The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils
Lydia Pyne tells the stories of seven human fossils found between 1908 and 2008, each of which won a different kind of fame or notoriety. She explains their significance for our understanding of human evolution and investigates how and why such scientific discoveries have ‘become written into popular culture’, including the specimen named ‘Lucy’ after a Beatles song and the surprisingly long-lasting Piltdown Man hoax. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Rome on the Euphrates
The Story of a Frontier
The Euphrates, a vital ancient trade route, formed the eastern limit of the Roman Empire. The river is the focus of this detailed historical account by the doyenne of Middle East travel writers, which covers eight centuries of Rome’s involvement in the region. Writing during the Cold War, Stark emphasizes the futility of such arbitrary boundaries and shows how trading communities gain mutually from traffic and lose through war.
An Archaeological Study of Human Decapitation Burials
When a number of Roman graves with decapitated skeletons were discovered near York, the popular explanation was that heads were ritually removed after death to prevent ghosts returning to haunt the living. Katie Tucker, the human remains archaeologist at the site, analysed the burials and found no evidence to support that theory. Her in-depth study of the archaeological and osteological aspects of human decapitation burials, particularly the evidence for trauma in the skeletal remains, argues that decapitation was the cause of death.
Women at War in the Classical World
Ancient warfare is often assumed to have been the exclusive preserve of men, but Chrystal draws attention to the important roles played by women throughout Greek and Roman military history. He considers female commanders who were directly involved in strategy and tactics, including Cleopatra and Artemisia, as well as the countless thousands of ordinary women who came into contact with the military, as soldiers’ wives, camp followers or as non-combatant victims of war.
Veni Vidi Vici
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Romans but Were Afraid to Ask
From ‘a small collection of hilltop huts in Latium’ to the Empire’s conversion to Christianity, Peter Jones provides sharp, focused and stimulating information on 1,200 years of Roman history. Each of the twelve chapters begins with a broad summary of the period it covers, followed by short ‘nuggets’ on topics relevant to the era, including important individuals, places, politics and war, architecture, literature and everyday life.
Rome and the Sword
How Warriors and Weapons Shaped Roman History
Simon James takes an archaeologist’s approach to the study of Rome’s military history, telling the story of the sword – ‘the literal cutting edge of Roman power’ – from early times to the fall of the western empire. To supplement the battle narratives of ancient historical writers, he explains developments in sword-smithing techniques and military ideology, considers cultural reasons for changes in hardware and tactics and helps the reader to visualize the direct human experience of the ‘myriad individual acts of mayhem’ in battle.
The Romans Who Shaped Britain
This vividly drawn history of Britannia puts the people of the province ‘back at the heart of the story’. Combining evidence from ancient texts and modern archaeology, the authors reassess familiar rulers and rebels, such as Claudius and Hadrian, Boudicca and Caratacus. They also discuss the influential roles played by many lesser-known figures and stress the importance of considering the actions of both Romans and Britons within the changing political and economic contexts of the wider empire.
The Roman Fighter's Unofficial Manual
‘Having people fight and kill each other for entertainment requires some pretty flexible moral gymnastics’, writes Philip Matyszak. Here, he introduces the world of the gladiator, from entering the ludus (gladiator school) to the surprisingly wide range of career options if (a rather big ‘if’) you survive combat in the arena. The ‘manual’ includes quotes from the ancient authorities, a survey of the Empire’s best arenas and photographs of modern, reconstructed gladiators.
The Athenian Story
How did a radical new set of democratic ideals emerge from the ancient Athenians’ search for a durable political order? In a lively narrative history, Professor Mitchell traces the influence of early revolutionary movements and describes how democracy took hold for two centuries. He analyses both the system’s strengths and the weaknesses that hastened its demise in the face of Macedonian conquerors. The book ends with an assessment of Athens’ political legacy in the modern world.
Two Deaths at Amphipolis
Cleon vs Brasidas in the Peloponnesian War
Mike Roberts brings a fresh perspective to the study of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BCE) by focusing on the clash of the two dynamic commanders who were killed in 422 during the battle over the Athenian colony at Amphipolis. Roberts follows the career of the heroic Spartan Brasidas, already a veteran of many campaigns when he headed north to this strategically important city, and reconsiders the Athenian Cleon, whose reputation was tarnished by the historian Thucydides’ vociferous criticism.
A Chronology of Ancient Greece
Covering the period from c.560 to 145 BCE, this accessible reference work provides a year-by-year narrative of the most significant events across the Greek world and in those regions that came into contact with Greek culture. Detailed accounts of battles and political crises are provided and scholarly disputes about the dating or sequence of events are noted. The book concludes with an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources and a set of dynastic tables.
A Secular History of Conversion
From Saul and Augustine of Hippo to Muhammad Ali and George W Bush, why have people throughout history changed their faith? Jacoby considers religious conversion from a secular perspective, challenging the idea that it is a purely spiritual journey. She examines the social and economic framework within which conversion takes place – whether through theocratic coercion, for political advantage or by interreligious marriage – and reflects on the ‘religious marketplace’ of modern America, where changes of faith are especially common. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Deadly Arena Sports of Ancient Rome
Gladiatorial spectacles were central to Roman society, fulfilling important roles beyond mere entertainment. Epplett describes their origins, gladiators’ training, staged beast hunts and the infrastructure of the arenas, and asks why these cruel events were so popular. Previously published as Gladiators and Beast Hunts.
Confronting the Classics
Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations
Comprising updated versions of 31 essays published over the past two decades, this volume takes the reader on 'a provocative tour of what is happening now in Classics'. Professor Beard reassesses old answers in scholarly debates concerning Greco-Roman antiquity; offers fresh interpretations of heroes and antiheroes, from the Greek poet Sappho to the emperor Hadrian; explores the evidence for ordinary Romans' worries and ambitions; and asks what our modern responses to the ancient world say about us.
