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.
"Interesting and erudite"
Fingerprints of the Gods is the revolutionary rewrite of history that has persuaded millions of listeners throughout the world to change their preconceptions about the history behind modern society. An intellectual detective story, this unique history audiobook directs probing questions at orthodox history, presenting disturbing new evidence that historians have tried - but failed - to explain.
"'Is it unreasonable to assume?!'"
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. 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.
"Great read for fans of history"
Ancient Greece first coined the concept of democracy, yet almost every major ancient Greek thinker - from Plato and Aristotle onward - was ambivalent toward or even hostile to democracy in any form. The explanation for this is quite simple: The elite perceived majority power as tantamount to a dictatorship of the proletariat. In ancient Greece, there can be traced not only the rudiments of modern democratic society but the entire Western tradition of antidemocratic thought.
In just over a hundred years - from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 - the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far flung as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time.
"Good to read, but works poorly as an audiobook"
The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors Rome called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling an Empire that had dominated their lives for so long. A leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians, Heather relates the extraordinary story of how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the empire apart.
"A fascinating listen"
The Druids have been known and discussed for at least 2,400 years, first by Greek writers and later by the Romans, who came in contact with them in Gaul and Britain. According to these sources, they were a learned caste who officiated in religious ceremonies, taught the ancient wisdoms, and were revered as philosophers. But few figures flit so elusively through history, and the Druids remain enigmatic and puzzling to this day.
"Absolutley fascinating but very strange narration"
Long sources of mystery, imagination, and inspiration, the myths and history of the ancient Mediterranean have given rise to artistic, religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions that span the centuries. In this unique and comprehensive introduction to the region's three major civilizations, Egypt, Greece, and Rome draws a fascinating picture of the deep links between the cultures across the Mediterranean and explores the ways in which these civilizations continue to be influential to this day.
"Ambitious yet highly accessible history "
In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians.
"Brilliant book: shame about the narrator."
The ancient Near East is known as the "cradle of civilization" - and for good reason. Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia were home to an extraordinarily rich and successful culture. Indeed, it was a time and place of earth-shaking changes for humankind: The beginnings of writing and law, kingship and bureaucracy, diplomacy and state-sponsored warfare, mathematics and literature. This Very Short Introduction offers a fascinating account of this momentous time in human history
A very accessable guide that fills the gap between academic analysis and less-critical retellings of the myths and legends. Marytn Whittock provides an accessible overview while also assessing the current state of research regarding the origins and significance of the myths. Since all records of the myths first occur in the early medieval period, the focus is on the survival of pre-Christian mythology and the interactions of the early Christian writers with these myths.
"A good read gone south! "
The tradition of ancient philosophy is a long, rich and varied one, in which the notes of discussion and argument constantly resound. This book introduces ancient debates, engaging us with the ancient developments of their themes. Moving away from the presentation of ancient philosophy as a succession of great thinkers, the book gives readers a sense of the freshness and liveliness of ancient philosophy, and of its wide variety of themes and styles.
The 14th Gemina Martia Victrix Legion was the most celebrated unit of the early Roman Empire - a force that had been wiped out under Julius Caesar, reformed, and almost wiped out again. After participating in the a.d. 43 invasion of Britain, the 14th Legion achieved its greatest glory when it put down the famous rebellion of the Britons under Boudicca.
"Great story with a few flaws"
"Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the degree to which it was forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by Peter and Paul in the New Testament - all forgeries. To cite just a few examples.
Rome 174 AD. As the war continues in the north, Marcus Aurelius orders Gaius Maximus and Rufus Atticus to return to Rome. Enemies lurk in the shadows in the capital, spreading propaganda and sowing dissent. The praetorian guards must lure their enemies out - and defeat them. Yet Maximus is returning home for something, or rather someone, else: Aurelia. The soldier will be caught between his duty and his happiness. Rufus Atticus will also be forced to make a choice, between duty and family.
