Popular Ancient History Books

29+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Ancient History

Discover the list of some best books written on Ancient History by popular award winning authors. These book on topic Ancient History highly popular among the readers worldwide.

4.3/5

Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine by Barry S. Strauss

Bestselling classical historian Barry Strauss tells the story of three and a half centuries of the Roman Empire through the lives of ten of the most important emperors, from Augustus to Constantine. Barry Strauss’s Ten Caesars is the story of the Roman Empire from rise to reinvention, from Augustus, who founded the empire, to Constantine, who made it Christian and moved the Bestselling classical historian Barry Strauss tells the story of three and a half centuries of the Roman Empire through the lives of ten of the most important emperors, from Augustus to Constantine. Barry Strauss’s Ten Caesars is the story of the Roman Empire from rise to reinvention, from Augustus, who founded the empire, to Constantine, who made it Christian and moved the capital east to Constantinople. During these centuries Rome gained in splendor and territory, then lost both. The empire reached from modern-day Britain to Iraq, and gradually emperors came not from the old families of the first century but from men born in the provinces, some of whom had never even seen Rome. By the fourth century, the time of Constantine, the Roman Empire had changed so dramatically in geography, ethnicity, religion, and culture that it would have been virtually unrecognizable to Augustus. In the imperial era Roman women—mothers, wives, mistresses—had substantial influence over the emperors, and Strauss also profiles the most important among them, from Livia, Augustus’s wife, to Helena, Constantine’s mother. But even women in the imperial family faced limits and the emperors often forced them to marry or divorce for purely political reasons. Rome’s legacy remains today in so many ways, from language, law, and architecture to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Strauss examines this enduring heritage through the lives of the men who shaped it: Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Diocletian and Constantine. Over the ages, they learned to maintain the family business—the government of an empire—by adapting when necessary and always persevering no matter the cost. Ten Caesars is essential history as well as fascinating biography.

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3.7/5

Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures by Stephen Fry

Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly re Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly retells these dramatic, funny, tragic and timeless tales. Join Jason aboard the Argo as he quests for the Golden Fleece. See Atalanta - who was raised by bears - outrun any man before being tricked with golden apples. Witness wily Oedipus solve the riddle of the Sphinx and discover how Bellerophon captures the winged horse Pegasus to help him slay the monster Chimera. Filled with white-knuckle chases and battles, impossible puzzles and riddles, acts of base cowardice and real bravery, not to mention murders and selfless sacrifices, Heroes is the story of what we mortals are truly capable of - at our worst and our very best. ___________ 'Ebullient and funny' The Times 'Entertaining and edifying' Daily Telegraph 'A rollicking good read' Independent 'Fry exhibits enormous erudition and enthusiasm' Mail on Sunday 'The Greek gods of the past become relatable as pop culture, modern literature and music are woven throughout. Joyfully informal yet full of the literary legacy' Guardian

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4.2/5

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (E In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.

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4/5

Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın by Orhan Pamuk

İlk aşk deneyimi bütün bir hayatı belirler mi? Yoksa kaderimizi çizen yalnızca tarihin ve efsanelerin gücü müdür? Orhan Pamuk, Yapı Kredi Yayınları’ndan çıkan yeni romanı “Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın”da bizi otuz yıl önce İstanbul yakınlarındaki bir kasabada liseli bir gencin yaşadığı sarsıcı bir aşk hikâyesiyle, büyük bir insani suçun peşinden sürüklüyor.

