Friday, May 23, 2008

New Edition of Encyclopedia of Invasions and Conquests Now Available

"Throughout history, invasions and conquests have played a remarkable role in shaping our world and defining our boundaries, both physically and culturally.

Updated through 2006, this brand new second edition of the popular Encyclopedia of Invasions & Conquests is a comprehensive guide to over 150 invasions, conquests, battles and occupations, from the ancient times to the present. With brand new articles on the Coalition Invasion of Iraq, the Serbian Invasion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Soviet & UN's Invasions of Afghanistan, this text offers complete coverage of the most current invasions and those dating back to the earliest times. Plus, a brand new Historical Timeline has been added along with over 70 brand new Maps.

Categories of entries include countries, invasions and conquests, and individuals. In addition to covering the military aspects of invasions and conquests, entries cover some of the political, economic, and cultural aspects, for example, the effects of a conquest on the invading country's political and monetary system and in its language and religion. The entries on leaders -- among them Sargon, Alexander the Great, William the Conqueror, and Adolf Hitler -- deal with the people who sought to gain control, expand power, or exert religious or political influence over others through military means.

Revised and updated for this second edition, entries are arranged alphabetically within historical periods. Each chapter provides a map to help readers locate key areas and geographical features, and bibliographical references appear at the end of each entry. Other useful features include hundreds of Maps, cross-references, a cumulative bibliography and a comprehensive subject index."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Olympia: A Journey to Four Dimensions

"The publication "Olympia. A Journey to Four Dimensions" is a "digital album" with three-dimensional reconstructions of the most important buildings of ancient Olympia, which are presented with emphasis on historical accuracy and construction details. For the first time the site of ancient Olympia is presented in a book, as it was in its heyday, exclusively through digital pictures.

The main part of the book consists of large coloured images of the various monuments of Olympia, as well as general perspectives of the site, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Architectural monuments and areas that no longer exist in their original form come to life through the use of computers and of three-dimensional graphics programs.

The book has been created as part of the activities of the Foundation of the Hellenic World for the Olympic Games that were organized in our country in 2004. At the same time, a series of twelve postal cards has been published with select pictures from this book. The production of digital reconstructions was done exclusively by the 3D Reconstruction and Animation Department ( of the Foundation of the Hellenic World."

Olympia: A Journey to Four Dimensions is available in Greek or English.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Afghan Campaign - A Review

by Mary Harrsch

Stephen Pressfield has garnered laurels for his ability to describe the utter brutality of ancient warfare and his descriptions of battles fought during the campaign of Alexander the Great in Afghanistan in his novel "The Afghan Campaign" are as wrenching as those depicted in Pressfield's "Gates of Fire".

Told from the perspective of a common soldier rather than from Alexander's viewpoint or the viewpoint of one of Alexander's commanders, "The Afghan Campaign" provides the reader the opportunity to experience the grinding existence of a man struggling to maintain some shred of integrity in a hostile and intractable world.

Alexander is most often glimpsed from a distance and we are not privy to his strategic debates or daily dispatches to help us understand the "big picture" he sees in his efforts to add the tribes of the Hindu Kush to his role of conquered nations. We must, through Matteius' eyes, simply endure the relentless wind, quagmires of mud, and bitterly cold snow and sleet, as we climb and descend the deadly precipices that score the Afghan countryside in search of a foe that materializes suddenly to engage in deadly tribal rituals, counting coup and scalping or mutilating their victims, then escapes back into the mountains where, unlike the Macedonians, they appear to thrive. We feel Mattteius' frustration rise to an excruciating level as his comrades are butchered in ambushes or slain by duplicitous camp followers.

As the war wears on, he participates in retaliatory strikes where entire villages are put to the sword and torched as efforts intensify to "win" an ultimately unwinnable war. Matteius' acceptance of these measures poignantly demonstrates the ultimate result of living amidst so much brutality - the loss of one's own humanity as both sides must cultivate ruthlessness to simply survive.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Nox Dormienda: A Long Night for Sleeping (An Arcturus Mystery)

Saturnalia is almost over, but drunks and gamblers aren't the only denizens of Londinium knocking on the doctor's door. The winter of 836 a.u.c. (83 A.D.) is cold and bitter. The year's final exhale will be colder still.