A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths leads the listener through the vibrant stories of ancient Greece, from the origins of the gods through to the homecomings of the Trojan heroes. All the familiar narratives are here, along with some less familiar characters and motifs. In addition to the tales, the audiobook explains key issues arising from the narratives and discusses the myths and their wider relevance.
"Doesn't work as an audio book"
Richard II was young, handsome, and elegant. Last living child of the brilliant Black Prince, he came to the throne bearing the hopes of his people on his shoulders. His court glittered; his tastes were refined; his portraits shone with gold. Regal, composed, aloof, he was the very picture of majesty. He became a murderous, capricious tyrant. His favorites plotted against his family. He rewrote the laws of England to give himself absolute power. He raised an army against his own subjects. His subjects deposed him.
Marcus Cicero, Rome's greatest statesman and orator, was elected to the Roman Republic's highest office at a time when his beloved country was threatened by power-hungry politicians, dire economic troubles, foreign turmoil, and political parties that refused to work together. Sound familiar? Cicero's letters, speeches, and other writings are filled with timeless wisdom and practical insight about how to solve these and other problems of leadership and politics. How to Run a Country collects the best of these writings to provide an entertaining, common-sense guide for modern leaders and citizens
In 55 B.C. Julius Caesar came, saw, conquered and then left. It was not until A.D. 43 that the Emperor Claudius crossed the channel and made Britain the western outpost of the Roman Empire that would span from the Scottish border to Persia. For the next 400 years the island would be transformed. Within that period would see the rise of Londinium, almost immediately burnt to the ground in A.D. 60 by Boudicca; Hadrian's Wall, which was constructed in A.D. 112 to keep the northern tribes at bay, as well as the birth of the Emperor Constantine in third century York.
"An exercise in tedium"
The pope wanted it, Montesquieu used it, and the Nazis pilfered an Italian noble's villa to get it: the Germania, by the Roman historian Tacitus, took on a life of its own as both an object and an ideology. When Tacitus wrote a not-very-flattering little book about the ancient Germans in 98 CE, at the height of the Roman Empire, he could not have foreseen that the Nazis would extol it as "a bible", nor that Heinrich Himmler, the engineer of the Holocaust, would vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. But the Germania inspired - and polarized - people long before the rise of the Third Reich.
"Good but flawed"
Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.
"Fascinating Overview Of World Languages"
Pompeii explodes a number of myths - among them, the very date of the eruption, probably a few months later than usually thought; the hygiene of the baths which must have been hotbeds of germs; the legendary number of brothels, most likely only one; and the death count, which was probably less than ten per cent of the population. These are just a few of the strands that make up an extraordinary and involving portrait of an ancient town, its life and its continuing re-discovery, by Britain's leading classicist.
Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.
"fascinating, and a joy to listen to"
Here, anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom: He shows that before there was money, there was debt. For more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods - that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.
Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.
"Nearest thing to time travel available"
For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.
"Fascinating but speedy look at a century of China"
As raiders and explorers, the Vikings played a decisive role in the formation of Latin Christendom, and particularly of western Europe. Now, in a series of 36 vivid lectures by an honored teacher and classical scholar, you have the opportunity to understand this remarkable race as never before, studying the Vikings not only as warriors, but in all of the other roles in which they were equally extraordinary - merchants, artists, kings, raiders, seafarers, shipbuilders, and creators of a remarkable literature of myths and sagas.
"More knowledge gained ."
Is the Greek alphabet all Greek to you? Is geometry your Achilles heel and does your knowledge of Homer have more to do with The Simpsons than the Sirens? From engineering and architecture to drama and democracy, the world around us is founded on the principles and discoveries of the Ancient World, yet our understanding of it is episodic at best. But it's never too late to learn....
"Light but not insubstantial"
In this, the first prose history in European civilization, Herodotus describes the growth of the Persian Empire with force, authority, and style. Perhaps most famously, the book tells the heroic tale of the Greeks' resistance to the vast invading force assembled by Xerxes, king of Persia. Here are not only the great battles - Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis - but also penetrating human insight and a powerful sense of epic destiny at work.
