The Greeks: A Global History


By Roderick Beaton

The Short Take:

This extensive history focused not on ancient or modern day Greece but on the lands where Greek language dominated over four millennia. It was fascinating and highly enlightening. However, be prepared for a lot of geography.


I must give Beaton credit for scattering a number of very helpful maps throughout the text to help you visualize the changing world of Greek language. I still had a bit of trouble, but then geography is not my strongest suit.

I very much appreciated his beginning with the Minoans and the Mycenaeans and his concise explanation of systems collapse theory. The back story to what we think of when we think of Classical Greek culture was especially worth the read for its thoughtful revelations.

In fact the book was chockfull of solid information, providing a clear picture of the complex, and ever-changing world that shaped Greek language, culture, and influenced the migration movement of Greek-speaking communities.

I also learned that more than one thing I had been taught in school was incorrect. Do I trust this author’s scholarship? Absolutely. This is his 12th book focused on some aspect of Greek culture and he has devoted his life to the subject.

I particularly liked little nuggets like the Greek-speaking people of Byzantium thinking of themselves as Roman; they considered themselves the the successors of the Roman Empire, as opposed to any part of Italy or other western areas. I was also glad to learn more about Greece’s modern history, of which I knew only a smattering and much of that incorrect.

It’s a lot of information to download but well worth the time and effort.

A Little Plot:

If you want to trace Greek language and culture you need to start about 1500 BCE. That’s exactly where Beaton begins.

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August 2022