"We Greeks are one in blood and one in language; we have temples to the gods and religious rites in common, and a common way of life." Herodotus
Throughout the course of ancient Greek civilization, there always existed a sense of shared culture among the many Greek communities scattered throughout the Mediterranean. During the Classical (479-338) and Hellenistic (338-30) periods, the countless individual poleis of the Archaic period gradually came together in leagues and alliances, and finally were more or less united when they fell under the Roman empire.
But what is fascinating about this process is how much resistance there was to it. The Greeks found it impossible to unify when faced with common enemies. Even under Roman rule the Greek cities still bickered. Acts of union - going back to the legendary Trojan War - were widely celebrated, but made little practical difference. If the Greeks knew that they were kin, why is Greek history so often the history of their internecine wars and other forms of competition with one another? This is the
question acclaimed historian Robin Waterfield sets out to explore in Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens.
This extraordinary contradiction - the recognition that they were all Greeks, but the deep-seated reluctance to unify - is at the heart of this ambitious new history. The culmination of a lifetime of research, Waterfield gives a comprehensive account of seven hundred years, from the emergence of the Greeks around 750 BCE to the downfall of the last of the Greco-Macedonian kingdoms in 30 BCE, looking at political, military, social, and cultural history.
Robin Waterfield is an independent scholar, living in southern Greece. In addition to more than twenty-five translations of works of Greek literature, he is the author of numerous books, most recently Taken at the Flood: The Roman Conquest of Greece (OUP, 2014).