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3.8/5

How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization by Mary Beard

Conceived as a gorgeously illustrated accompaniment to “How Do We Look” and “The Eye of Faith,” the famed Civilisations shows on PBS, renowned classicist Mary Beard has created this elegant volume on how we have looked at art. Focusing in Part I on the Olmec heads of early Mesoamerica, the colossal statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, and the nudes of classical Greece, Be Conceived as a gorgeously illustrated accompaniment to “How Do We Look” and “The Eye of Faith,” the famed Civilisations shows on PBS, renowned classicist Mary Beard has created this elegant volume on how we have looked at art. Focusing in Part I on the Olmec heads of early Mesoamerica, the colossal statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, and the nudes of classical Greece, Beard explores the power, hierarchy, and gender politics of the art of the ancient world, and explains how it came to define the so-called civilized world. In Part II, Beard chronicles some of the most breathtaking religious imagery ever made—whether at Angkor Wat, Ravenna, Venice, or in the art of Jewish and Islamic calligraphers— to show how all religions, ancient and modern, have faced irreconcilable problems in trying to picture the divine. With this classic volume, Beard redefines the Western-and male-centric legacies of Ernst Gombrich and Kenneth Clark.

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3.3/5

The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey

The Darkening Age is the largely unknown story of how a militant religion deliberately attacked and suppressed the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to 'one true faith'. Despite the long-held notion that the early Christians were meek and mild, going to their martyr's deaths singing hymns of love and praise, the truth, as Cat The Darkening Age is the largely unknown story of how a militant religion deliberately attacked and suppressed the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to 'one true faith'. Despite the long-held notion that the early Christians were meek and mild, going to their martyr's deaths singing hymns of love and praise, the truth, as Catherine Nixey reveals, is very different. Far from being meek and mild, they were violent, ruthless and fundamentally intolerant. Unlike the polytheistic world, in which the addition of one new religion made no fundamental difference to the old ones, this new ideology stated not only that it was the way, the truth and the light but that, by extension, every single other way was wrong and had to be destroyed. From the 1st century to the 6th, those who didn't fall into step with its beliefs were pursued in every possible way: social, legal, financial and physical. Their altars were upturned and their temples demolished, their statues hacked to pieces and their priests killed. It was an annihilation. Authoritative, vividly written and utterly compelling, this is a remarkable debut from a brilliant young historian.

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3.1/5

The Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79 by Lauren Tarshis

No one in the bustling city of Pompeii worries when the ground trembles beneath their feet. The beast under the mountain Vesuvius, high above the city, wakes up angry sometimes -- and always goes back to sleep. But Marcus is afraid. He knows something is terribly wrong -- and his father, who trusts science more than mythical beasts, agrees. When Vesuvius explodes into a clo No one in the bustling city of Pompeii worries when the ground trembles beneath their feet. The beast under the mountain Vesuvius, high above the city, wakes up angry sometimes -- and always goes back to sleep. But Marcus is afraid. He knows something is terribly wrong -- and his father, who trusts science more than mythical beasts, agrees. When Vesuvius explodes into a cloud of fiery ash and rocks fall from the sky like rain, will they have time to escape -- and survive the epic destruction of Pompeii?

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3.6/5

Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn

National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome. Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rom National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome. Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession. Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . .

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4.9/5

Altar of Blood by Anthony Riches

The ninth novel in the thrilling Empire sequence leads Centurion Marcus Aquila and the Tungrians to the battlefield that was one of Rome's most disastrous defeats. The Tungrians have no sooner returned to Rome than they find themselves tasked with a very different mission to their desperate exploits in Parthia. Ordered to cross the river Rhenus into barbarian Germany and cap The ninth novel in the thrilling Empire sequence leads Centurion Marcus Aquila and the Tungrians to the battlefield that was one of Rome's most disastrous defeats. The Tungrians have no sooner returned to Rome than they find themselves tasked with a very different mission to their desperate exploits in Parthia. Ordered to cross the river Rhenus into barbarian Germany and capture a tribal priestess who may be the most dangerous person on the empire's northern border, they are soon subject to the machinations of an old enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage their plans before they have even set foot on the river's eastern bank. But after their Roman enemy is neutralised they face a challenge greater still. With two of the Bructeri tribe's greatest treasures in their hands they must regain Roman territory by crossing the unforgiving wilderness that was the graveyard of Roman imperial strategy two hundred years before. And capture by the Bructeri's vengeful chieftain and his warband can only end in one way - a horrific sacrificial death on the tribe's altar of blood.