Rome Seizes the Trident
The Defeat of Carthaginian Seapower and the Forging of the Roman Empire
In 264 BCE, when the Romans first went to war with Carthage, they had no navy, relying instead on ships from South Italian cities. However, when the Punic Wars ended more than a century later, Rome had developed a powerful fleet, which would prove vital for imperial expansion. DeSantis traces the growth of this naval supremacy and discusses the tactics that made it possible, such as the boarding-bridge by which the superior Roman infantry simply walked onto the enemy’s decks.
Books on Fire
The Destruction of Libraries throughout History
Whatever the size of our libraries, we feel bound to enrich them and preserve them against the threats of fire and water, worms, war and earthquake. Polastron examines the world's libraries, from the Hebrew, Nordic and Islamic myths of a vast library which existed before the world's creation, to the catastrophic losses of the libraries of Alexandria, the Qing Dynasty and modern Iraq. He also asks whether the digitization of books threatens the very existence of the physical library.
Pliny the Elder
The Natural History Book VII
In Book VII of his encyclopedic Natural History, Pliny turns to the human animal, ‘for whose sake nature was created’. This edition presents both the Latin text and analysis of Pliny’s historical, scientific and literary contexts, highlighting what his discussion reveals about the ancient Roman worldview. For less experienced readers, the commentary offers plenty of linguistic explanation and the volume ends with a thorough glossary of vocabulary.
Prophecy and Power in the Ancient World
The female prophets known as sibyls were renowned across the Greco-Roman world and their pronouncements were considered a source of authoritative wisdom. Guillermo focuses on the stories that were told about four prominent sibyls, at Erythrae, Cumae, Delphi and Tibur. He also reflects on the wider cultural associations between women and prophecy and asks how the ancient pagan tradition was later fused with Christianity so successfully that sibyls feature in Michelangelo’s decoration of the Sistine Chapel.
From Democrats to Kings
The Brutal Dawn of a New World from the Downfall of Athens to the Rise of Alexander The Great
By the end of the 5th century BCE the democratic city-state of Athens, defeated in a long war with Sparta, had lost its empire and been shaken by oligarchic revolution. As the author tracks the brutal power struggles that ensued, he examines how the rulers of Greek cities and the Persian empire responded to this moment of uncertainty – until the young Alexander the Great emerged from decades of turbulence to take control of a huge portion of the known world.
Alexander the Great
Themes and Issues
Recent scholarship has challenged Alexander’s epithet ‘Great’, judging his conquests destructive rather than, as earlier historians believed, a civilizing force. This study examines Alexander’s life and career through the major issues surrounding his reign and legacy. In chapters on his Macedonian background, the legacy of Philip II, deification, the administration of an empire, and Asia, Anson sets out the major academic positions, evaluates the historical evidence and brings a new clarity to the history of Alexander.
On 5 Drachmas A Day
For the tourist in fifth-century-BCE Greece, this guide covers the journey from Thermopylae to Athens, and describes how best to explore that great city. The book is packed with historical and cultural information as well as practical matters, such as where to stay and the price of fish, and it ends with a selection of useful phrases (‘Tauta pant’ esti moi barbara’ – ‘This is all Greek to me’).
Harry Mount's Odyssey
Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus
'Odysseus began his journey home to Ithaca on the windswept plain beneath the burning ramparts of Troy... I started my odyssey in the Pret a Manger at Terminal 5 in Heathrow Airport': travelling to Troy via Istanbul, Harry Mount set out on a 21st-century journey in the footsteps of the ancient Greek hero. This irresistible book is both Mount's commentary on Odysseus' epic journey and an account of his own travels in modern Greece and around Homer's Mediterranean.
The Persian Invasions of Greece
The massive invasion of Greece by Darius I in 490 BCE ended in failure at the battle of Marathon; when his successor, Xerxes, led a second expedition ten years later, the Persian force was again driven back following the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis and Plataea. Keaveney combines ancient sources and modern scholarship to explain the reasons for the enmity between the two civilizations and to analyse the events of these pivotal campaigns from both Greek and Persian perspectives.
Andrea Carandini, who supervised excavations in Rome for two decades, presents here the archaeological and textual evidence behind his provocative theory about the city's origins in the eighth century BCE. Arguing that Rome did not grow up gradually and anonymously, as scholars have usually believed, he suggests that the legend of Romulus reflects aspects of the truth – that the city was indeed inaugurated, by a king, in a one-day ceremony on the traditional date of 21 April.
War in Ancient Greece
Although the Athenian Thucydides was unsuccessful as a military commander, his monumental history of the Peloponnesian War, written as 'a possession for all time', is a remarkable record of the lengthy conflict between Athens and Sparta during the final decades of the fifth century BCE. This volume comprises the complete text of the work in English translation, with a brief editorial introduction and a selection of maps. The original eight-book structure is replaced by a division into 26 shorter chapters.
The Conquests of Alexander the Great
This 'intelligent introduction' to Alexander the Great emphasizes the military, political and administrative aspects of his short but extraordinarily successful career, leaving aside speculation about his psychological motivations. Heckel begins by outlining the Macedonian background, then uses maps and battle plans to describe in detail how Alexander won his reputation as one of history's greatest commanders. Appendices give the evidence for troop numbers at key moments and the names of Alexander's officers and administrators.
A Brief History of the Roman Empire
Stephen Kershaw’s concise and very engaging narrative history covers 500 years, from the rise of the Empire with Augustus to the fall of Rome in 476 CE. Presenting the evidence of Roman authors and recent archaeological finds, Kershaw considers not only the big events and emperors' careers but also details of Roman society and everyday life in the Empire.