The art of classical Greece, and its political and philosophical ideas, have had a profound influence on Western civilisation. It was in the fifth and fourth centuries BC that this Greek culture – material, political and intellectual – reached its zenith. At the same time, the Greek states were at their most powerful and quarrelsome. J.K. Davies traces the flowering of this extraordinary society, drawing on a wealth of documentary material: houses and graves, extant sculpture and vases, as well as the writings of historians, orators, biographers, dramatists and philosophers. Much of the material from these, the best-documented centuries in Greek history presents a formidable challenge to the interpreter. J.K. Davies builds, chapter by chapter, a coherent narrative of events from often sketchy or inconsistent sources, and shows how sometimes the same evidence can throw up quite different interpretations. He uses the material to create a rich and vivid picture of a changing society whose values and achievements have so influenced our own. Please note that this edition does not include illustrations.