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5/5

Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny by Edward J. Watts

A new history of the Roman Republic and its collapse In Mortal Republic, prizewinning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy. For centuries, even as Rome grew into the Mediterranean's premier military and political power, its governing institutions, parliamentary rules, and pol A new history of the Roman Republic and its collapse In Mortal Republic, prizewinning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy. For centuries, even as Rome grew into the Mediterranean's premier military and political power, its governing institutions, parliamentary rules, and political customs successfully fostered negotiation and compromise. By the 130s BC, however, Rome's leaders increasingly used these same tools to cynically pursue individual gain and obstruct their opponents. As the center decayed and dysfunction grew, arguments between politicians gave way to political violence in the streets. The stage was set for destructive civil wars--and ultimately the imperial reign of Augustus. The death of Rome's Republic was not inevitable. In Mortal Republic, Watts shows it died because it was allowed to, from thousands of small wounds inflicted by Romans who assumed that it would last forever.

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4.1/5

The Rise of Athens: The Story of the World's Greatest Civilization by Anthony Everitt

A magisterial account of how a tiny city-state in ancient Greece became history's most influential civilization, from the bestselling author of acclaimed biographies of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian Filled with tales of adventure and astounding reversals of fortune, The Rise of Athens celebrates the city-state that transformed the world--from the democratic revolution that A magisterial account of how a tiny city-state in ancient Greece became history's most influential civilization, from the bestselling author of acclaimed biographies of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian Filled with tales of adventure and astounding reversals of fortune, The Rise of Athens celebrates the city-state that transformed the world--from the democratic revolution that marked its beginning, through the city's political and cultural golden age, to its decline into the ancient equivalent of a modern-day university town. Anthony Everitt constructs his history with unforgettable portraits of the talented, tricky, ambitious, and unscrupulous Athenians who fueled the city's rise: Themistocles, the brilliant naval strategist who led the Greeks to a decisive victory over their Persian enemies; Pericles, arguably the greatest Athenian statesman of them all; and the wily Alcibiades, who changed his political allegiance several times during the course of the Peloponnesian War--and died in a hail of assassins' arrows. Here also are riveting you-are-there accounts of the milestone battles that defined the Hellenic world: Thermopylae, Marathon, and Salamis among them. An unparalleled storyteller, Everitt combines erudite, thoughtful historical analysis with stirring narrative set pieces that capture the colorful, dramatic, and exciting world of ancient Greece. Although the history of Athens is less well known than that of other world empires, the city-state's allure would inspire Alexander the Great, the Romans, and even America's own Founding Fathers. It's fair to say that the Athenians made possible the world in which we live today. In this peerless new work, Anthony Everitt breathes vivid life into this most ancient story. Praise for The Rise of Athens "[An] invaluable history of a foundational civilization . . . combining impressive scholarship with involving narration."--Booklist "Compelling . . . a comprehensive and entertaining account of one of the most transformative societies in Western history . . . Everitt recounts the high points of Greek history with flair and aplomb." --Shelf Awareness "Highly readable . . . Everitt keeps the action moving."--Kirkus Reviews Praise for Anthony Everitt's The Rise of Rome "Rome's history abounds with remarkable figures. . . . Everitt writes for the informed and the uninformed general reader alike, in a brisk, conversational style, with a modern attitude of skepticism and realism."--The Dallas Morning News "[A] lively and readable account . . . Roman history has an uncanny ability to resonate with contemporary events."--Maclean's "Elegant, swift and faultless as an introduction to his subject." --The Spectator "An engrossing history of a relentlessly pugnacious city's 500-year rise to empire." --Kirkus Reviews "Fascinating history and a great read."--Chicago Sun-Times

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3.1/5

Dictator by Robert Harris

Imperium...Conspirata...and now, the long-awaited final volume of the author's best-selling Cicero trilogy. With Dictator, Robert Harris brings the saga of Cicero's life to a time when some of the most epic events in human history occurred: the collapse of the Roman republic, the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey and the assassination of Julius Caesar. Yet the ques Imperium...Conspirata...and now, the long-awaited final volume of the author's best-selling Cicero trilogy. With Dictator, Robert Harris brings the saga of Cicero's life to a time when some of the most epic events in human history occurred: the collapse of the Roman republic, the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey and the assassination of Julius Caesar. Yet the question it asks is a timeless one: how is political freedom to be safeguarded against the triple threat of unscrupulous personal ambition, of an electoral system dominated by vested financial interests, and of the corrupting impact of waging ceaseless foreign wars? And in the very human figure of Cicero--brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful, and yet ultimately brave--Harris gives us a hero for both his own time, and for ours.

