Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Greek Army on the March: Soldiers and Survival in Xenophon's Anabasis

"Professor [John W.I.] Lee provides a social and cultural history of the Cyreans, the classical Greek mercenary soldiers depicted in Xenophon's Anabasis. While the Cyrean army has often been thought of as a single political community, Lee reveals that in fact the soldiers' lives were shaped largely by their participation in a set of smaller social communities: the formal unit organization of the lochos ('company') and the informal comradeship of the suskenia ('mess group'). Drawing on a wide array of ancient literary and archaeological evidence, along with comparative perspectives from military sociology and modern war studies, he examines the full range of the Cyreans' experience, including the environmental conditions of their campaign, ethnic and socio-economic relations amongst the soldiers, equipment and transport, marching and camping, eating and drinking, sanitation, and medical care. He also accords detailed attention to the non-combatants who accompanied the army. Anyone interested in ancient Greek warfare or in Xenophon's Anabasis will want to read this book."

Scheduled for release February 29, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Odysseus Unbound now available in Greek

Publication of the Greek edition of Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer's Ithaca

  • Homer described Ithaca as ‘furthest west’ but where is Odysseus’ island now?
  • Latest scientific techniques are used to investigate Europe’s earliest enigma
  • New Preface and Sequel update the book with key developments since 2005
  • Website research findings now provided in Greek as well as English
  • Authors to visit Athens and Kefalonia to present the latest findings in person

Athens, January 4 2008. The award-winning best-seller Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer's Ithaca is now available in Greek. First published by Cambridge University Press in October 2005, the book has been updated with the latest developments from the island of Kefalonia and is published in Athens by Ekdoseis Polytropon.

Since September 2007 expert teams from FUGRO have been conducting land, sea and air-based surveys of the area with the objective of probing deep into the ground to search for a buried marine seaway. An unprecedented array of gravity, seismic, marine and helicopter-based electromagnetic techniques are being used to test the theory by performing a “whole body scan” of this 6 kilometre long, 2 kilometre wide isthmus.

The Odysseus Unbound website has been released in Greek, reporting the latest news and events from the project. A new Preface and Sequel have been added to the book, presenting the key geological and classical developments since 2005.

"Robert Bittlestone's "Odysseus Unbound" is a massive book, nearly 600 pages filled with excellent illustrations (maps, photographs, aerial photographs, satellite images) and a highly detailed narrative explaining the development of and evidence for the author's theory: that Homeric Age Ithaca, the kingdom of Odysseus, was not located on the modern island of Ithaki, but instead on the western peninsula of the nearby island of Cephalonia. The evidence presented is complex, involving literary sources, geology, and archaeology, but a critical portion of the author's argument is whether in Homeric times this western peninsula was separated from Cephalonia by a sea channel since closed up by earthquake-induced rockfalls.

Although Bittlestone is "only" an enthusiastic amateur, his research has been reviewed and backed by his professional co-authors, one a professor of Greek and Latin and the other a geologist specializing in the Ionian island area." - Bruce Trinque,

Friday, February 01, 2008

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations by Martin Goodman

"As the People's Front of Judea concluded after asking "What have the Romans ever done for us?", the city of Jerusalem blossomed under the Roman Empire, benefiting from strong trade links and centuries of peace and religious tolerance.

Such a happy coexistence was not to last however, with the fabled Temple of Jerusalem completely destroyed in 70AD by the future Emperor Titus and the Jewish people subjected to increased taxation and discrimination, culminating in the renaming of Judea to Palestina in a final push for political and religious hegemony.

Rome and Jerusalem therefore asks the question whether such a deterioration of relations between the two great cities was inevitable, or even deliberate, or whether it was an unintended consequence of political intrigues.

As such, the book not only addresses the issues of Roman imperialism and the place of religion within the state but also touches upon the origins of 2,000 years of Western anti-Semitism..."

"...Goodman's great skill lies in his vivid portrayal of the vanities and ambitions of the leaders of both sides and, as such, his overriding argument that the calamitous deterioration of relations between the two cities was almost a tragic accident caused by a series of decisions taken by Emperors interested solely domestic politics and glory, becomes highly plausible.

However, Rome and Jerusalem is not simply another 'Great Man' account of historical shifts, but rather the author cites contemporary accounts from observers such as Josephus and Pliny the Elder to give an equally vivid account of day-to-day life among the ordinary citizens of the two cities. Thus, readers benefit from a fuller context to the clash of the two cities, from daily religious observations to the differing trade and cultural priorities of the pair. "