The Greeks in Asia

John Boardman


From Britain’s most distinguished historian of ancient Greek art comes this account of the influence of Greek communities and their culture through Central Asia, India, and Western China, from the Bronze Age to the rise of Islam.

John Boardman examines a wealth of art and artifacts as well as literary sources to reveal the remarkable influence of Greek culture on peoples—Anatolians, Levantines, Persians, Asiatics, Indians, and Chinese—whose civilizations were far older, with their own strong traditions in government, the arts, and daily life.

The Greeks were not empire builders. They did not seek to conquer or rule. However, they were highly literate and adept at trade; they spread a monetary economy through Eurasia; their religion was easily adapted to that of others; their art developed a narrative form that was to be dominant for centuries to come; and their poets and philosophers were widely respected outside their homeland. As Boardman notes, “They are an odd phenomenon in world history. Through their travels they came to leave a very distinctive imprint on the lives and arts of many distant peoples.”


Richly illustrated…A fascinating glimpse into the interaction of Greek and Asian culture.

— Publishers Weekly

An in-depth and fascinating look at the results of the mingling of ancient cultures [and] a focused exploration of how the spread of Greek populations to Asia affected the existing civilizations in numerous regions including modern-day China and India… Boardman's wealth of knowledge and numerous excellent photographs make this a fine work for student and specialist alike.

— Library Journal

Insightful, timely, and extremely important….Boardman's sound judgment of Greek art makes his lavishly illustrated book extremely valuable. He paints a vast cultural panorama of Greek life in Asia.

— HuffingtonPost


John Boardman


John Boardman, Lincoln Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology and Art at Oxford University, has written widely on the art and archaeology of ancient Greece. His previous books include The Greeks Overseas, The History of Greek Vases, The World of Ancient Art, and others.