Thursday, June 29, 2006
David Brown Book Company: "The recent renaissance of interest in the history of dress and its cultural importance is celebrated in this collection of interdisciplinary essays. The sixteen contributors present on-going research into the study of the clothed body in ancient Egypt and the Aegean, Classical Greece, Rome and Late Antiquity. Through literary and artistic evidence and film, they discuss how dress articulates and defines an individual within his or her given society, at the same time highlighting common themes in scholarship, methodological differences between disciplines and periods, as well as contrasting definitions of what constitutes the clothed body. Essays discussing Aegean Bronze Age fashions, costume design in filmed biblical epics, clothing in Aristophanic comedy, Greek and Roman female undergarments, the symbolism of the Roman toga, and the spectacle of images of Byzantine dress, are just some of the diverse subjects covered in this study. 192p, b/w illus (Oxbow Books 2005)"
David Brown Book Company: "The ordinary people who made up the largest section of the population in the cities and towns in the Roman world were largely ignored by contemporary writers and have often been marginalised in traditional studies of Roman urbanism, but research into their patterns of work and social interaction had increased markedly in recent years. This book has come out of a conference on 'Roman Working Lives and Urban Living' held at the University of Durham in 2001. The conference was planned as a forum for people researching urban space and architecture, commercial and retail structures, organisation of craft activity and social theory. The twelve papers presented here have been organised into two categories: Urban living and the settings for working lives and People at work: Owners, and artisans, crafts and professions. The range of topics and variety of approaches in the papers emphasise the wealth of the material available, and it is hoped that this will stimulate further research into the lives of the 'silent voices' of Roman urban society. 232p, b/w illus, 2 maps (Oxbow Books 2005)"
Roman Military Equipment from the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome, second edition by M C Bishop & J C N Coulston
David Brown Book Company: "Rome's rise to empire is often said to have owed much to the efficiency and military skill of her armies and their technological superiority over barbarian enemies. But just how 'advanced' was Roman military equipment? What were its origins and how did it evolve? The authors of this book have gathered a wealth of evidence from all over the Roman Empire - excavated examples as well as pictorial and documentary sources - to present a picture of what range of equipment would be available at any given time, what it would look like and how it would function. They examine how certain pieces were adopted from Rome's enemies and adapted to particular conditions of warfare prevailing in different parts of the Empire. They also investigate in detail the technology of military equipment and the means by which it was produced, and discuss wider questions such as the status of the soldier in Roman society. Both the specially prepared illustrations and the text have been completely revised for the second edition of this detailed and authoritative handbook, bringing it up to date with the very latest research. It illustrates each element in the equipment of the Roman soldier, from his helmet to his boots, his insignia, his tools and his weapons. This book will appeal to archaeologists, ancient and military historians as well as the generally informed and inquisitive reader. (Oxbow Books 2006)"
Friday, June 16, 2006
The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia : A Study of Sovereignty in Ancient Religion: Books: Mark Munn
The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia : A Study of Sovereignty in Ancient Religion by Mark Munn: "Among maternal deities of the Greek pantheon, the Mother of the Gods was a paradox. She is variously described as a devoted mother, a chaste wife, an impassioned lover, and a virgin daughter; she is said to be both foreign and familiar to the Greeks. In this erudite and absorbing study, Mark Munn examines how the cult of Mother of the Gods came from Phrygia and Lydia, where she was the mother of tyrants, to Athens, where she protected the laws of the Athenian democracy. Analyzing the divergence of Greek and Asiatic culture at the beginning of the classical era, Munn describes how Kybebe, the Lydian goddess who signified fertility and sovereignty, assumed a different aspect to the Greeks when Lydia became part of the Persian empire. Conflict and resolution were played out symbolically, he shows, and the goddess of Lydian tyranny was eventually accepted by the Athenians as the Mother of the Gods, and as a symbol of their own sovereignty.
This book elegantly illustrates how ancient divinities were not static types, but rather expressions of cultural systems that responded to historical change. Presenting a new perspective on the context in which the Homeric and Hesiodic epics were composed, Munn traces the transformation of the Asiatic deity who was the goddess of Sacred Marriage among the Assyrians and Babylonians, equivalent to Ishtar. Among the Lydians, she was the bride to tyrants and the mother of tyrants. To the Greeks, she was Aphrodite. An original and compelling consideration of the relations between the Greeks and the dominant powers of western Asia, The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia is the first thorough examination of the way that religious cult practice and thought influenced political activities during and after the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. "
The Rise And Fall Of A Noble Roman Family: The Domitii Ahenobarbi 196 BC-AD 68 (University of Southern Denmark Studies in History and Soci
Amazon.com: By Jesper Carlsen
No further information available.
