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Our extensive books on ancient history cover some of the most fascinating areas including ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. These ancient history books are a must for any history buff's home library.

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Ancient History Books

  • A Short History of Europe

    Simon Jenkins

    Product Code: BXVNE
    Paperback
    The first short narrative history of the continent, from the author of the bestselling A Short History of England Europe is an astonishingly successful place. In this dazzling new history, bestselling author Simon Jenkins grippingly tells the story of its evolution from warring peoples to peace, wealth and freedom - a story that twists and turns from Greece and Rome, through the Dark Ages, the Reformation and the French Revolution, to the Second World War and up to the present day. Jenkins takes in leaders from Julius Caesar and Joan of Arc, to Wellington and Angela Merkel, as well as cultural figures from Aristotle to Shakespeare and Picasso. He brings together the transformative forces and dominant eras into one chronological tale - all with his usual insight, colour and authority. Despite the importance of Europe's politics, economy and culture, there has not been - until now - a concise book to tell this story. Covering the key events, themes and individuals, Jenkins' portrait of the continent could not be more timely - or masterful. 'Full of stand-out facts ... absolutely fascinating' - Richard Bacon, BBC Radio 2, on 'A Short History of England' 'Masterly, perhaps a masterpiece' - Independent, Books of the Year on England's Thousand Best Churches 'Jenkins is, like all good guides, more than simply informative: he can be courteous and rude, nostalgic and funny, elegant, convincing and relaxed' - Adam Nicolson on 'England's Thousand Best Houses', Evening Standard 'Full of the good judgements one might hope for from such a sensible and readable commentator, and they alone are worth perusing for pleasure and food for thought' - Michael Wood on 'A Short History of England', New Statesman 'Any passably cultured inhabitant of the British Isles should ask for, say, three or four copies of this book' - Max Hastings on 'England's Thousand Best Houses', Sunday Telegraph
    • £8.89
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  • The Genius of: The Maya

    Izzi Howell

    Product Code: BYINT
    Hardback
    Which genius ideas and inventions began with the Maya? What did they develop that we use to this day? In this book, aimed at readers aged nine and over, find out how the Maya built their cities to suit the landscape and population, traded their resources and developed a complex system of writing. Discover their brilliant developments in farming, astronomy and cloth-making and how they have influenced the way we live today. The 'Genius Of' series explores the major discoveries, inventions, influence and legacies of key periods in history.
  • Ancient Rome

    David Pickering

    Product Code: BJUAX
    Paperback
    From the Colosseum to Hadrian's Wall, Gem Ancient Rome shows us how Rome's vast empire laid the foundations of today's civilisation. From aqueducts to baths, from gladiators to emperors, the fascinating history of and mythology of ancient Rome are brought to life in this entertaining and highly-readable guide. With their sophisticated army, monuments and roads, the Romans literally paved the way to modern Europe. Learn about the hand-to-hand combat at gladiatorial shows, rediscover the myths and legends of the Roman gods and find out how and why Rome became the conquering superpower that it did. History will come to life in this engaging and comprehensive introduction to one of the most fascinating and influential places the world has ever known. Includes: * Geography - map of the Roman Empire * History - a timeline with the accomplishments of the emperors * Culture - what the Romans did for us * Religion - Gods and Festivals * Mythology - Virgil's Aeneid, Romulus and Remus * Daily life in Ancient Greece - different levels in society, the jobs, family life, leisure activities * Politics - transition from Republic to Dictatorship * Learning and knowledge - Law, Science, Architecture, Literature, Art * War - important wars, the Empire, the army and navy * Rome Today - temples, archaeology, and modern tourist sites
    • £5.89
    • RRP £5.99
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  • The Norse Myths

    Dr Tom Birkett

    Product Code: BZION
    Paperback
    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 R. R. 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, The Norse Myths also introduces the adventures of humankind: folk heroes and tricksters; Sigmund's great battle in the Volsung Saga; the exploits of Kings and Princes; 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.
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  • Greek Myths and Mazes

    Jan Bajtlik

    Product Code: BZJSS
    Hardback
    A fascinating collection of labyrinths and puzzles set in Ancient Greece. Find your way out of a maze on each page in this stunningly intricate book from the creators of Maps. Discover the legendary labyrinths of Ancient Greece, as well as the myths and stories that have captured readers for thousands of years, in this beautifully illustrated collection of puzzles and facts. From an Ancient Greek theatre, to the Trojan horse and the Minotaur, the book is packed full of history and mythology, and will astound readers of all ages.
    • £15.29
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  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

