Magill’s Choice: Ancient Greece

“According to the publisher's note, "By design, Magill's Choice reference sets compile and update previously published material from Salem Press." This set brings together 29 new essays and 315 essays from Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476 C.E. (2004), ed. by M. W. Chavalas; Great Lives from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory--476 C.E. (2004), ed. by C. A. Salowey; Cyclopedia of World Authors, ed. by F. N. Magill et al. (4th rev. ed., 2004; 3rd ed., CH, Oct'97, 35-0646); Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, ed. by T. J. Sienkiewicz (CH, May'02, 39-4957); and Weapons and Warfare (CH, Apr'02, 39-4349) and Magill's Guide to Military History, (CH, Oct'01, 39-0685), both ed. by J. Powell. Each entry's bibliography has been updated. A complete list of contents is reprinted in all volumes, along with three maps of Greece and the Near East. Entries provide phonetic pronunciations for Greek words. Biographical entries are divided according to date, category of activity, life, and influence, with see also references to other entries in the set. Although the work includes a discussion of the homoeroticism of Sappho's poetry, overall the topics of gender and sexuality are underrepresented. The index includes no terms for homosexuality, lesbianism, or sex. The "Women's Lives" entry includes a discussion of women's contributions. The third volume contains a glossary of terms; a list of historic sites with URLs; literary works by author; a time line; a bibliography of secondary sources; and indexes by category, name, and subject. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers.”

“This useful “Masterplots” style work is part of the Magill’s Choice series. Entries have been drawn from a number of the publisher’s larger sets, including Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (2002), Great Lives From History: The Ancient World, Prehistory–476 C.E. (2004), and Magill’s Guide to Military History (2001). In addition, 29 new essays were added, and all bibliographies were updated.
The format is straight dictionary-style, which is good because only the third volume has the indexes by category, personage, and subject. The time period covers prehistory to the Battle of Actium when Rome defeated Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemies. Entries range from a few lines to a few pages, and some have more references than text. Entries for persons generally give birth and death dates and places, an index categories, a biography, and a paragraph or more on the individual’s significance or influence. Entries for some events also have a note on significance; for example, Thermopylae, Battle of. Religion, daily life, and individual cities are among the other topics that are covered. Many articles have illustrations, and some have sidebars or time lines.
Besides the indexes, the third volume has a glossary, a list of historic sites, a list of surviving Greek books, a time line, an extensive bibliography, and a list of Web sites with the note that they were active as of April 2006. The list of historical sites also indicates Web sites, but many of them link to Wikipedia, which is not always as reliable as a librarian might wish. Public and school libraries will find this useful for the recurring ancient Greece assignment. Academic libraries with undergraduate ancient history programs will also find it useful, particularly if they do not already own the parent sets.”