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Johanna Hanink's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Johanna Hanink recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Johanna Hanink's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Landmark Xenophon's Hellenika

From the editor of the widely praised The Landmark Thucydides and The Landmark Herodotus, here is a new edition of Xenophon’s Hellenika, the primary source for the events of the final seven years and aftermath of the Peloponnesian War.

Hellenika covers the years between 411 and 362 B.C.E., a particularly dramatic period during which the alliances among Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Persia were in constant flux. Together with the volumes of Herodotus and Thucydides, it completes an ancient narrative of the military and political history of classical...
Recommended by Johanna Hanink, and 1 others.

Johanna HaninkHe goes through to the end of the Peloponnesian War and becomes the major source that we have for what happened in Athens during the rise and the rule of the Thirty Tyrants. He then goes on into this very interesting period, in the first part of the 4th century, when Athens has some aspirations to regain the Aegean empire that it had. (Source)

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How does the funeral oration relate to democracy in ancient Greece? How did the death of an individual citizen-soldier become the occasion to praise the city of Athens? In The Invention of Athens, Nicole Loraux traces the different rhetoric, politics, and ideology of funeral orations--epitaphioi--from Thucidydes, Gorgias, Lysias, and Demosthenes to Plato. Arguing that the ceremony of public burial began circa 508-460 BCE, Loraux demonstrates that the institution of the funeral oration developed under Athenian democracy. A secular, not a religious phenomenon, a literary genre with fixed... more
Recommended by Johanna Hanink, and 1 others.

Johanna HaninkThis remains my favourite book in the field. The Invention of Athens is the book that really got me interested in this time period and in the question, ‘How were the Athenians just so capable of convincing not only other people who lived in their own time, but even people in later generations, that their city was so profoundly special?’ (Source)

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Alcibiades was one of the most dazzling figures of the Golden Age of Athens. A ward of Pericles and a friend of Socrates, he was spectacularly rich, bewitchingly handsome and charismatic, a skilled general, and a ruthless politician. He was also a serial traitor, infamous for his dizzying changes of loyalty in the Peloponnesian War. Nemesis tells the story of this extraordinary life and the turbulent world that Alcibiades set out to conquer.

David Stuttard recreates ancient Athens at the height of its glory as he follows Alcibiades from childhood to political power. Outraged...
Recommended by Johanna Hanink, and 1 others.

Johanna HaninkHe knows everyone and shows up everywhere, so if you follow his story, as Stuttard does, you wind up running into every major figure and place in the Greek world in this period. So actually, just because he got around so much, Alcibiades is a very effective way of tracing the bigger story of this historical period. (Source)

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Pericles of Athens

The definitive biography of the legendary first citizen of Athens

Pericles has the rare distinction of giving his name to an entire period of history, embodying what has often been taken as the golden age of the ancient Greek world. Periclean Athens witnessed tumultuous political and military events, and achievements of the highest order in philosophy, drama, poetry, oratory, and architecture. Pericles of Athens is the first book in decades to reassess the life and legacy of one of the greatest generals, orators, and statesmen of the classical world. In this...
Recommended by Johanna Hanink, and 1 others.

Johanna HaninkThucydides really sees Pericles as the foremost citizen of the time. He even gives his name to this era: today we call it ‘the Periclean era.’ Azoulay gives a slightly different interpretation. He’s interested in the ways in which Pericles was constrained by the political circumstances, and was guided or constrained in his policies by the people. (Source)

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The Landmark Herodotus

The Histories

From the editor of the widely praised The Landmark Thucydides, a new Landmark Edition of The Histories by Herodotus.Cicero called Herodotus "the father of history," and his only work, The Histories, is considered the first true piece of historical writing in Western literature. With lucid prose, Herodotus's account of the rise of the Persian Empire and its dramatic war with the Greek city sates set a standard for narrative nonfiction that continues to this day. Illustrated, annotated, and filled with maps—with an introduction by Rosalind Thomas, twenty-one appendices... more
Recommended by Timothy Garton Ash, Johanna Hanink, and 2 others.

Timothy Garton AshHe is the father of us all. I read it when I was at school and he’s really the first one who goes around with his eyes and ears and notebook open, recording all these fantastic stories and trying to put it all together to work out what happened and why. (Source)

Johanna HaninkThe main subject of his Histories is the Persian invasion of Greece, but he does a lot more than just write about the Greco-Persian wars. He’s very interested in ethnography and documenting the specificities of different cultures beyond Greece (Source)

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