"Storytelling at its finest"
In this dynamic and engaging biography, Anthony Everitt plunges us into the fascinating, scandal-ridden world of ancient Rome in its most glorious heyday. Accessible to us through his legendary speeches but also through an unrivaled collection of unguarded letters to his close friend Atticus, Cicero comes to life here as a witty and cunning political operator.
In the 6th century AD, the Near East was divided between two venerable empires: the Persian and the Roman. A hundred years on and one had vanished forever, while the other seemed almost finished. Ruling in their place were the Arabs: an upheaval so profound that it spelt, in effect, the end of the ancient world. In The Shadow of the Sword, Tom Holland explores how this came about.
"I didn't want it to end"
Here in a single volume is the entire, unabridged recording of Gibbon's masterpiece. Beginning in the second century A.D. at the apex of the Pax Romana, Gibbon traces the arc of decline and complete destruction through the centuries across Europe and the Mediterranean. It is a thrilling and cautionary tale of splendor and ruin, of faith and hubris, and of civilization and barbarism. Follow along as Christianity overcomes paganism... before itself coming under intense pressure from Islam.
"Immense book & audiobook"
Whether complete or only fragmentary, the 930 extant Dead Sea Scrolls irrevocably altered how we look at and understand the foundations of faith and religious practice. Now you can get a comprehensive introduction to this unique series of archaeological documents, and to scholars' evolving understanding of their authorship and significance, with these 24 lectures. Learn what the scrolls are, what they contain, and how the insights they offered into religious and ancient history came into focus.
"Excellent: Much More Than The Dead Sea Scrolls"
For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.You'll learn about the powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries; the philosophical and religious foundations-particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought, and the larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history. As you listen to these lectures, you'll see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.From the "Mandate of Heaven," a theory of social contract in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, to the development of agriculture and writing independent of outside influence to the technologically-advanced Han Dynasty during the time of the Roman Empire, this course takes you on a journey across ground that has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, Professor Hammond tells a fascinating story with an immense scope, a welcome reminder that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.
"Wonderful set of lectures"
Even today, the influence of Ancient Rome is indelible, with Europe and the world owing this extraordinary empire a huge cultural debt in almost every important category of human endeavor, including art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. At the peak of its power, Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability, unified in politics and law, stretching from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland. And it stood for almost 700 years.In this series of 48 spirited lectures, you'll see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left a permanent mark on history. In telling Rome's riveting story, Professor Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline, including the famous events and personalities that have become so familiar: . Horatius at the bridge . Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage . Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey . The doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra . The mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula . The conversion of Constantine The course also addresses one of history's greatest questions: Why did the Roman Empire fall? And you'll learn why most modern scholars believe that the empire did not "fall" at all, but, rather, changed into something very different-the less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.
"Nilli secundus! Great history, and great value!"
The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama.
"Bad Romans make great listening"
These 36 lectures tell the remarkable story of a tumultuous thousand-year period in the history of England. Dominated by war, conquest, and the struggle to balance the stability brought by royal power with the rights of the governed, it was a period that put into place the foundation of much of the world we know today. As you journey through this largely chronological narrative-occasionally interrupted for lecture-long explorations of specific topics-you'll see key themes emerge, including the assimilation of successive waves of invaders, the tense relationship between kings and the nobility, and the constant battles over money and taxation. And because so much of history is driven by specific individuals and not just historical circumstance, each lecture is rich in intimate portraits that reveal those individuals at the key moments of their historical destiny, including Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and John Wycliffe.The result is a lecture series that winds up being not only informative but deeply entertaining, with each lecture drawing you in with its own particular fascinations, including a probing look at the scope of the Black Death, a realistic examination of the legends of both King Arthur and Robin Hood, a riveting description of the Battle of Bosworth Field, and a discussion of the surprisingly nuanced penalties of the early Germanic law codes.These lectures consistently deliver a fresh level of understanding about medieval England, its rulers and subjects, and their significance for the world we live in today. The chain of theme and event that links our world to theirs will never be clearer, rewarding every moment you spend with this series.
"Far better histories of the British out there"