    Yuval Noah Harari

    Product Code: BZHKK
    Paperback
    Sapiens showed us where we came from. Homo Deus looked to the future. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century explores the present. How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today's most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created?
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  • A History of the World

    Professor Jeremy Black

    Product Code: BYGYA
    Paperback
    A History of the World covers human history from its earliest origins right up to the modern day. Spanning the globe, it includes everything you need to know about the civilizations, the people, the ideas and the conflicts that shaped the world. Explaining the latest historical developments, it forms an essential reference for modern-day amateur historians.
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  • 24 Hours in Ancient Egypt

    Donald P. Ryan

    Product Code: BSIQF
    Hardback
    Spend 24 hours with the ancient Egyptians. Ancient Egypt wasn't all pyramids, sphinxes and gold sarcophagi. For your average Egyptian, life was tough, and work was hard, conducted under the burning gaze of the sun god Ra. During the course of a day in the ancient city of Thebes (modern-day Luxor), Egypt's religious capital, we meet 24 Egyptians from all strata of society - from the king to the bread-maker, the priestess to the fisherman, the soldier to the midwife - and get to know what the real Egypt was like by spending an hour in their company. We encounter a different one of these characters - all from different walks of life - every hour and every chapter, and through their eyes see what an average day in ancient Egypt was really like.
    • £10.39
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  • Collins Gem - Ancient Egypt

    David Pickering

    Product Code: BJUAY
    Paperback
    All the essential facts on ancient Egypt covering mummification, the pharaohs, the pyramids and the mysterious rituals. The ancient Egyptians have fascinated and enthralled the minds of millions down the centuries. With extensive scientific knowledge, splendid architecture and many artistic and cultural achievements, their civilisation stood apart as being ahead of its time. This compact and informative guide is perfect for all those studying ancient Egypt, visiting the sights, or curious to find out more about this fascinating period. Includes a wide range of topics such as: * Geography - how the Nile added to the success of their civilisation * History - a timeline spanning 3,000 years from 3100BC to 395AD and covering each dynastic period * Religion - the role of the gods and goddesses * Pharaohs - Cheops, Nefertiti and Tutankhamun * Life in Ancient Egypt - different levels in society, the jobs, family life, leisure activities * Learning and knowledge - the hieroglyphs, the scribes * War - the armies, weapons and armour * Death, funeral rites and mummification * Tombs and pyramids * Egypt today - archaeology, discoveries and what one can see today
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  • The Celts

    Dr. Alice Roberts

    Product Code: AYXNN
    Paperback
    'Informed, impeccably researched and written' Neil Oliver The Celts are one of the world's most mysterious ancient people. In this compelling account, Alice Roberts takes us on a journey across Europe, uncovering the truth about this engimatic tribe: their origins, their treasure and their enduring legacy today. What emerges is not a wild people, but a highly sophisticated tribal culture that influenced the ancient world - and even Rome. It is the story of a multicultural civilization, linked by a common language. It is the story of how ideas travelled in prehistory, how technology and art spread across the continent. It is the story of a five-hundred year fight between two civilizations that came to define the world we live in today. It is the story of a culture that changed Europe forever. 'Roberts's lightness of touch is joyous, and celebratory' Observer 'Clear-spoken and enthusiastic' Telegraph
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  • Crete Theseus and the Minotaur

    Jill Dudley

    Product Code: ASNKK
    Paperback
    Jill Dudley's series of island booklets is ideal for the tourist who would like to learn about the island's ancient past, such as King Minos' birth and why Theseus came to Knosses and how he killed the Minotaur. It includes the story of the birth of the supreme god Zeus and explains why at birth he was hidden in the Diktaion cave. It is as the back cover of the booklet says: all you need to know about the island's myths, legends and its gods.
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  • Hannibal

    Livy

    Product Code: ARDZT
    Paperback
    'We have nothing left in the world but what we can win with our swords.' The remarkable account of Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants and winning the Battle of the Trebbia. It is one of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.
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  • Barbarians at the Wall

