Ancient History Books

  • ARYXN
    Mary Beard
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    Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller Ancient Rome matters. Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today. SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us. Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome. SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, 'the Senate and People of Rome'.
  • AGMDK
    Mary Beard
    (1)
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    'This marvellous book won the Wolfson History Prize and is a model of subtle but accessible writing about the past' Judith Rice, Guardian 'Classicist Mary Beard has had a great time rooting about that ghostly place and she has brought it quite splendidly back to life' Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Telegraph 'To the vast field of Pompeiana she brings the human touch - this absorbing, inquisitive and affectionate account of Pompeii is a model of its kind. Beard has caught the quick of what was and, in our lives today, remains the same' Ross Leckie, The Times 'Very readable and excellently researched - Beard's clear-sighted and accessible style makes this a compelling look into history' Alexander Larman, Observer 'If you want to know what really happened in the last days of the petrified city, Beard's meticulous reconstruction will fill you in, scraping away many of your preconceptions as it goes, while her evocative writing will transport you back' Guardian (Best Holiday Books)
  • AJGNE
    • £9.89
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    Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists - a brilliant academic, with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience both though her books and TV presenting. In a series of sparkling essays, she explores our rich classical heritage - from Greek drama to Roman jokes, introducing some larger-than-life characters of classical history, such as Alexander the Great, Nero and Boudicca. She invites you into the places where Greeks and Romans lived and died, from the palace at Knossos to Cleopatra's Alexandria - and reveals the often hidden world of slaves. She brings back to life some of the greatest writers of antiquity - including Thucydides, Cicero and Tacitus - and takes a fresh look at both scholarly controversies and popular interpretations of the ancient world, from The Golden Bough to Asterix. The fruit of over thirty years in the world of classical scholarship, Confronting the Classics captures the world of antiquity and its modern significance with wit, verve and scholarly expertise.
  • AAAKN
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    In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks, and "Eine kurze Weltgeschichte fur junge Leser" was published in Vienna to immediate success, and is now available in twenty-five languages across the world. In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colourful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind's experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity's achievements and an acute witness to its frailties.The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history.
  • ARGZI
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    They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. They built the Parthenon and the Library of Alexandria. They wrote the timeless myths of Odysseus and Oedipus, and the histories of Leonidas' three hundred Spartans and Alexander the Great. But who were the ancient Greeks? And what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? Here, Edith Hall gives us a revelatory way of viewing this geographically scattered people, visiting different communities at various key moments during twenty centuries of ancient history. Identifying ten unique traits central to the widespread ancient Greeks, Hall unveils a civilization of incomparable richness and a people of astounding complexity - and explains how they made us who we are today. "A thoroughly readable and illuminating account of this fascinating people...This excellent book makes us admire and like the ancient Greeks equally." (Independent). "A worthy and lively introduction to one of the two groups of ancient peoples who really formed the western world." (Sunday Times). "Throughout, Hall exemplifies her subjects' spirit of inquiry, their originality and their open-mindedness." (Daily Telegraph). "A book that is both erudite and splendidly entertaining." (Financial Times).
  • BSXFI
    • £32.00
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    In 668 bc Ashurbanipal inherited the largest empire in the world, which stretched from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the mountains of western Iran. He ruled from his massive capital at Nineveh, in present-day Iraq, where temples and palaces adorned with brilliantly carved sculptures dominated the citadel mound, and an elaborate system of canals brought water to his pleasure gardens and game parks. Ashurbanipal, proud of his scholarship, assembled the greatest library in existence during his reign. Guided by this knowledge, he defined the course of the empire and asserted his claim to be `King of the World'. Beautifully illustrated, this book features images of objects excavated from all corners of the empire and highlights the British Museum's unrivalled collection of Assyrian reliefs, which bring to life the tumultuous story of Ashurbanipal's reign: his conquest of Egypt, the crushing defeat of his rebellious brother, and his ruthless campaign against the Elamite rulers of south-west Iran. Published to accompany a once-in-a-generation exhibition at the British Museum, I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria gives an illuminating account of the Assyrian Empire told through the story of its last great ruler, and will highlight the importance of preserving Iraq's rich cultural heritage for future generations.
