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Few people are better able to write about the civilization of ancient Greece than Paul Cartledge. In this wonderful little book Cartledge focuses on eleven of the most influential city states that made up the core of the Greek world. Cartledge well understands the importance of the city – the polis – as the primary vector of society and culture (particularly politics) in ancient Greece. Cities as ancient as Knossos and as 'modern' as Byzantiumn become the point of entry and observation into the complexities of Greece from prehistoric times to the Hellenistic (and beyond). This is, as Cartledge states, a work of outreach. Nothing radically new happens here, but a lot of fascinating information is packaged in an exciting way for a new generation of enthusiasts and would-be professionals. The writing is crisp and appealing, there are witticisms and wry asides, and plenty of pungent observations about everything from travel to slavery. It should well and truly meet the needs of a broad audience and remind us, once again, of just how much western culture is in debt to ancient Greece.