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    Adding to the rapidly-extending corpus of books on Late Antiquity comes the Oxford publication on the Late Roman/Early Byzantine Empress, Theodora, wife of Justinian. The author of the book, David Potter – Francis W. Kelsey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan – here attempts to find the real person behind the scheming woman portrayed by Procopius in his ‘Secret History. The Contents of the book clearly illustrate that Potter is approaching his theme using a roughly chronological approach...

    ...continue to the review of  Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint by David Potter

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    L.J. Trafford is a polished storyteller who quickly immerses the reader into the little explored world of common Roman slaves who executed the day-to-day tasks of managing the emperor’s palace. Galba’s Men, published in 2016, is the second book in Trafford’s four-book series, The Four Emperors. Galba’s Men is preceded by Palatine and is followed by Otho’s Regret and Vitellius’ Feast.
    The inglorious death of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (his imperial title) at age 30 in 68 A.D. instigated by his own Praetorian prefect, Nymphidius Sabinus, introduced a short period of civil war into Roman history. This upheaval lasted only a year but witnessed four separate individuals accede to the Roman throne. The story of Galba’s Men is told from the palace slaves’ unique point of view from Galba’s arrival in Rome from Spain, and his short occupancy as Emperor, the pinnacle of Roman power...
    ...continue to the full review of Galbas Men by L.J. Trafford
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    The book “Julius Caesar’s Disease: A New Diagnosis” is an interesting examination of Caesar’s health. The emphasis of this book is a reassessment of Caesar’s alleged epilepsy. In the preface of the book the authors state, “Discussing health conditions and illnesses of famous characters from a bygone age may indeed be considered a daunting prospect and the advantages stemming from it could be questioned.”
    The authors are certainly qualified to meet the challenge. Both have studied classical history and both are medically qualified to investigate Caesar’s health...
    ...continue to the review of  Julius Caesar's Disease: A New Diagnosis by Galassi and Ashrafian
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    To say that the stories of Arthur are enduring and popular is an understatement. Second only to Jesus as the Once and Future King, he has become iconic in english culture, and so potent was Arthurian mythos that had the elder son of Henry VII survived, he would have been crowned Arthur II. Chris Barber's King Arthur - A Mystery Unravelled, is another attempt to identify the man behind more than a thousand years of storytelling....
    ...continue to the review of  King Arthur: The Mystery Unravelled by Chris Barber
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    Mark Tedesco’s I am John, I am Paul gives life to a story about which little is known: who were the men to whom the Basilica of John and Paul are dedicated? The story is told as a memoir from John’s point of view, as the story of his life in the legions, how he came to his relationship with Paul, and how they came to practice Christianity. The style is conversational and straightforward, with notations about the Latin meanings as needed. These notations alternate between footnotes and parenthetical asides, the latter tending to draw the reader out of the story, but they are useful for one not versed in Roman history...
    ...continue with the review of I am John I am Paul A Story of Two Soldiers in Ancient Rome by Marc Tedesco
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    Okay, so maybe I’m not the best person to be reviewing this book. It’s written for young readers, which is a group that I’m definitely not a member of. I’m much closer to life’s second round of diapering than to its first! But tough titties, as we used to say when I was a member of that age cohort. I read it, I enjoyed it, and now I’m gonna review it! And anyway, as my wife likes to point out, I’ve got a lot of twelve-year old in me!
    This book reminded me of the adventures contained in the pages of the Scholastic Book Club books that I devoured as a wee lad. Of course, I don’t really remember any of those books. But it was the feeling! And this book has all of those elements – smart, brave young protagonists, exotic locales, appropriately sanitized villains, and, most of all, adventure! Oh – and crocodiles...
    ...continue to the review of  Crocodile Legion - A Roman Adventure by SJA Turney
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    Author and historian John D. Grainger tells the story of the Seleucid empire, and as is only fitting for an empire of this size, he tells it in not one but three books – The Rise of the Seleukid Empire, the Seleukid Empire of Antiochus III, and The Fall of the Seleukid Empire. Each of these books is some 250 pages long, and each can be read as a separate volume in its own right, though of course, doing so causes one to miss the entire grand sweep of the author's project...
    ...continue to the review of  The Rise and Fall of the Seleukid Empire by J. Grainger
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    In The Second Jewish Revolt: The Bar Kokhba War, 132-136 C.E., Menahem Mor offers a detailed account in an attempt to better understand the uprising against the Romans. Mor is Professor of Jewish History at the University of Haifa. He has published monographs and articles on Jewish history during the Second Temple Period. In his Introduction to The Second Jewish War he explains that it is an updated version in English of his volume The Bar Kokhba Revolt: Its Extent and Effect published in Hebrew in 1991. He was compelled to write the new book because of the sheer amount of new research now available, in particular information extracted from documents found in refuge caves near the Dead Sea.
    ...continue to the review of The Second Jewish Revolt by Menahem Mor
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    The Roman Empire And The Silk Road by Raoul McLoughlin seeks to describe a situation that existed for a few hundred years in the past. Trade routes across Asia and the societies that interacted along it. He writes in an engaging style without sensationalist questioning. Everything is derived from ancient sources in a factual manner. In most cases, the study of Roman history remains focused on that empire's interior and periphery, but McLoughlin places SPQR in context, in relation to the world around it, and demonstrates convincingly how important how important these contacts were to keeping the Roman Empire economically viable. The emphasis is on one product - silk. It might seem a little myopic but the point is that silk was a hugely valuable and desirable commodity. The Chinese paid their troops in bales of it. Once the Romans discovered this wonder material from a far off land they craved it as a fashion necessity, as a practical material, and as a status symbol...
    ...continue to the full review of  Roman Empire And The Silk Road by Raoul McLoughlin
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    Professor Peter T. Struck’s Divination and Human Nature takes the reader on a guided tour of ancient philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Neoplatonist Iamblichus) and their opinions regarding “natural” divination, as opposed to “technical” divination such as the reading of entrails, described as “the application of…logic to empirically gathered external signs” (p 16). The purpose of natural divination varies, but its nature remains strikingly similar among the philosophers examined: “the immediate apperception of something without the intervention of any reasoning process,” (p 20) knowledge which “arrives to us by ways other than self-conscious, goal-directed inferential chains of thought” (p 31), “an epiphenomenon of human anatomy and cognition (p 177), or, simply put, “intuition.”
    ...continue to the full review of Divination and Human Nature by Peter T. Struck
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