  • ATHVR
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    Beneath the waters of Abukir Bay, at the edge of the Nile Delta, lie the submerged remains of the ancient Egyptian cities Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion, which sank over 1,000 years ago but were dramatically rediscovered in the 20th century and brought to the surface by marine archaeologists in the 1990s. These pioneering underwater excavations continue today, and have yielded a wealth of ancient artefacts, to be exhibited in Britain for the first time in 2016. Through these spectacular finds, this book tells the story of how two iconic ancient civilizations, Egypt and Greece, interacted in the late first millennium bc. From the foundation of Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion as trading posts to the conquest of Alexander the Great, through the ensuing centuries of Ptolemaic rule to the ultimate dominance of the Roman Empire on the world stage, Greeks and Egyptians lived alongside one another in these lively cities, sharing their politics, religious ideas, languages, scripts and customs. Greek kings adopted the regalia of the pharaoh; ordinary Greek citizens worshipped in Hellenic sanctuaries next to Egyptian temples; and their ancient gods and mythologies became ever more closely intertwined. This book showcases a spectacular collection of artefacts, coupled with a retelling of the history by world-renowned experts in the subject (including the sites' long-term excavator), bringing the reader face-to-face with this vibrant ancient society. Accompanies the most sensational exhibition of ancient Egyptian and Greek discoveries to be held in the UK for decades, opening at the British Museum.
  • AWGXD
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    The words Pax Augusta - or Pax Romana - evoke a period of uninterrupted peace across the vast Roman Empire. Lindsay Powell exposes this as a fallacy. Almost every year between 31 BC and AD 14 the Roman Army was in action somewhere, either fighting enemies beyond the frontier in punitive raids or for outright conquest; or suppressing banditry or rebellions within the borders. Remarkably over the same period Augustus succeeded in nearly doubling the size of the Empire. How did this second-rate field commander, known to become physically ill before and during battle, achieve such extraordinary success? Did he, in fact, have a grand strategy? Powell reveals Augustus as a brilliant strategist and manager of war. As commander-in-chief (imperator) he made changes to the political and military institutions to keep the empire together, and to hold on to power himself. His genius was to build a team of loyal but semi-autonomous deputies (legati) to ensure internal security and to fight his wars for him, while claiming their achievements as his own. The book profiles more than 90 of these men, the military units under their command, and the campaigns they fought. The book is lavishly illustrated with 23 maps, 42 colour plates, 13 black and white figures and 5 order of battle schematics. With a forward by Karl Galinsky, this book breaks new ground in explaining the extraordinary achievement of Caesar Augustus.
  • BTXYZ
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    Imagine the planet, as if from an immense distance of time and space, as a galactic observer might see it-with the kind of objectivity that we, who are enmeshed in our history, can't attain. The Oxford Illustrated History of the World encompasses the whole span of human history. It brings together some of the world's leading historians, under the expert guidance of Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, to tell the 200,000-year story of our world, from the emergence of homo sapiens through to the twenty-first century: the environmental convulsions; the interplay of ideas (good and bad); the cultural phases and exchanges; the collisions and collaborations in politics; the successions of states and empires; the unlocking of energy; the evolutions of economies; the contacts, conflicts, and contagions that have all contributed to making the world we now inhabit.
