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At the height of the Greek financial crisis, reports from colleagues based in Athens painted a sorry picture of respectable citizens who had fallen upon hard times desperately rummaging in dustbins to supplement their dwindling larders. The statistics told an even grimmer story – between 2010 and 2011, suicide rates in Greece rose by 40 per cent.(1)
Shlomo Sand is no stranger to controversy.
Triumph in the West is the triumphant conclusion of J. G. A. Pocock’s series on Edward Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–89).
The first principle of understanding history, I was taught, is to sympathize with the historical actors, to immerse oneself in their context and perspective.(1) Otherwise, history becomes a fabricated reconstruction – more about the writer's ideology than the events of the past.
This is a very interesting volume, which aims to bring together the variety of contexts and genres in which ancient history was employed and studied during the Enlightenment.
The work under review here owes its genesis to the Open University course of the same title, for which it is the core text. As such, it consists of ten interlinked essays, specially commissioned, on the broad theme of the dynamics of difference within and between world religious traditions.