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4.4/5

Hannibal by Patrick N. Hunt (Pen Name)

One of the greatest commanders of the ancient world brought vividly to life: Hannibal, the brilliant general who successfully crossed the Alps with his war elephants and brought Rome to its knees. Hannibal Barca of Carthage, born 247 BC, was one of the great generals of the ancient world. His father, Hamilcar, was also a great strategist and master tactician who imposed Car One of the greatest commanders of the ancient world brought vividly to life: Hannibal, the brilliant general who successfully crossed the Alps with his war elephants and brought Rome to its knees. Hannibal Barca of Carthage, born 247 BC, was one of the great generals of the ancient world. His father, Hamilcar, was also a great strategist and master tactician who imposed Carthaginian rule over much of present-day Spain. After Hamilcar led the Carthaginian forces against Rome in the First Punic War, Hannibal followed in his father’s footsteps, leading Carthage in the Second Punic War. From the time he was a teenager, Hannibal fought against Rome. He is famed for leading Carthage’s army across north Africa, into Spain, along the Mediterranean coast, and then crossing the Alps with his army and war elephants. Hannibal won victories in northern Italy by outmaneuvering his Roman adversaries and defeated a larger Roman army at the battle of Cannae in 216 BC. Unable to force Rome to capitulate, he was eventually forced to leave Italy and return to Carthage when a savvy Roman general named Scipio invaded north Africa. Hannibal and Scipio fought an epic battle at Zama, which Hannibal lost. The terms of surrender were harsh and many Carthaginians blamed Hannibal, eventually forcing him into exile until his death. To this day Hannibal is still regarded as a military genius. Napoleon, George Patton, and Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. are only some of the generals who studied and admired him. His strategy and tactics are still taught in military academies. He is one of the figures of the ancient world whose life and exploits never fail to impress. Historian Patrick N. Hunt has led archeological expeditions in the Alps and elsewhere to study Hannibal’s exploits. Now he brings Hannibal’s incredible story to life in this riveting and dramatic book.

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3.6/5

Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America by Craig Childs

From the author of Apocalyptic Planet comes a vivid travelogue through prehistory, that traces the arrival of the first people in North America at least twenty thousand years ago and the artifacts that tell of their lives and fates. In Atlas of a Lost World, Craig Childs upends our notions of where these people came from and who they were. How they got here, persevered, and From the author of Apocalyptic Planet comes a vivid travelogue through prehistory, that traces the arrival of the first people in North America at least twenty thousand years ago and the artifacts that tell of their lives and fates. In Atlas of a Lost World, Craig Childs upends our notions of where these people came from and who they were. How they got here, persevered, and ultimately thrived is a story that resonates from the Pleistocene to our modern era. The lower sea levels of the Ice Age exposed a vast land bridge between Asia and North America, but the land bridge was not the only way across. Different people arrived from different directions, and not all at the same time. The first explorers of the New World were few, their encampments fleeting. The continent they reached had no people but was inhabited by megafauna--mastodons, giant bears, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, five-hundred-pound panthers, enormous bison, and sloths that stood one story tall. The first people were hunters--Paleolithic spear points are still encrusted with the proteins of their prey--but they were wildly outnumbered and many would themselves have been prey to the much larger animals. Atlas of a Lost World chronicles the last millennia of the Ice Age, the violent oscillations and retreat of glaciers, the clues and traces that document the first encounters of early humans, and the animals whose presence governed the humans' chances for survival. A blend of science and personal narrative reveals how much has changed since the time of mammoth hunters, and how little. Across unexplored landscapes yet to be peopled, readers will see the Ice Age, and their own age, in a whole new light.

