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Peter Green (historian)

Peter Morris Green (born 22 December 1924) is a British classical scholar noted for his works on the Greco-Persian Wars, Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age of ancient history, generally regarded as spanning the era from the death of Alexander in 323 BC up to either the date of the Battle of Actium or the death of Augustus in 14 AD.[1] Green's most famous books are Alexander of Macedon, a historical biography first issued in 1970, then in a revised and expanded edition in 1974, which was first published in the United States in 1991; his Alexander to Actium, a general account of the Hellenistic Age, and other works. He is the author of a translation of the Satires of the Roman poet Juvenal, now in its third edition.


  • Biography 1
  • Works 2
    • Book reviews 2.1
  • References 3
  • External links 4


During World War II Green served with the Royal Air Force in Burma. In Firpo's Bar in Calcutta he met and became friendly with another future novelist, Paul Scott, who later used elements of Green's character for the figure of Sergeant Guy Perron in The Raj Quartet.[2]

After the war, Green attended Trinity College of Cambridge University, where he achieved a Double First in Classics, winning the Craven Scholarship and Studentship in 1950. He subsequently wrote historical novels and worked as a journalist. In 1963 he and his family moved to the Greek island of Lesbos, where he was a translator and independent scholar. In 1966 he moved to Athens, where he was recruited to teach classics for College Year in Athens, and published Armada from Athens, a study of the Sicilian Expedition of 415-3 BC (1970), and The Year of Salamis, a history of the Greco-Persian Wars (1971). In 1971 Green was invited to teach at the University of Texas at Austin, where he became Dougherty Centennial Professor of Classics in 1982, emeritus from 1997. In 1986, he held the Mellon Chair of Humanities at Tulane University in New Orleans. He is now an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa and also has held visiting appointments at Princeton University and at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

Bob Dylan used Green's translations of Ovid, found in The Erotic Poems (1982) and The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters (1994) as song lyrics on the albums "Love and Theft" (2001) and Modern Times (2006).

Green is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.[3]

Green was married to Classicist and ancient historian Carin M. C. Green, who died in 2015.[4]


  • The Expanding Eye - A First Journey To The Mediterranean (1952) Illustrated with photographs.
  • Habeas Corpus And Other Stories (1954) Eight Short Stories
  • Achilles His Armour (1955) (historical novel about Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian War).
  • Cat in Gloves (Under pseudonym Denis Delaney) (1956), Gryphon Books
  • The Sword of Pleasure (1957) (fictional memoirs of Sulla)
  • Kenneth Grahame: A Biography: The Dramatic and Human Story of the Fascinating and Complex Man Who Wrote The Wind in the Willows (1959)
  • Writers & their Work - Sir Thomas Browne (1959) Longman for The British Council
  • Writers & their Work - John Skelton (1960) Longman for the British Council
  • Essays in Antiquity (1960)
  • The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel About Sappho of Lesbos (1965)
  • The Year of Salamis, 480-479 BC (1970) (UK) = Xerxes at Salamis (1970) (USA)
  • Alexander the Great (1970)
  • Armada from Athens (1970)
  • The Shadow of the Parthenon: Studies in Ancient History and Literature (1972)
  • The Parthenon (1973)
  • A Concise History of Ancient Greece to the Close of the Classical Era (1973)
  • Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.; A Historical Biography (1974; re-issue in U.S., 1991, as indicated below)[5]
  • Ancient Greece: An Illustrated History (1979)
  • Ovid: The Erotic Poems (1982)
  • Classical Bearings: Interpreting Ancient History and Culture (1989)
  • Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age (1990)
  • Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography (1991)
  • Andrei Tarkovsky: The Winding Quest (1993) NOTE: This book is frequently attributed to this Classical historian Peter Green, but is NOT his work. It is by another Peter Green.
  • The Argonautica by Apollonios Rhodios, (translation) (1997)
  • The Greco-Persian Wars (1996) (update of The Year of Salamis)
  • From Ikaria to the Stars: Classical Mythification, Ancient and Modern (2004)
  • The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters (2004)
  • The Poems of Catullus (2005)
  • Alexander The Great and the Hellenistic Age (2007)
  • The Hellenistic Age: A Short History (2007)

Book reviews


  1. ^ "Novelist, Critic, Translator, Historian: An Interview with Peter Green"
  2. ^ Hilary Spurling. Paul Scott: A Life. London: Hutchinson, 1990, pp. 144, 148.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Obituary "Professor Carin M. Green March 30, 1948 - July 2, 2015 Iowa City, Iowa"
  5. ^

External links

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