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Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter (The Hinges of History) (Paperback)

Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter (The Hinges of History) By Thomas Cahill Cover Image
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The bestselling author of How the Irish Saved Civilization takes us on a journey through the landmarks of art and bloodshed that defined Greek culture nearly three millennia ago.

“A triumph of popularization: extraordinarily knowledgeable, informal in tone, amusing, wide ranging, smartly paced.” —The New York Times Book Review

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.

About the Author


THOMAS CAHILL’s appealing approach to distant history won the attention of millions of readers in North America and beyond. Cahill is the author of six volumes in the Hinges of History series: How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, Mysteries of the Middle Ages, and Heretics and Heroes. They have been bestsellers not only in the United States but also in countries ranging from Italy to Brazil. He is also the author of A Saint on Death Row. He died in 2022.

Praise For…


“A triumph of popularization: extraordinarily knowledgeable, informal in tone, amusing, wide ranging, smartly paced.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The best introduction to classical Greek culture yet written....  Learned, stylish and inspiring.... Well-informed, insightful and on the whole written in a sparkling style.” —Los Angeles Times

“Astonishing.... If anybody can get us reading about Homer, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Thucydides, Xenophon and more, Cahill will.” —Chicago Tribune

“Fascinating.... Commendable.... Cahill has an impressive knowledge of the Greek world.... His admirable skill at summing up movements of enormous complexity surface throughout the book.” —The Seattle Times


Product Details
ISBN: 9780385495547
ISBN-10: 0385495544
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: July 27th, 2004
Pages: 352
Language: English
Series: The Hinges of History