Educated at Palermo, Rome and Heidelberg, the classical and economic historian Karl Julius Beloch (1845-1929) lived most of his life in Italy, becoming a professor extraordinarius of ancient history at the University of Rome in 1879. German scholars, notably Theodor Mommsen, criticised Beloch's work for his scepticism towards traditional material and his more subjective approach. In addition to important work on ancient demography, he produced this controversial yet influential opus, revised and published in four volumes between 1912 and 1927, in which he questions conventional views on Greek history. Each volume in its first part outlines historical events and in the second part goes into greater detail, emphasising Beloch's unique perspective. The first part of Volume 4 covers the origins and the nature of Hellenistic civilisation, looking at topics such as culture, science and general world view at that time.