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3.9/5

When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt by Kara Cooney

This riveting narrative explores the lives of six remarkable female pharaohs, from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra--women who ruled with real power--and shines a piercing light on our own perceptions of women in power today. Female rulers are a rare phenomenon--but thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, women reigned supreme. Regularly, repeatedly, and with impunity, queens lik This riveting narrative explores the lives of six remarkable female pharaohs, from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra--women who ruled with real power--and shines a piercing light on our own perceptions of women in power today. Female rulers are a rare phenomenon--but thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, women reigned supreme. Regularly, repeatedly, and with impunity, queens like Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra controlled the totalitarian state as power-brokers and rulers. But throughout human history, women in positions of power were more often used as political pawns in a male-dominated society. What was so special about ancient Egypt that provided women this kind of access to the highest political office? What was it about these women that allowed them to transcend patriarchal obstacles? What did Egypt gain from its liberal reliance on female leadership, and could today's world learn from its example? Celebrated Egyptologist Kara Cooney delivers a fascinating tale of female power, exploring the reasons why it has seldom been allowed through the ages, and why we should care.

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4.9/5

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one ye The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies. When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple--but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges...this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

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4.6/5

The Histories by Herodotus , Aubrey de Sélincourt (Translator) , John M. Marincola (Editor, Introduction, Notes)

One of the masterpieces of classical literature, the "Histories" describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus' natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colorful digressions - a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of Eu One of the masterpieces of classical literature, the "Histories" describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus' natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colorful digressions - a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants. With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, the "Histories" offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the fifth century BC.

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5/5

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (E In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.

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4.4/5

Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland

In 49 B.C., the seven hundred fifth year since the founding of Rome, Julius Caesar crossed a small border river called the Rubicon and plunged Rome into cataclysmic civil war. Tom Holland’s enthralling account tells the story of Caesar’s generation, witness to the twilight of the Republic and its bloody transformation into an empire. From Cicero, Spartacus, and Brutus, to In 49 B.C., the seven hundred fifth year since the founding of Rome, Julius Caesar crossed a small border river called the Rubicon and plunged Rome into cataclysmic civil war. Tom Holland’s enthralling account tells the story of Caesar’s generation, witness to the twilight of the Republic and its bloody transformation into an empire. From Cicero, Spartacus, and Brutus, to Cleopatra, Virgil, and Augustus, here are some of the most legendary figures in history brought thrillingly to life. Combining verve and freshness with scrupulous scholarship, Rubicon is not only an engrossing history of this pivotal era but a uniquely resonant portrait of a great civilization in all its extremes of self-sacrifice and rivalry, decadence and catastrophe, intrigue, war, and world-shaking ambition.

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3.9/5

History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides , Rex Warner (Translator) , Moses I. Finley (Introduction/Notes)

Written four hundred years before the birth of Christ, this detailed contemporary account of the long life-and-death struggle between Athens and Sparta stands an excellent chance of fulfilling its author's ambitious claim. Thucydides himself (c.460-400 BC) was an Athenian and achieved the rank of general in the earlier stages of the war. He applied thereafter a passion for Written four hundred years before the birth of Christ, this detailed contemporary account of the long life-and-death struggle between Athens and Sparta stands an excellent chance of fulfilling its author's ambitious claim. Thucydides himself (c.460-400 BC) was an Athenian and achieved the rank of general in the earlier stages of the war. He applied thereafter a passion for accuracy and a contempt for myth and romance in compiling this factual record of a disastrous conflict.

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4/5

The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius , Michael Grant (Introduction) , Robert Graves (Translation)

As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, Suetonius gained access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eye-witness accounts) to produce one of the most colorful biographical works in history. The Twelve Caesars chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Cae As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, Suetonius gained access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eye-witness accounts) to produce one of the most colorful biographical works in history. The Twelve Caesars chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Caesar and Augustus, to the decline into depravity and civil war under Nero, and the recovery that came with his successors. A masterpiece of anecdote, wry observation and detailed physical description, The Twelve Caesars presents us with a gallery of vividly drawn — and all too human — individuals. Robert Graves's celebrated translation, sensitively revised by Michael Grant, captures all the wit and immediacy of Suetonius' original.

