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The art of classical Greece, and its political and philosophical ideas, have had a profound influence on Western civilization. It was in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. that this Greek cultureâe"material, political and intellectualâe"reached its zenith. At the same time, the Greek states were at their most powerful and quarrelsome. J. K. Davies traces the flowering of this extraordinary society, drawing on a wealth of documentary material: houses and graves, extant sculpture and vases, as well as the writings of historians, orators, biographers, dramatists, and philosophers.