    John Man

    Product Code: CDGQK
    Paperback
    The people of the first nomadic empire left no written records, but from 200 BC they dominated the heart of Asia for 400 years. They changed the world. The Mongols, today's descendants of Genghis Khan, see them as ancestors. Their rise cemented Chinese unity and inspired the first Great Wall. Their heirs under Attila the Hun helped destroy the Roman Empire. We don't know what language they spoke, but they became known as Xiongnu, or Hunnu, a term passed down the centuries and across Eurasia, enduring today in shortened form as 'Hun'. Outside Asia precious little is known of their rich history, but new evidence reframes our understanding of the indelible mark they left on a vast region stretching from Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia deep into China. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, Barbarians at the Wall traces their epic story, and shows how the nomadic cultures of the steppes gave birth to a 'barbarian empire' with the wealth and power to threaten the civilised order of the ancient world.
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  • The Golden Thread

    Kassia St Clair

    Product Code: CAWYX
    Paperback
    ** A RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK ** 'Fascinating . . . The history of the world through the eye of a needle . . . I recommend this book to anyone' THE SPECTATOR 'A charming, absorbing and history that takes us on a journey from the silk roads to sportswear, from ruffs to spacesuits . . . I devoured this quietly feminist book' SUNDAY TIMES 'Joyful and beautiful' NATURE 'Will make you rethink your relationship with fabric' ELLE DECORATION All textiles begin with a twist. From colourful 30,000-year old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to what the linen wrappings of Tutankhamun's mummy actually meant; from the Silk Roads to the woollen sails that helped the Vikings reach America 700 years before Columbus; from the lace ruffs that infuriated the puritans to the Indian calicoes and chintzes that powered the Industrial Revolution, our continuing reinvention of cloth tells fascinating stories of human ingenuity. When we talk of lives hanging by a thread, being interwoven, or part of the social fabric, we are part of a tradition that stretches back many thousands of years. Fabric has allowed us to achieve extraordinary things and survive in unlikely places, and this book shows you how -- and why. With a cast that includes Chinese empresses, Richard the Lionheart and Bing Crosby, Kassia St Clair takes us on the run with escaped slaves, climbing the slopes of Everest and moonwalking with astronauts. Running like a bright line through history, The Golden Thread offers an unforgettable adventure through our past, present and future.
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  • Unearthing the Family of Alexander the Great

    David Grant

    Product Code: CBKKK
    Hardback
    In October 336 BC, statues of the twelve Olympian Gods were paraded through the ancient capital of Macedon. Following them was a thirteenth, a statue of King Philip II who was deifying himself in front of the Greek world. Moments later Philip was stabbed to death; it was a world-shaking event that heralded in the reign of his son, Alexander the Great. Equally driven by a heroic lineage stretching back to gods and heroes, Alexander conquered the Persian Empire in eleven years but died mysteriously in Babylon. Some 2,300 years later, a cluster of subterranean tombs were unearthed in northern Greece containing the remains of the Macedonian royal line. This is the remarkable story of the quest to identify the family of Alexander the Great and the dynasty that changed the Graeco-Persian world forever. Written in close cooperation with the investigating archaeologists, anthropologists, and scientists, this book presents the revelations, mysteries and controversies in a charming, accessible style. Is this really the tomb of Philip II, Alexander's father? And who was the warrior woman buried with weapons and armour beside him?
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  • Lessons in Stoicism

    John Sellars

    Product Code: BZMZJ
    Hardback
    A deeply comforting and enlightening book on how Stoicism can inspire us to lead more enjoyable lives What aspects of your life do you really control? What do you do when you cannot guarantee that things will turn out in your favour? And what can Stoicism teach us about how to live together? In the past few years, Stoicism has been making a comeback. But what exactly did the Stoics believe? In Lessons in Stoicism, philosopher John Sellars weaves together the key ideas of the three great Roman Stoics -- Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius -- with snapshots of their fascinating lives, to show us how their ideas can help us today. In vivid prose, Sellars shows how the works of these three Stoics have inspired readers ever since, speaking as they do to some of the perennial issues that face anyone trying to navigate their way through life. Their works, fundamentally, are about how to live -- how to understand one's place in the world, how to cope when things don't go well, how to manage one's emotions and how to behave towards others. Consoling and inspiring, Lessons in Stoicism is a deeply thoughtful guide to the philosophy of a good life.
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  • The History of Philosophy