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4.3/5

The Odyssey by Homer , Robert Fagles (Translator) , Bernard Knox (Introduction)

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy. So begins Robert Fagles' magnificent translation of the Odyssey, which Jasper Griffin in The New York Times Review of Books hails as "a distinguished achievement." If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, then the Odyssey is liter Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy. So begins Robert Fagles' magnificent translation of the Odyssey, which Jasper Griffin in The New York Times Review of Books hails as "a distinguished achievement." If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, then the Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey though life. Odysseus' reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces, during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, is at once a timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance. In the myths and legends that are retold here, Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom, and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox's superb Introduction and textual commentary provide new insights and background information for the general reader and scholar alike, intensifying the strength of Fagles' translation. This is an Odyssey to delight both the classicist and the public at large, and to captivate a new generation of Homer's students. -- Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, presents us with Homer's best-loved and most accessible poem in a stunning new modern-verse translation.

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3.9/5

The Iliad by Homer , Robert Fagles (Translator) , Bernard Knox (Introduction)

The Iliad is one of the two great epics of Homer, and is typically described as one of the greatest war stories of all time, but to say the Iliad is a war story does not begin to describe the emotional sweep of its action and characters: Achilles, Helen, Hector, and other heroes of Greek myth and history in the tenth and final year of the Greek siege of Troy.

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4.5/5

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West by Tom Holland

In 480 B.C., Xerxes, the King of Persia, led an invasion of mainland Greece. Its success should have been a formality. For seventy years, victory—rapid, spectacular victory—had seemed the birthright of the Persian Empire. In the space of a single generation, they had swept across the Near East, shattering ancient kingdoms, storming famous cities, putting together an empire In 480 B.C., Xerxes, the King of Persia, led an invasion of mainland Greece. Its success should have been a formality. For seventy years, victory—rapid, spectacular victory—had seemed the birthright of the Persian Empire. In the space of a single generation, they had swept across the Near East, shattering ancient kingdoms, storming famous cities, putting together an empire which stretched from India to the shores of the Aegean. As a result of those conquests, Xerxes ruled as the most powerful man on the planet. Yet somehow, astonishingly, against the largest expeditionary force ever assembled, the Greeks of the mainland managed to hold out. The Persians were turned back. Greece remained free. Had the Greeks been defeated in the epochal naval battle at Salamis, not only would the West have lost its first struggle for independence and survival, but it is unlikely that there would ever have been such an entity as the West at all. Tom Holland’s brilliant new book describes the very first “clash of Empires” between East and West. As he did in the critically praised Rubicon, he has found extraordinary parallels between the ancient world and our own. There is no other popular history that takes in the entire sweep of the Persian Wars, and no other classical historian, academic or popular, who combines scholarly rigor with novelistic depth with a worldly irony in quite the fashion that Tom Holland does.

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3.7/5

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon , Daniel J. Boorstin (Introduction) , Giovanni Battista Piranesi (Illustrations) , Hans-Friedrich Mueller (Editor)

