Readers may be wondering why I have devoted several posts on the "Greek Crisis". Apart from newsworthiness - the subject is everywhere, it seems - there is another, less topical reason that goes back thousands of years. Literally.
A couple of weeks ago I had some time on my hands, so I strolled inside a bricks and mortar bookstore to peruse the titles on offer. I am a big fan of history (not just the facts ma'm, gimme some reasoned interpretation too, that's what I pay you for), particularly financial and economic history.
This time, however, I walked out with a hefty, 670-page tome on ancient history. The Classical World by Robin Lane Fox spans the centuries from Homer to Hadrian in a wonderfully written style, arranged in relatively short chapters that had me turning the pages like a novel. The book was written very recently (2008) and is fresh both in content and language. There is none of the ponderously dry academic style here, so common of similar works. This is a serious book, but it is meant to be read and enjoyed, not sit on a shelf to make you look "well-read". (I admit to owning Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, all six volumes, five of which have never been cracked open).
And what does the classical world have to do with today's world? Oh, just Empire, sourcing vital commodities from client states in the Middle East, currency and military domination, an indifferent voting public... you know, nothing important..