David Stuttard


Phoenix: a Father, a Son and the Rise of Athens

When we think of ancient Greece we think first of Athens: its power, prestige, and revolutionary impact on art, philosophy, and politics. But on the verge of the fifth century BC, only fifty years before its zenith, Athens was just another Greek city-state in the shadow of Sparta. It would take a catastrophe, the Persian invasions, to push Athens to the fore.

In Phoenix, David Stuttard traces Athens’s rise through the lives of two men who spearheaded resistance to Persia: Miltiades, hero of the Battle of Marathon, and his son Cimon, Athens’s dominant leader before Pericles.

Miltiades’s career was checkered. An Athenian provincial overlord forced into Persian vassalage, he joined a rebellion against the Persians then fled Great King Darius’s retaliation. Miltiades would later die in prison. But before that, he led Athens to victory over the invading Persians at Marathon. Cimon entered history when the Persians returned; he responded by encouraging a tactical evacuation of Athens as a prelude to decisive victory at sea. Over the next decades, while Greek city-states squabbled, Athens revitalized under Cimon’s inspired leadership. The city vaulted to the head of a powerful empire and the threshold of a golden age. Cimon proved not only an able strategist and administrator but also a peacemaker, whose policies stabilized Athens’s relationship with Sparta.

The period preceding Athens’s golden age is rarely described in detail. Stuttard tells the tale with narrative power and historical acumen, recreating vividly the turbulent world of the Eastern Mediterranean in one of its most decisive periods.

Looking at Agamemnon: twelve essays and a translation

Agamemnon is the first of the three plays within the Oresteia and is considered to be one of Aeschylus’ greatest works. This collection of 12 essays, written by prominent international academics, brings together a wide range of topics surrounding Agamemnon from its relationship with ancient myth and ritual to its modern reception.

There is a diverse array of discussion on the salient themes of murder, choice and divine agency. Other essays also offer new approaches to understanding the notions of wealth and the natural world which imbue the play, as well as a study of the philosophical and moral questions of choice and revenge. Arguments are contextualized in terms of performance, history and society, discussing what the play meant to ancient audiences and how it is now received in the modern theatre. Intended for readers ranging from school students and undergraduates to teachers and those interested in drama (including practitioners), this volume includes a performer-friendly and accessible English translation by David Stuttard.

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A History of Ancient Greece in Fifty Lives (paperback)

The political leaders, writers, artists and philosophers of ancient Greece turned a small group of city states into a pan-Mediterranean civilisation, whose legacy can be found everywhere today. But who were these people, what do we know of their lives and how did they interact with one another?

In this original approach to the history of ancient Greece, David Stuttard weaves together the lives of fifty of the most remarkable and influential people from the Greek world into a compelling narrative, from the early tyrant rulers Peisistratus and Polycrates, through the stirrings of democracy under Cleisthenes to the rise of Macedon under Philip II and Alexander the Great and the eventual decline of the Greek world as Rome rose to power.

'Compelling, sympathetic, revelatory and charismatic – a vital volume.' (Bettany Hughes)