By: Nigel Spivey
The book is organized in a novel way, concentrating on themes that run through the whole period and unite Greek, Etruscan and Roman culture. Chapter I begins with the centrality of the body and its presentation. Chapter II turns to the religious framework and looks at gods and heroes.
Chapter III shows how beliefs crystallized in myth. Chapter IV considers the natural setting and its manipulation by agriculture. Chapter V deals with man as citizen - of the city (Greece) and the empire (Rome).
Chapter VI treats the family, slaves and domestic economy. Chapter VII turns to ideas, the formulations of philosophy that are still with us. Chapter VIII explores the vivid difference between the realms of Dionysos (instinct) and Apollo (intellect).
The last two chapters look at the Classical tradition of art (IX), and at the immense influence of the Classical world on later ages, right up to the present day (X).