Length: 126 hrs and 31 mins The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire was written by English historian Edward Gibbon & originally published in six quarto volumes. Volume 1 was published in 1776, going thru six printings; 2-3 in 1781; 4-6 in 1788-89. It was a major literary achievement of the 18th century, adopted as a model for the methodologies of histo Length: 126 hrs and 31 mins The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire was written by English historian Edward Gibbon & originally published in six quarto volumes. Volume 1 was published in 1776, going thru six printings; 2-3 in 1781; 4-6 in 1788-89. It was a major literary achievement of the 18th century, adopted as a model for the methodologies of historians.The books cover the Roman Empire after Marcus Aurelius, from 180 to 1590. They take as their material the behavior & decisions that led to the eventual fall of the Empire in East & West, offering explanations.Gibbon is called the 1st modern historian of ancient Rome. By virtue of its mostly objective approach & accurate use of reference material, his work was adopted as a model for the methodologies of 19-20th century historians. His pessimism & detached irony was common to the historical genre of his era. Although he published other books, Gibbon devoted much of his life (1772-89) to this one work. His Memoirs of My Life & Writings is devoted largely to his reflections on how the book virtually became his life. He compared the publication of each succeeding volume to a newborn.Gibbon offers an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell, a task difficult because of few comprehensive written sources, tho he wasn't the only historian to tackle the subject. Most of his ideas are taken from what few relevant records were available: those of Roman moralists of the 4-5th centuries. According to Gibbon, the Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions because of lost of civic virtue. They'd become weak, outsourcing defence to barbarian mercenaries, who became so numerous & ingrained that they took over. Romans had become effeminate, incapable of tough military lifestyles. In addition, Christianity created belief that a better life existed after death, fostering indifference to the present, sapping patriotism. Its comparative pacifism tended to hamper martial spirit. Lastly, like other Enlightenment thinkers, he held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious, dark age. It wasn't until his age of reason that history could progress.

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4.3/5

Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy

Tracing the extraordinary trajectory of the great Roman emperor’s life, Goldsworthy covers not only the great Roman emperor’s accomplishments as charismatic orator, conquering general, and powerful dictator but also lesser-known chapters during which he was high priest of an exotic cult, captive of pirates, seducer not only of Cleopatra but also of the wives of his two mai Tracing the extraordinary trajectory of the great Roman emperor’s life, Goldsworthy covers not only the great Roman emperor’s accomplishments as charismatic orator, conquering general, and powerful dictator but also lesser-known chapters during which he was high priest of an exotic cult, captive of pirates, seducer not only of Cleopatra but also of the wives of his two main political rivals, and rebel condemned by his own country. Ultimately, Goldsworthy realizes the full complexity of Caesar’s character and shows why his political and military leadership continues to resonate some two thousand years later. In the introduction to his biography of the great Roman emperor, Adrian Goldsworthy writes, “Caesar was at times many things, including a fugitive, prisoner, rising politician, army leader, legal advocate, rebel, dictator . . . as well as husband, father, lover and adulterer.” In this landmark biography, Goldsworthy examines Caesar as military leader, all of these roles and places his subject firmly within the context of Roman society in the first century B.C.

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4.3/5

The Aeneid by Virgil , Robert Fitzgerald (Translator)

The Aeneid is an epic poem written by Virgil in the 1st century BC. It's hero is Aeneas, a Trojan who travels from Troy to Italy to eventually found Rome. Some argue that The Aeneid is Virgil's answer to Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, combining two genres of the day - travel and war - into one poem. Take that, Homer! No civilization is without a bit of revisionist history: so i The Aeneid is an epic poem written by Virgil in the 1st century BC. It's hero is Aeneas, a Trojan who travels from Troy to Italy to eventually found Rome. Some argue that The Aeneid is Virgil's answer to Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, combining two genres of the day - travel and war - into one poem. Take that, Homer! No civilization is without a bit of revisionist history: so it was that Virgil picked up the story of Aeneas, which was already floating around at the time, and forged an epic founding myth for Rome. And The Aeneid fit the bill, as it linked Rome with the legends of ancient Troy, glorified stodgy Roman values, and legitimized its emperors as descendants of the heroes and gods of the past. George Washington probably didn't chop down a cherry tree, but it's a fun legend to tell the kids.

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4.1/5

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and–after his murder–three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since. Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra’s supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff ‘s is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.

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4.9/5

The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer

This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about hu This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. Dozens of maps provide a clear geography of great events, while timelines give the reader an ongoing sense of the passage of years and cultural interconnection. This narrative history employs the methods of “history from beneath”—literature, epic traditions, private letters and accounts—to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled. The result is an engrossing tapestry of human behavior from which we may draw conclusions about the direction of world events and the causes behind them.

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