Story of the Greek People - E. M. Tappan

This introductory history of Greece spends some time discussing the customs, habits and home life of common people, as well as covering all the major characters and events in Ancient Greek history. Tappan dedicates the first few chapters to introducing some of the most important myths and legends of Greece, and then presents a comprehensive, concise history from the age of Lycurgus until Alexander the Great. This text was written for classroom use and Includes discussion questions and ideas for written assignments, but it is still highly engaging.

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[Book Cover] from Story of the Greek People by E. M. Tappan
Reciting Homer


[Title Page] from Story of the Greek People by E. M. Tappan


The plan of this book is not only to present a simple outline of the chief events in the history of ancient Greece, but also to picture the customs of the people, their manner of living and thinking and feeling. So far as the size and scope of the little volume will permit, the names of those who were masters in art and literature are introduced, not in separate chapters as mere adjuncts to political history, but in their natural connection with the annals of their times, and ever in accordance with Plutarch's dictum, "Often an action of small note, a short saying or a jest, shall distinguish a person's real character more than the greatest sieges or the most important battles."

In treating of the wars of Greece, I have followed their course as briefly as possible, and have given the space often allotted to details of battles to characteristic stories of some of the famous leaders, or a description of some one military operation that illustrates the difference between ancient and modern ways of conducting such affairs. In short, I have used the wars to illustrate the people, and not the people to display the minutiæ of the wars.

The illustrations for the book are intended to put the reader into the spirit of the Greek world, and to aid the imagination in interpreting the text. They have been taken from a great variety of sources, in the majority of cases representing Greek art in the form of architecture, statuary, bas-reliefs, vase-paintings, and coins, which reveal something of the artistic genius and the wonderful versatility of this people.

The never-failing fascination of the study of the Greeks, of their brilliancy of intellect, their love of country, their versatility, even their very faults, must seize upon one who becomes familiar with them in ever so slight a degree. If this little book affords as much pleasure to the reader as its preparation has given to the writer, its existence will be justified.


Important Dates In Greek History

776Beginning of First Olympiad.
621Draco reformed the Athenian laws.
594Solon reformed the Athenian laws.
509Clisthenes reformed the Athenian laws.
500-494Revolt of the Ionians.
490Battle of Marathon (Beginning of Persian War).
480Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis.
479Battles of Plataea and Mycale (End of Persian War).
477The Delian League was formed.
445Peace of Pericles gave quiet to Greece.
445-431Age of Pericles.
421Peace of Nicias (End of first phase of Peloponnesian War).
415-413Sicilian Expedition.
405Battle of Aegospotami.
404Fall of Athens (End of Peloponnesian War).
401-400Retreat of the 10,000 in Persian.
387Peace of Antalcidas ended Corinthian War.
371Battle of Leuctra began the downfall of Sparta.
362Death of Epaminondas ended supremacy of Thebes.
338Battle of Chæronea brought all Greece into power of Philip.
334Alexander crossed the Hellespont to invade Persia.
323Death of Alexander and the division of his empire.

[Contents] from Story of the Greek People by E. M. Tappan
[Map of Greece] from Story of the Greek People by E. M. Tappan