    AC Grayling

    Product Code: BXVFZ
    Hardback
    The first truly authoritative and accessible history of philosophy to cover both Western and Eastern traditions 'If there is any such person in Britain as The Thinking Man, it is A. C. Grayling' - The Times The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But since the long-popular classic Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, first published in 1945, there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey. With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling takes the reader from the world-views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates, through Christianity's dominance of the European mind to the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, and philosophy today. And, since the story of philosophy is incomplete without mention of the great philosophical traditions of India, China and the Persian-Arabic world, he gives a comparative survey of them too. Intelligible for students and eye-opening for philosophy readers, he covers epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, political philosophy and the history of debates in these areas of enquiry, through the ideas of the celebrated philosophers as well as less well-known influential thinkers. He also asks what we have learnt from this body of thought, and what progress is still to be made. The first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of philosophy for decades, remarkable for its range and clarity, this is a landmark work.
    • £23.39
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  • British Castles and Palaces

    Roy Charles

    Product Code: BYNZS
    Hardback
    British Castles and Palaces takes you on an epic tour of Britain's inspiring castles and palaces many of which still stand proud and can be visited today. Since around 280 AD, new invaders and established monarchs alike were prolific builders - symbols of power, wealth and fear, Britain's history can be detected in its majestic buildings bursting with fascinating tales when they have been attacked, burnt down and then rebuilt again. They have been home to the greatest figures in British history - Kings and Queens have been born and died in them and battles fought over them. Find out which is the largest inhabited castle in the world, which hotel includes a suite once slept in by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, which senior Nazi was sent to the Tower of London by Churchill in WW2, the castle in which Charles I hid from Cromwell's forces, which childhood home of Henry VIII became the dazzling art-deco playground of a millionaire couple, at which castle was it said 'We've been waiting 700 years, you can have the seven minutes.' and who first made Buckingham Palace their home? This very readable book uncovers the secrets of incredible stories of warfare, intrigue, romance and even murder with full colour illustrations. As is now the tradition with the White on Black brand, GBP1 from each sale will be donated to charity, in this case Crisis - The Homelessness Charity.
    • £7.96
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  • Roman Woman

    Lindsay Allason-Jones

    Product Code: BYNTR
    Paperback
    Roman Britain is vividly portrayed in this fascinating and authentically detailed story about a year in the life of an ordinary woman and her family. The year is AD 133. Hadrian is Emperor of Rome and all its vast empire, including Britannia. The greater part of that island has long been under imperial rule and the Roman legions control most of the land, quelling uprisings and building new forts and towns. Around the fortress of Eboracum (now known as York), a bustling garrison settlement is developing, while along the north-west frontier of Hadrian's empire, the legions are completing the construction of a mighty wall. Introducing us to this world is Senovara, born into the Parisi, a local tribe whose customs have been little changed by Roman rule. But she is also the young wife of Quintus, a veteran of the 6th Legion Victrix. Settling in Quintus's home is both bewildering and awe-inspiring for Senovara as she seeks to adjust to Eboracum's cosmopolitan environment, come to terms with new customs and reconcile their cultural differences. Senovara finds that daily life in the settlement can be harsh; a constant struggle to provide her family with fresh food, water and warmth. Yet there is much enjoyment to be had as well, at the public baths or with new friends. There is also the excitement of religious festivals and in the regular news from the frontier, and peril in the form of a deadly fever which sweeps through Eboracum, forcing Senovara and her children to flee to her brother in the countryside. Roman Woman is an immersive, compelling narrative which gets to the heart of what life was like for everyday people in Roman Britain.
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  • The Frontiers of Imperial Rome

    Breeze, David J

    Product Code: BYMKF
    Paperback
    At its height, the Roman Empire was the greatest empire yet seen with borders stretching from the rain-swept highlands of Scotland in the north to the sun-scorched Nubian desert in the south. But how were the vast and varied stretches of frontier defined and defended? Many of Rome's frontier defences have been the subject of detailed and ongoing study and scholarship. Three frontier zones are now UNESCO World Heritage sites (the Antonine Wall having recently been granted this status - the author led the bid), and there is growing interest in their study. This wide-ranging survey will describe the varying frontier systems, describing the extant remains, methods and materials of construction and highlighting the differences between various frontiers. Professor Breeze considers how the frontiers worked, discussing this in relation to the organisation and structure of the Roman army, and also their impact on civilian life along the empire's borders. He then reconsiders the question of whether the frontiers were the product of an overarching Empire-wide grand strategy, questioning Luttwak's seminal hypothesis. This is a detailed and wide-ranging study of the frontier systems of the Roman Empire by a leading expert. Intended for the general reader, it is sure also to be of great value for academics and students in this field. The appendixes will include a brief guide to visiting the sites today.
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  • The History of the Church

