An excerpt from Kevin Featherstone and Dimitris Papadimitriou’s book, Prime Ministers in Greece: the Paradox of Power

Prime Ministers in Greece: The Paradox of Power (OUP, 2015)

Kevin Featherstone and Dimitris Papadimitriou

 

The debt crisis that enveloped Greece after 2009 – shaking the international financial markets and raising doubts about the viability of the ‘euro-zone’ – drew attention to how the Greek political system was governed and its capacity to deliver reform. In that sense, the crisis served the purpose of highlighting issues that had been long-ignored, to Greece’s detriment.

The genesis of this book predates the crisis and grew out of a recognition that Greek politics exhibits a paradox: legal scholarship and much public debate assumes that the Prime Minister exercises great authority, often unchecked by others; yet, the practical reality of the PM’s post – reflected in repeated ‘under-performance’ in delivering promised reforms – is of operational weakness, sustaining a lack of control and coordination across the government machine.

Read moreAn excerpt from Kevin Featherstone and Dimitris Papadimitriou’s book, Prime Ministers in Greece: the Paradox of Power

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An excerpt from Sharon Gerstel’s entry, Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium

In 1998, Mrs. Kanella Georgopoulou guided me over stone fences and through fields of donkey thistles to a dilapidated chapel below a small village in the Mani. Bleeding from scratches and parched by the heat of the high sun, we contemplated the face of the Virgin. Once found in the apse of the church, a section of the painting now lay shattered on the ground below. Gazing at the pieces of her village’s history, Mrs. Georgopoulou asked why no one was interested in the past. “When we are gone,” mused the octogenarian, “there will be no one left to tell the tale.” Mrs. Georgopoulou was one of the numerous elderly villagers in the Mani, Boeotia, and Crete who expressed to me the same concern — village life would soon disappear.

Read moreAn excerpt from Sharon Gerstel’s entry, Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium

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This week’s focus: Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium, by Sharon Gerstel

This week we focus on Sharon Gerstel’s book, shortlisted for this year’s award. From the book jacket: “This is the first book to examine the Late Byzantine peasantry through written, archaeological, ethnographic, and painted sources. […] The village is a micro-society, with its own social and economic hierarchies. This text reveals lesser-known individuals – such … Read moreThis week’s focus: Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium, by Sharon Gerstel

An excerpt from Clio’s Other Sons: Berossus and Manetho, by John Dillery

An Opportunity: Hellenization and World History

Something obviously very big happened in the history of the world in the Hellenistic period. Greek, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian cultures, each constituting massive contributions to the achievement of organized human life on our planet, were brought into intimate interplay that, while by no means unprecedented, had not occurred on a similar scale before. Greek culture, the one I know best and with which I am principally concerned, went from being the possession of a relatively small number of people clustered around the shores of the Eastern and Central Mediterranean to a tool of communication and social construction in the hands of many, many more people and in many other places, some quite far from the central Greek homelands.

Read moreAn excerpt from Clio’s Other Sons: Berossus and Manetho, by John Dillery

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This week’s focus: Clio’s Other Sons: Berossus and Manetho by John Dillery

This week we focus on John Dillery’s shortlisted book, Clio’s Other Sons: Berossus and Manetho. Here are some of the questions the author seeks to answer: ‘How did the non-Greek members of the ancient civilizations of the Near East and Egypt view the expulsion of the Persians and the conquest of their lands by the … Read moreThis week’s focus: Clio’s Other Sons: Berossus and Manetho by John Dillery