  • BMHEG
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    The ancient world that Alexander the Great transformed in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death. The imperial dynasties of his successors incorporated and reorganized the fallen Persian empire, creating a new land empire stretching from the shores of the Mediterranean to as far east as Bactria. In old Greece a fragile balance of power was continually disturbed by wars. Then, from the late third century, the military and diplomatic power of Rome successively defeated and dismantled every one of the post-Alexandrian political structures. The Hellenistic period (c. 323-30 BC) was then one of fragmentation, violent antagonism between large states, and struggles by small polities to retain an illusion of independence. Yet it was also a period of growth, prosperity, and intellectual achievement. A vast network spread of trade, influence and cultural contact, from Italy to Afghanistan and from Russia to Ethiopia, enriching and enlivening centres of wealth, power and intellectual ferment. From Alexander the Great's early days building an empire, via wars with Rome, rampaging pirates, Cleopatra's death and the Jewish diaspora, right up to the death of Hadrian, Chaniotis examines the social structures, economic trends, political upheaval and technological progress of an era that spans five centuries and where, perhaps, modernity began.
  • AIKFL
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    This ambitious series gives the reader a comprehensive narrative of late Roman military history from 284-641. Each volume (5 are planned) gives a detailed account of the changes in organization, equipment, strategy and tactics among both the Roman forces and her enemies in the relevant period, while also giving a detailed but accessible account of the campaigns and battles. Volume I covers the period 284-361, starting with recovery from the 'third-century crisis' and the formation of the Tetrarchy. Constantine's civil wars and stabilization.are also major themes, with the pattern repeated under his sons. Constantius II's wars against the usurper Magnentius, the Danubian tribes and the Sassanid Persians illustrate the serious combination of internal and external threats the Empire faced at this time. The author discusses these and the many other dramatic military events in their full context and puts forward some interesting conclusions on strategic and tactical developments. He argues, for example, that the Roman shift from infantry to cavalry as the dominant arm occurred considerably earlier than usually accepted. Anyone with an interest in the military history of this period will find it both informative and thought-provoking.
  • AWQYH
    • £23.96
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    A unique 'backstory' of Alexander and his successors: the biased historians, deceits, wars, generals, and the tale of the literature that preserved them. 'Babylon, mid-June 323 BCE, the gateway of the gods; prostrated in the Summer Palace of Nebuchadrezzar II on the east bank of the Euphrates, wracked by fever and having barely survived another night, King Alexander III, the rule of Macedonia for 12 years and 7 months, had his senior officers congregate at his bedside. Abandoned by Fortune and the healing god Asclepius, he finally acknowledged he was dying. Some 2,340 years on, five barely intact accounts survive to tell a hardly coherent story. At times in close accord, though more often contradictory, they conclude with a melee of death-scene rehashes, all of them suspicious: the first portrayed Alexander dying silent and intestate; he was Homeric and vocal in the second; the third detailed his Last Will and Testament though it is attached to the stuff of romance. Which account do we trust?' In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great is the result of a 'decade of contemplations on Alexander' presented as a rich thematic narrative Grant describes as the 'backstory behind the history' of the great Macedonian and his generals. Taking an uncompromising investigative perspective, Grant delves into the challenges faced by Alexander's unique tale: the forgeries and biased historians, the influences of rhetoric, romance, philosophy and religion on what was written and how. Alexander's own mercurial personality is vividly dissected and the careers and the wars of his successors are presented with a unique eye. But the book never loses sight of central aim: to unravel the mystery behind Alexander's 'unconvincingly reported' intestate death. And out of Grant's research emerges one unavoidable verdict: after 2,340 years, the Last Will and Testament of Alexander III of Macedonia needs to be extracted from 'romance' and reinstated to its rightful place in mainstream history: Babylon in June 323 BCE. Although the result a decade of academic research, In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great is written in an entertaining and engaging style that opens the subject to both scholars and the casual reader of history looking to learn more about the Macedonian king and the men who 'made' his story. It concludes with a wholly new interpretation of the death of Alexander the Great and the mechanism behind the wars of succession that followed.
