This is the first general study of the earliest writers of Greek prose for students and teachers alike. Looking at history, medicine, science, philosophy and rhetoric, it asks why and how these new genres of writing came about in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. It is thus a study of the cultural and political revolution known as the Greek enlightenment, which has proved so influential and important for modern Western thought and society. Questions discussed include how and why rhetoric played such a role in democracy, how history written in prose changes a view of the past, and how science and philosophy construct new models of understanding what authority is. An exploration is offered of how literary history and social and political history interact. Written in a lively and clear style, the book makes a perfect introduction to the classical world of Athens.