Arcturus--the half-native, half-Roman doctor and occasional problem-solver--has seen much in his thirty-three years. He's risen--despite not playing the politics game. He is Agricola's doctor. And Agricola's friend. And Agricola is the governor of Britannia.

Now, on a frozen December afternoon, he learns the governor is in trouble. The Emperor Domitian has sent a spy to Britannia--a spy carrying papers demanding Agricola's resignation. It doesn't make Arcturus any warmer to know that the spy, a Syrian named Vibius Maecenas, is betrothed to the woman who brings him the story. The woman--Gwyna--is as unforgettable as her information.

When Arcturus sends his freedman Bilicho to follow her, he finds himself, hours later, in an underground temple, staring at a shapeless hulk on top the altar. It's the trussed, dead body of Maecenas, with a gaping hole in place of a throat.

If Arcturus doesn't find out who murdered him and why, Domitian might think the governor is responsible. The fat, dead Syrian will ignite a civil war, one hot enough to thaw the ice in frozen Britannia.

He has seven days to unravel fact from story, truth from rumor, and motive from murder. He must walk a carnival landscape of fear and uncertainty, strewn with sadistic pimps, drunken whores, well-bred politicians and four more deaths.

Nox Dormienda is a nightmare vision of Roman Britain, a lightning-paced historical mystery that blends hardboiled prose and impeccably researched historical background. It is the first novel of a new series and a new genre of mystery fiction: it is Roman Noir.

Alexander and Alestria: A Novel by Shan Sa

"Re-creating the lives of two of the most intriguing rulers in history, Shan Sa brings us a novel filled with the sound of hooves, the whistle of arrows, blood, passion, and betrayal. The familiar figure of Alexander the Great comes to new life in this richly imagined tale, which entwines his historical legacy with a fantastic love affair set in a wartime between Western and Eastern civilizations.

Abused by his father, King Philip, who loved and hated his beauty; shadowed by his mother, the mystical and overbearing Queen Olympias; educated by Aristotle who wanted him to be a wise philosopher of Macedonia, Alexander develops a complex character. He becomes a brutal warrior, a pitiless strategist, and a poet longing for the world's wonders. Meanwhile, in the remote steppes of Siberia, an abandoned girl grows up among the wild mares, then adopted by the queen of the Amazons—the tribe of female warriors who dominates a wild world of snow and volcano. As a future queen, the young girl is trained to hate men and to fight against all invaders.

In the course of his great conquest of Asia, Alexander first meets the stunning Alestria on the battlefield. Surprised to find that his adversary is a woman, he is instantly smitten by the fierce queen. Dazzled by his strength, she decides to kidnap him and make him her "wife." At last, this legendary king—renowned for his beauty and love of men—has found his equal. And at last, this indomitable young woman has found a reason to leave her tribe. Their love, deeply passionate and problematic, evolves against an exotic backdrop of warfare and political turmoil, sweeps from antique Greece to Egypt, across the ancient Iraq and Iran, unto the mysterious kingdoms of India."

Scheduled for release in June 2008.

Farewell Britannia: A Family Saga Of Roman Britain: A Family Saga of Roman Britain

Brilliant young historian Simon Young has invented a multi-generational family, part Roman, part Celtic (invaders intermarrying with natives) to tell the dramatic story of 400 years of Roman rule in Britain. Vivid historical detail is balanced by a real feel for the psychological depth of the individual stories. The narrator is writing this 'family history' in 430 AD, realising the Romans will never return. He chooses 14 of the most interesting, but not always the most admirable, of his ancestors. The big events of Roman Britain are all here: scouting for Caesar's expedition in 55 BC; the Roman invasion in 43 AD; Boudicca's revolt and the massacre of 70,000 Romans; the Pict attacks on Hadrian's Wall; the great Barbarian Conspiracy of 367; and the sudden cataclysmic departure of the legions in 410. But there are plenty of non-military episodes: spying on the Druids; a centurion dreaming of retirement with a young slave he has bought; an ambitious wife on the northern frontier; a bad poet in Londinium; infanticide in Surrey; a young Christian girl facing martyrdom in a British amphitheatre.