  • BSAHK
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    This illustrated introduction offers a fresh approach to the history of the Islamic world from its origins to the present day. Told in six chapters, arranged both chronologically and thematically, and richly enhanced with outstanding images, it provides an illuminating insight into the material culture produced from West Africa to Southeast Asia through art and artefacts, people and places. From pre-Islamic works that provided a foundation for the arts of Islam to masterpieces produced under the great empires and objects that continue to be made today, this expansive survey traces the development of civilizations at the forefront of philosophical and scientific ideas, artistic and literary developments, and technological innovations, exploring a wealth of cultural treasures along the way. Texts are accompanied by a wide variety of objects, including architectural decoration, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, calligraphy, textiles, musical instruments, coins, illustrated manuscripts, and modern and contemporary art, all of which shed new light on the Islamic world both past and present. This book will inspire and inform anyone interested in one of the most influential and diverse cultures of the world.
  • APHZP
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    By the sixth century of the common era the Roman Empire already had many hundreds of years of accumulated ceremonial embedded in its government, and practical science embodied in its army. The transition from Republic to Imperium and the more hierarchical structure that entailed, and the absorption of Christianity into state processes, had pushed the development of court ceremonial apace, and particularly driven its embodiment and display in ever more opulent regalia. The regalia embraced not only garments of distinctive form and decoration, but also both dress and non-dress accessories. It was crucial in displaying rank and function on an everyday basis, yet was also varied considerably for special occasions. Military dress largely reflected forms current amongst ordinary men, but with an emphasis on functionality, eschewing the excesses of fashion. Detailed literary and artistic sources, archaeology and insights derived from reconstruction and practical experience has gone into creating an incredibly lavish picture of the clothing of the longest-enduring political entity in history.
  • AZGCT
    • £19.99
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    The royal tombs of ancient Egypt include some of the most stupendous monuments of all time, containing some of the greatest treasures to survive from the ancient world. This book is a history of the burial places of the rulers of Egypt from the very dawn of history down to the country's absorption into the Roman Empire, three millennia later. During this time, the tombs ranged from mudbrick-lined pits in the desert, through pyramid-topped labyrinths to superbly-decorated galleries penetrating deep into the rock of the Valley of the Kings. The first book to embrace in detail the entire range of royal tombs, the present volume covers the full extent of royal funerary monuments, which comprised not only the actual burial place, but also the place where the worlds of the living and the dead came together in the temples built to provide for the dead pharaoh's soul.
  • AWVHW
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    Of the thousands of commanders who served in history's armies, why is it that only a few are remembered as great leaders of men in battle? What combination of personal and circumstantial influences conspire to produce great commanders? What makes a great leader great? Richard A Gabriel analyses the biographies of ten great generals who lived between 1481 BC and AD 632 in an attempt to identify the characteristics of intellect, psychology, personality, and experience that allowed them to tread the path to greatness. Professor Richard Gabriel has selected the ten whom he believes to be the greatest of them all. Those included, and more so those omitted, will surprise many readers. Conspicuous by their absence, for example, are Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun. Richard Gabriel, himself a retired soldier and professor at the Canadian Defence College, uses his selected exemplars to distil the timeless essence of military leadership.
  • AUXFH
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    Imperial Triumph presents the history of Rome at the height of its imperial power. Beginning with the reign of Hadrian in Rome and ending with the death of Julian the Apostate on campaign in Persia, it offers an intimate account of the twists and often deadly turns of imperial politics in which successive emperors rose and fell with sometimes bewildering rapidity. Yet, despite this volatility, the Romans were able to see off successive attacks by Parthians, Germans, Persians and Goths and to extend and entrench their position as masters of Europe and the Mediterranean. Imperial Triumph shows how they managed to do it. Michael Kulikowski describes the empire's cultural integration in the second century, the political crises of the third when Rome's Mediterranean world became subject to the larger forces of Eurasian history, and the remaking of Roman imperial institutions in the fourth century under Constantine and his son Constantius II. The Constantinian revolution, Professor Kulikowski argues, was the pivot on which imperial fortunes turned - the beginning of the parting of ways between the eastern and western empires. This sweeping account of one of the world's greatest empires is incisive, readable and authoritative.
