The artifacts and monuments of the Athenian Agora provide our best evidence for the workings of ancient democracy. As a concise introduction to these physical traces, this book has been a bestseller since it was first published almost 20 years ago. Showing how tribal identity was central to all aspects of civic life, the text guides the reader through the duties of citizenship; as soldier in times of war and as juror during the peace. The checks and balances that protected Athenian society from tyrants, such as legal assassination and ostracism, are described. Selected inscriptions are illustrated and discussed, as are ingenious devices such as allotment machines and water clocks, which ensured fairness in the courts. The book ends with some of the lasting products of classical administration; the silver coins accepted around the known world, and the standard weights and measures that continue to protect the consumer from unscrupulous merchants. Now illustrated entirely in color, with updates and revisions by the current director of excavations at the Agora, this new edition of an acknowledged classic will inform and fascinate visitors and students for many years to come.
Reviews & Quotes
"Camps new edition of this little gem improves on Mabel Langs simple
but superb 1987 original[...]The illustrations, now mostly in color, with crisp resolution and almost no glare, are a most welcome improvement. Camp offers appropriate new additions, substitutions, and in some cases, a
reordering or recasting of Langs original images. These changes make
the text more memorable and the illustrations more vital to the book as
This slim volume is thus well-worth including as required reading for almost any introductory undergraduate course to Greek civilization, as this reviewer intends to do at Bucknell University. The book will likewise be attractive to the interested layperson as a brief and general introduction to some of the
most important issues of Athenian political life. In short, this little
volume is everything an Agora Picture Book should be: concise but
informative, easy to read (and to carry), and, now, pretty.
Read the full review at the BMCR website: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2005/2005-08-12.html"
Stephanie Larson, Bucknell University
Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2005.08.12)