Pagan & Christian

The Birth of Classical Europe
A History from Troy to Augustine
Simon Price and Peter Thonemann
Viking, $35, 416 pp.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg is graced by a modern sculpture of the heroine Europa transported over the seas to Crete on the back of an amorous bull, Zeus in disguise. This panhellenic myth appears in the earliest European literature, Homer’s The Iliad, and thereafter is frequently represented in poetry and art. It is appropriate that The Birth of Classical Europe opens with a description of this sculpture and goes on to analyze the varied ways this myth...

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About the Author

Matthew S. Santirocco, a classicist, is Seryl Kushner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at New York University; he also directs NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies and edits the journal Classical World.