  • AUPXP
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    The Pax Romana is famous for having provided a remarkable period of peace and stability, rarely seen before or since. Yet the Romans were first and foremost conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates in the east to the Atlantic coast in the west. Their peace meant Roman victory and was brought about by strength and dominance rather than co-existence with neighbours. The Romans were aggressive and ruthless, and during the creation of their empire millions died or were enslaved. But the Pax Romana was real, not merely the boast of emperors, and some of the regions in the Empire have never again lived for so many generations free from major wars. So what exactly was the Pax Romana and what did it mean for the people who found themselves brought under Roman rule? Acclaimed historian Adrian Goldsworthy tells the story of the creation of the Empire, revealing how and why the Romans came to control so much of the world and asking whether the favourable image of the Roman peace is a true one. He chronicles the many rebellions by the conquered, and describes why these broke out and why most failed. At the same time, he explains that hostility was only one reaction to the arrival of Rome, and from the start there was alliance, collaboration and even enthusiasm for joining the invaders, all of which increased as resistance movements faded away. A ground-breaking and comprehensive history of the Roman Peace, Pax Romana takes the reader on a journey from the bloody conquests of an aggressive Republic through the age of Caesar and Augustus to the golden age of peace and prosperity under diligent emperors like Marcus Aurelius, offering a balanced and nuanced reappraisal of life in the Roman Empire.
  • AXWRT
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    Caracalla has one of the worst reputations of any Roman Emperor. Many ancient historians were very hostile and Edward Gibbon later dubbed him 'the common enemy of mankind'. Yet his reign was considered by at least one Roman author to be the apogee of the Roman Empire. Guilty of many murders and massacres (including his own brother, ex-wife and daughter) he was, however, popular with the army, improving their pay and cultivating the image of sharing their hardships. Surprisingly this is the first full-length biography of this colourful character in English. Ilkka Syvanne explains how the biased ancient sources in combination with the stern looking statues of the emperor have created a distorted image of the man and then reconstructs the actual events, particularly his military campaigns and reforms, to offer a balanced view of his reign. The biography offers the first complete overview of the policies, events and military campaigns of the reign and explains how and why these contributed to the military crisis of the third century.
  • AZEHI
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    The Roman war machine comprised land and naval forces. Although the former has been studied extensively, less has been written and understood about the naval forces of the Roman Empire. Britain's navy, known as Classis Britannica until the mid-third century, was a strong fighting force in its own right. Its vessel types, personnel, tactics, roles and technology have never been studied in depth. Here in Sea Eagles of Empire Simon Elliott explores the story of this famed naval force, through the reigns of several Roman emperors, discussing the important role it played in military campaigns all across Europe and in policing the waters of the Roman Empire in Britain.
  • BAIXF
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    Patricians and Emperors offers concise comparative biographies of the individuals who wielded power in the final decades of the Western Roman Empire, from the assassination of Aetius in 454 to the death of Julius Nepos in 480. The book is divided into four parts. The first sets the background to the period, including brief histories of Stilicho (395-408) and Aetius (425-454), explaining the nature of the empire and the reasons for its decline. The second details the lives of Ricimer (455-472) and his great rival Marcellinus (455-468) by focusing on the stories of the numerous emperors that Ricimer raised and deposed. The third deals with the Patricians Gundobad (472-3) and Orestes (475-6), as well as explaining how the barbarian general Odoacer came to power in 476. The final part outlines and analyses the Fall of the West and the rise of barbarian kingdoms in France, Spain and Italy. This is a very welcome book to anyone seeking to make sense of this chaotic, but crucial period.