    Eusebius of Caesarea

    Product Code: BXJSB
    Paperback
    Eusebius's groundbreaking History of the Church, remains the single most important source for the history of the first three centuries of Christianity and stands among the classics of Western literature. His iconic story of the church's origins, endurance of persecution, and ultimate triumph--with its cast of martyrs, heretics, bishops, and emperors--has profoundly shaped the understanding of Christianity's past and provided a model for all later ecclesiastical histories. This new translation, which includes detailed essays and notes, comes from one of the leading scholars of Eusebius's work and offers rich context for the linguistic, cultural, social, and political background of this seminal text. Accessible for new readers and thought-provoking for specialists, this is the essential text for anyone interested in the history of Christianity.
  • 24 Hours in Ancient Rome

    Philip Matyszak

    Product Code: BWMEA
    Paperback
    Walk a day in a Roman's sandals. What was it like to live in one of the ancient world's most powerful and bustling cities - one that was eight times more densely populated than modern day New York? In this entertaining and enlightening guide, bestselling historian Philip Matyszak introduces us to 24 characters who lived and worked there. In each hour of the day we meet a new character - from a senator to slave girl, gladiator to astrologer, watchmen to washerwomen - and discover the fascinating details of their daily lives.
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  • 24 Hours in Ancient Athens

    Philip Matyszak

    Product Code: BWITV
    Hardback
    Spend 24 hours with the ancient Athenians. See the city through their eyes as it teeters on the edge of the fateful war that would end its golden age. Athens, 416 BC. A tenuous peace holds. The city-state's political and military might are feared throughout the ancient world; it pushes the boundaries of social, literary and philosophical experimentation in an era when it has a greater concentration of geniuses per capita than at any other time in human history. Yet even geniuses go to the bathroom, argue with their spouse and enjoy a drink with friends. Few of the city's other inhabitants enjoy the benefits of such a civilized society, though - as multicultural and progressive as Athens can be, many are barred from citizenship. No, for the average person, life is about making ends meet, whether that be selling fish, guarding the temple or smuggling lucrative Greek figs. During the course of a day we meet 24 Athenians from all strata of society - from the slave-girl to the councilman, the vase painter to the naval commander, the housewife to the hoplite - and get to know what the real Athens was like by spending an hour in their company. We encounter a different one of these characters every chapter, with each chapter forming an hour in the life of the ancient city. We also get to spy on the daily doings of notable Athenians through the eyes of regular people as the city hovers on the brink of the fateful war that will destroy its golden age.
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  • The Roman Invasion of Britain

    Hoffmann, Birgitta

    Product Code: BWIGR
    Paperback
    The purpose of this book is to take what we think we know about the Roman Conquest of Britain from historical sources, and compare it with the archaeological evidence, which is often contradictory. Archaeologists and historians all too often work in complete isolation from each other and this book hopes to show the dangers of neglecting either form of evidence. In the process it challenges much received wisdom about the history of Roman Britain. Birgitta Hoffmann tackles the subject by taking a number of major events or episodes (such as Caesar's incursions, Claudius' invasion, Boudicca's revolt), presenting the accepted narrative as derived from historical sources, and then presenting the archaeological evidence for the same. The result of this innovative approach is a book full of surprising and controversial conclusions that will appeal to the general reader as well as those studying or teaching courses on ancient history or archaeology.
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Some of the most interesting eras of history are the ones we know the least about but in our range of fascinating ancient history books you can learn what historians and scientists have discover about the world’s oldest civilisations.

Get to grips with the Greeks

Grab one of our books on ancient history to uncover the stories of the ancient Greeks, find out all about the wars, mythology, key individuals of the period and more in our range. Plus, you can learn the ideas of the best Greek philosophers in our books on ancient Greece.

Revisit the Romans

Familiarise yourself with the amazing history of the Roman Empire and discover how the Romans have influenced the world in our fascinating history books.

Understand the stories of all ancient civilisations

Dive into the stories and history of the oldest and most interesting ancient civilisations in our extensive range of ancient history books. Discover the cities have been lost to the ocean or disappeared in ash in these compelling history books.

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