dirty things were. Despite the fact I probably wouldn't survive, I loved learning about life in Ancient Greece and found it truly interesting.

This wasn't a heavy read and remained informative without becoming dull. Robert Garland gives us a guided tour on life for the Ancient Greeks. From clothing and appearance to work, health and hygiene to travel and religion. This has been perfectly created as half survival guide and half information book. It's refreshing escapism when you can't leave the house.

NetGalley, Anna Cooper

This was an enjoyable foray through Ancient Greece. Written as a bit of a travel guide for the erstwhile 21st century time traveller, Garland provides a whistle-stop account of what to expect upon arrival. It was easy to read and provided some interesting facts that I hadn't encountered before.

NetGalley, Madeline McCreanor

This was a fantastic read to ponder through!
Have you ever wondered about a time period and how people would have lived and survived? Well this book takes you through what days would have been like in ancient Greece and upon reading this, as a woman I don't think I would have survived long in that time period.

This book is humorous and stoked in historical information. Find out so many things you have forgotten from school and learn so many more too.

This is a different type of way of learning about ancient history and times in a fun, interesting and unique way!

NetGalley, Natalie Horman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

"How to Survive in Ancient Greece" was a fun, and funny, look at life in Ancient Greece. It's really well-written, and the humour has probably helped me remember a few things I probably would have forgotten otherwise. The very last section of the book could have been 10 times longer, and I'm kind of hoping that Mr Garland will write another book with more of this. Sadly, I learned that my chances of surviving are very slim... I think I'll just stay home and read this book again!

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

Ever wondered what it would be like to live with the Ancient Athenians or Spartans? Well, mostly not that much fun (especially if you are a woman or non-citizen) but it certainly sounds interesting. This vivacious exploration of the lives led by people in the city states now collectively known as Ancient Greece is a thoroughly engaging read. Robert Garland takes us through every aspect of daily life from how people bathed or socialised to weightier matters like religion and politics. The style of this book is light and energetic, it’s a fun way to learn fascinating facts about this period of history.

NetGalley, Zoe Nock

The chapters were well divided and a perfect length to keep you interested but not too long and too detailed that you lose focus.

NetGalley, Emy Girard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely devoured this book in one quick sitting. I don’t dare call myself a history buff as I am sure there are many people who’s knowledge would surpass mine. However, I am the type of history nerd who spends too much time trying to imagine what life was like in previous eras.
So you must understand that when I saw this book, it was heaven sent.
My day dreaming has now included the knowledge of how I would survive and infection, or how I would stay clean. It may seem pointless but it to a nerd like myself, it was so informative that It has joined as a reference in the endless unless knowledge base.

NetGalley, Joanna Adams

AN easy, quick read for many age levels: I know my one nephew will be fascinated by this book!

NetGalley, Janet Pole Cousineau

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a short book, but one which is excellently written and approaches the subject in a really unusual way. It feels a bit like a "rough Guide" or any other modern travel book. I found it absolutely fascinating and will be recommending it widely. I hope Mr Garland writes some more about other ancient cultures!

NetGalley, Sara McGrail

About Robert Garland

Robert Garland was the Roy D. and Margaret B. Wooster Professor of the Classics at Colgate University, where he taught for 30 years. He attended drama school before completing his Ph.D. at University College London. He has recorded five courses for The Great Courses and written two videos for TED Animation. Robert has published 13 academic books on Greek and Roman history, and has recently finished a comic historical novel. He considers his most important contribution to the discipline to have been to identify categories of people who have been generally overlooked or marginalised in conventional accounts of ancient history, such as the disabled and refugees. He is the author of How To Survive in Ancient Greece and Greek Mythology: Gods and Heroes Brought to Life, also published by Pen & Sword. He is a practising artist.

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