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Summary

Spend 24 hours with the ancient Athenians. See the city through their eyes as it teeters on the edge of the fateful war that would end its golden age.  

Athens, 416 BC. A tenuous peace holds. The city-state's political and military might are feared throughout the ancient world; it pushes the boundaries of social, literary and philosophical experimentation in an era when it has a greater concentration of geniuses per capita than at any other time in human history. Yet even geniuses go to the bathroom, argue with their spouse and enjoy a drink with friends.  

Few of the city's other inhabitants enjoy the benefits of such a civilised society, though - as multicultural and progressive as Athens can be, many are barred from citizenship. No, for the average person, life is about making ends meet, whether that be selling fish, guarding the temple or smuggling lucrative Greek figs. 

During the course of a day we meet 24 Athenians from all strata of society - from the slave-girl to the councilman, the vase painter to the naval commander, the housewife to the hoplite - and get to know what the real Athens was like by spending an hour in their company. We encounter a different one of these characters every chapter, with each chapter forming an hour in the life of the ancient city. We also get to spy on the daily doings of notable Athenians through the eyes of regular people as the city hovers on the brink of the fateful war that will destroy its golden age.

©2019 Philip Matyszak (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about 24 Hours in Ancient Athens

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Athens v Rome

interesting content and well read but doesn't flow as well as 24 hours in ancient Rome

6 people found this helpful

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a little bit disappointing

Overall, this book is interesting and quite good. John telfer does an excellent job as always. yet, I am slightly disappointed in it not least because, I’d have preferred for it to stick to the narration. Also it relies on fact rather than assumptions about how a typical day would go so the names are familiar which takes away the more disjointed and yet more genuine feel given by 24 hours in ancient Rome which was a much better book. there are some interesting facts here but the stop start nature of the book just spoilt it for me.

4 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Being a huge fan of the author's 24 Hours in Ancient Rome, I was super excited to see this pop up and it did not disappoint one inch. Fun and engaging, finished off with a fabulous reader who doesn't just read but gives a full performance.

4 people found this helpful

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Very entertaining

The book is quite entertaining as well as informative. The narration is one of the best I’ve ever listened to.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant recollection and excellent delivery

This book is well worth listening to for both classicists and amateur historians alike. The recollection of historical sources and the narration by Telfer are amazing. It's a performance I'll go back to many times over.

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Fascinating and entertaining

Using the structure of focusing on different characters and situations at a different hour of the 24 is really effective, and means that I gained a really strong sense of what it was like to live in Athens at a time when Socrates, Alcibiades, Aristophanes, Aspasia and others were there. Fascinating, entertaining, and really well-read (with super voices!)

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Insightful

I have read a number of books on this period. However none of them have been able to bring the period to life as well as this book has.

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Interesting

I took a while to get into this. I found the one one Rome easier. That said, I did learn some interesting facts, and will be purchasing the one on China as these books are well researched

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Brings history to life!

The book is clearly extremely well written and when added to come outstanding, enthusiastic narration, it makes a very enjoyable, educational listening experience. Highly recommended!

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Immersive

I enjoy this thyme of historical novel, the level of detail woven in is brilliant. Having listened to 24h in Ancient Rome before, I did think the different characters could have overlapped or interacted a bit more.