Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 21, 2010 - History - 352 pages
In Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, his fourth volume to explore “the hinges of history,” Thomas Cahill escorts the reader on another entertaining—and historically unassailable—journey through the landmarks of art and bloodshed that defined Greek culture nearly three millennia ago.

In the city-states of Athens and Sparta and throughout the Greek islands, honors could be won in making love and war, and lives were rife with contradictions. By developing the alphabet, the Greeks empowered the reader, demystified experience, and opened the way for civil discussion and experimentation—yet they kept slaves. The glorious verses of the Iliad recount a conflict in which rage and outrage spur men to action and suggest that their “bellicose society of gleaming metals and rattling weapons” is not so very distant from more recent campaigns of “shock and awe.” And, centuries before Zorba, Greece was a land where music, dance, and freely flowing wine were essential to the high life. Granting equal time to the sacred and the profane, Cahill rivets our attention to the legacies of an ancient and enduring worldview.

BONUS MATERIAL: This ebook edition includes an excerpt from Thomas Cahill's Heretics and Heroes.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mattries37315 - LibraryThing

The foundations of what we call Western culture today seemingly sprung from one place, Greece, yet that is not the entire truth. Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, the fourth volume of Thomas Cahill’s Hinges ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - vlcraven - LibraryThing

The ancient Greeks looked at the world as it was and thought, ‘We can improve upon all of this. Just…all of it.’ Well, not really. But that’s what they ended up doing. Whether it was in ways of ... Read full review

Contents

THE WARRIOR
15
THE WANDERER
51
How to Party
77
THE POLITICIAN AND THE PLAYWRIGHT
101
THE PHILOSOPHER
138
THE ARTIST
193
THE WAY THEY WENT
229
The Greek Alphabet
265
Chronology
288
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

THOMAS CAHILL is the author of the best-selling books,How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe,The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels,Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus,Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter,Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World, and, most recently,Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World. These six books comprise Volumes I, II, III, IV, V, and VI, respectively, of the Hinges of History, a prospective seven-volume series in which the author recounts formative moments in Western civilization. In "The Hinges of History," Thomas Cahill endeavors to retell the story of the Western World through little-known stories of the great gift-givers, people who contributed immensely to Western, culture and the evolution of Western sensibility, thus revealing how we have become the people we are and why we think and feel the way we do today.

Thomas Cahill is best known, in his books and lectures, for taking on a broad scope of complex history and distilling it into accessible, instructive, and entertaining narrative. His lively, engaging writing animates cultures that existed up to five millennia ago, revealing the lives of his principal characters with refreshing insight and joy. He writes history, not in its usual terms of war and catastrophe, but as "narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance." Unlike all too many history lessons, a Thomas Cahill history book or speech is impossible to forget.

He has taught at Queens College, Fordham University and Seton Hall University, served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was for many years a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Prior to retiring recently to write full-time, he was director of religious publishing at Doubleday for six years. He and his wife, Susan, also an author, founded the now legendary Cahill & Company, whose reader’s catalogue was much beloved in literary households throughout the country. They divide their time between New York, Rome and Paris.

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