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Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece

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Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece
By Sean Sheehan. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum: 2002. Illustrated, Pg. 160.) ISBN: 0-89236-667-2.

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - July 21, 2002

Although written with a younger audience in mind, Sean Sheehan's new book Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece is sure to fascinate you no matter what your age. This engrossing book covers a range of topics associated with Ancient Greece, including Greek mythology, art, culture, history, and everyday life in Ancient Greece. There are over 250 entries in this one volume encyclopedia. All entries are organized alphabetically. In addition, this encyclopedia contains 275 illustrations and nine maps.

One aspect of this book which makes it an ideal study guide for young readers is that Sheehan has interwoven 'trails' throughout the book. These trails are found in all the entries, and they consist of boldly printed words within the entry's text. The reader can follow the trail by looking up these words, thereby learning more about the original topic. For examples, if you were to look up the word Democracy you will find a number of trails, including government, Athens, citizens, city-state, Assembly, law courts, ostracism, women, and slaves. Assume that ostracism struck your interest, and you looked up this term. Besides finding new trails to follow, you would find that:
...The term (ostracism) comes from the Athenians' system of banishing a person from their city-state for a period of ten years. Once a year, citizens would write the name of the politician they wanted banished on a piece of broken pottery, called an ostrakon. Anyone receiving 6,000 votes, or the person with the most votes over 6,000 votes, was given ten days to pack up and leave...
In addition to finding 'trails' imbedded in the various entries, Sheehan has also included a list of trails on major topics to get you started. A sampling of these trails includes Art & Architecture, Legacy of Greece, Warfare, Troy, and Writers. To further assist you on your adventure through Greek history, each of these preset trails is associated with a particular icon that can be found under the entry title of each entry associated with one of the thirteen preset trails.

This book was written for reader age nine and up. Each entry is clearly written and the information imparted in a concise and engaging manner. Whether the reader is new to the study of Ancient Greece, or a long term 'fan', this book is sure to enthrall them - and anyone who chances to glance through the pages of this reader-friendly encyclopedia.


Related Reviews:

Great Moments in Greek Archaeology, by Vasileios Petrakos, et al.
This groundbreaking book is lavishly illustrated with 658 Color illustrations, and includes 25 essays that provide a detailed overview of the discovery and excavations of some of the greatest monuments, shipwrecks, and sculptures from Ancient Greece.

Life, Myth, and Art in Ancient Greece, by Emma J. Stafford.
An illustrated, general guidebook to the world of the ancient Greeks - for readers of all ages.

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