  • BTWOX
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    Antipater was a key figure in the rise of Macedon under Philip II and instrumental in the succession of Alexander III (the Great). Alexander entrusted Antipater with ruling Macedon in his long absence and he defeated the Spartans in 331 BC. After Alexander's death he crushed a Greek uprising and became regent of the co-kings, Alexander's mentally impaired half-brother (Philip III Arrhideus) and infant son (Alexander IV). He brokered a settlement between the contending Successors but died in 319 BC, having first appointed Polyperchon to succeed as regent in preference to his own sons. Antipater's eldest son Cassander later became regent of Macedon but eventually had Alexander IV killed and made himself king. Three of his sons in turn briefly succeeded him but could not retain the throne. Antipater's female heirs are shown to be just as important, both as pawns and surprisingly independent players in this Macedonian game of thrones. The saga ends with the failed bid by Nikaia, the widow of Antipater's great grandson Alexander of Corinth, to become independent ruler of Macedon.
  • BTMCK
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    Rome - Urbs Roma: city of patricians and plebeians, emperors and gladiators, slaves and concubines - was the epicentre of a far-flung imperium whose cultural legacy is incalculable. How a tiny settlement, founded by desperate adventurers beside the banks of the River Tiber, came to rule vast tracts of territory across the face of the known world is one of the more improbable stories of antiquity. The epic scale of the Colosseum; majestically columned temples; formidable legionaries marching in burnished steel breastplates; and capricious Caesars clad in purple robes who thought themselves gods: all these images speak of a grandeur that continues to be associated with this most celebrated of ancient capitals. The glory of Rome is further underlined by enduring monuments like Hadrian's Wall, holding the line as it did against ferocious Pictish barbarians thought to be from Hyperborea: the mythic Land Beyond the North Wind. This book vividly recounts the rags-to-riches story of Rome's unlikely triumph. Perhaps the most famous example in history of modest beginnings rising to greatness, Rome's empire was never static or uniform. Over the centuries, under the `boundless grandeur of the Roman peace' (as the Elder Pliny put it), imperial law, civilisation and language vigorously interacted with and influenced local cultures across western and central Europe and North Africa. Provincial subjects were made Roman citizens, generals and senators. In AD 98 Trajan became the first of many Romans from outside Italy to assume supreme power as Emperor. Poets, philosophers, historians and legalists - and many others besides - all participated in the brilliant intellectual constellation secured by the pax Romana. However, as Dexter Hoyos reveals, the empire was not won cheaply or fast, and did not always succeed. The Carthaginian general Hannibal came close to destroying it. Arminius freed Germania by brutally annihilating three irreplaceable legions in the Teutoburg Forest - a disaster that broke Augustus' heart. And the Romans themselves, in expanding their empire, were often ruthless. Caesar boasted of killing a million enemy fighters in his Gallic Wars, while the accusation of a Caledonian lord became proverbial: they make a desert and call it peace. Yet at the same time the Romans strove to impose moral and legal principles for directing their subjects as much as themselves, and laid down standards of government that are still valid today. Rome Victorious is a masterful new treatment of the rise of Rome - from the viewpoints both of the city itself and the people it came to rule and make its own.
  • BSVHY
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    The great Norse Myths are among the most dramatic and unforgettable stories in all human history. These fascinating, fantastical tales have inspired centuries of art, culture and literature, including the storytelling of Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin's Game of Thrones, Wagner's Ring Cycle and Marvel Comics. The Norse Myths takes us on a thrilling journey through the Norse cosmos, from the creation of the world to Ragnarok, the final world-destroying conflict; via the Nine Worlds, and the exploits of the mighty gods and goddesses - mystical Odin, malicious Loki, mighty Thor and more - and their quarrel with the giants. Bringing to life the magical world of monsters and mythical creatures, this also introduces the adventures of humankind: folk heroes and tricksters; Sigmund's great battle in the Volsung Saga; the exploits of Kings and Princes; and Viking exploration and settlement of new lands including Iceland, Greenland, America, and Viking life in the Mediterranean and the East. As well as a treasure trove of these epic stories of heroism and cruelty, squabbles and seductions, The Norse Myths is a comprehensive study of their origins, survival and interpretations - as academically important as it is exhilarating.