Alexander's Tomb: The Two-thousand Year Obsession to Find the Lost Conquerer: Books: Nicholas Saunders
Amazon.com: "Combining cinematic drama and a sprawling historical narrative, this gripping history is the first book to follow the search for the tomb of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great is a towering figure in world history-his military genius and flamboyant personality have perhaps never been surpassed. But despite our long-held fascination with him, we have no idea where he is buried. The search for Alexander's tomb began soon after his untimely death in 323 b.c. and continues even today. The epic pursuit of the tomb spans continents and centuries, and involves some of history's most iconic figures.
This is the story not of a brief and spectacular life, but of a momentous and unexplained death, multiple burials, and the seemingly never-ending quest for a man-god's final resting place. The journey ties together marvelous, seemingly disparate moments in history, from the Muslim invasion of Alexandria in 641 to Napoleon's great defeat in the Battle of the Nile. Nicholas Saunders gives us intriguing and fresh portraits of familiar figures like Napoleon, Julius Caesar, and Howard Carter. Bringing together thousands of years of speculation, as well as new questions about the ramifications of actually solving the puzzle, Alexander's Tomb is a fascinating look at one of archaeology's greatest mysteries. "
Amazon.com:: "In 1912 a young scholar published a slim volume investigating the social structure of the late Roman Republic, which was in due course to transform the study of Roman history. The author, Professor Gelzer, went on to hold the Chair of Ancient History at Frankfurt and to become the greatest German-speaking historian of the Roman Republic since Mommsen. In 1921 he published his Caesar, which has by now gone through six editions in Germany and is still the standard account, in any language, of Caesar and his age. It amply fulfills the author's intent 'to give the educated public a lively picture of the complete political career of one of the great statesmen of the past.' Based on a conscientious evaluation of the abundant source materials--primarily the writings of Caesar and his contemporaries--Professor Gelzer's portrait renders Caesar in heroic proportions, destined and determined from the beginning to overthrow a corrupt aristocracy. The sixth edition (1960), brought up to date and provided with full annotations by the author, is the basis of this translation, which for the first time makes the work available in English. With Professor Gelzer's approval, some minor errors have been corrected, both in the text and in the chronological table and the map at the end of the book, and an analytical index of names has been added. "
By Colin Wells
"A gripping intellectual adventure story, Sailing from Byzantium sweeps you from the deserts of Arabia to the dark forests of northern Russia, from the colorful towns of Renaissance Italy to the final moments of a millennial city under siege?.
Byzantium: the successor of Greece and Rome, this magnificent empire bridged the ancient and modern worlds for more than a thousand years. Without Byzantium, the works of Homer and Herodotus, Plato and Aristotle, Sophocles and Aeschylus, would never have survived. Yet very few of us have any idea of the enormous debt we owe them.
The story of Byzantium is a real-life adventure of electrifying ideas, high drama, colorful characters, and inspiring feats of daring. In Sailing from Byzantium, Colin Wells tells of the missionaries, mystics, philosophers, and artists who against great odds and often at peril of their own lives spread Greek ideas to the Italians, the Arabs, and the Slavs.
Their heroic efforts inspired the Renaissance, the golden age of Islamic learning, and Russian Orthodox Christianity, which came complete with a new alphabet, architecture, and one of the world?s greatest artistic traditions.
The story?s central reference point is an arcane squabble called the Hesychast controversy that pitted humanist scholars led by the brilliant, acerbic intellectual Barlaam against the powerful monks of Mount Athos led by the stern Gregory Palamas, who denounced ?pagan? rationalism in favor of Christian mysticism.
Within a few decades, the light of Byzantium would be extinguished forever by the invading Turks, but not before the humanists found a safe haven for Greek literature. The controversy of rationalism versus faith would continue to be argued by some of history?s greatest minds.
Fast-paced, compulsively readable, and filled with fascinating insights, Sailing from Byzantium is one of the great historical dramas?the gripping story of how the flame of civilization was saved and passed on. "
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Dear Friend of Gordianus,
Just a note to let you know that the paperback edition of the latest
book, A GLADIATOR DIES ONLY ONCE, is just out. It's a collection of
short stories, all featuring Gordianus. There are images and details
at my web site...
or at Amazon.com:
Meanwhile, I recently finished my next book. ROMA: THE NOVEL OF
ANCIENT ROME is a saga in the Michener/Rutherfurd vein. The epic
story follows descendants of a single bloodline through the first
1000 years of Roman history, from the first Bronze Age settlement on
the Tiber and the founding of the city by Romulus and Remus all the
way to the assassination of Caesar and the end of the Republic. It's
by far my longest and most ambitious book. ROMA will be published in
But I don't get to take the summer off. My publisher is making me
start work on the next Gordianus novel! - Steven Saylor