Ancient Greeks on the Human Condition

Themes in the Writings of Homer, Aristophanes, Euripides and Thucydides


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About the Book

This book examines the writings of four ancient Greeks–Homer, Thucydides, Euripides, and Aristophanes. Each of these four individuals represents a different approach toward the human condition, ranging from the heroic and tragic to the comic and absurd. This book focuses on how the human condition can best be understood within the framework of these four perspectives by examining the major contributions of these Greek writers, whether in the form of epic (Homer’s Iliad), history (Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War), or drama (the plays of Euripides and Aristophanes). These various perceptions of Greek thought illuminate our understanding of what it means to be fully human. By focusing on the concepts of the heroic, tragic, comic, and absurd, we can see how these ancient Greek authors still provide key insights for us today as they clarify those timeless features that define the human condition.

About the Author(s)

Matthew Sims teaches humanities at Saint Petersburg College, Tarpon Springs campus, in Florida and has been teaching humanities for over 20 years at various academic institutions. He has also published an essay on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Bibliographic Details

Matthew Sims
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7578-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4268-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction 3
One—A Humanities Perspective of the Human Condition 9
Two—Rediscovering the Ancient Greeks in the Modern World 21
Three—Four Greek Perspectives of the Human Condition 31
Four—War and the Heroic Worldview: Homer’s Iliad 46
Five—History as Tragic: Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War 76
Six—Euripides and the Absurd: Iphigenia at Aulis and The Bacchae 102
Seven—Aristophanes’ Comic Vision: The Clouds and Lysistrata 130
Eight—Perceiving the Humanities Through Greek Eyes 159
Chapter Notes 179
Bibliography 187
Index 193