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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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    Let me ask you a question. Do you love Roman history? If so, how many of you secretly dream of being there, two thousand years ago, living a life far removed from the modern rat race? Who would you want be I wonder? Perhaps a crafty slave like Frankie Howerd's Lurcio. Maybe a man of action like Russell Crowe's Maximus. Or a sophisticated and sexually ambiguous patrician like Lawrence Olivier's Crassus. Or perhaps like the vast majority of ancient Romans in real life, take on the world and make a success of yourself in latin society. If so, this is exactly the place to be, for Marcus Sidonius Falx has written down his guide to getting somewhere in ancient life - Welcone to Release Your Inner Roman.
    ...continue to the full review of Release Your Inner Roman by Jerry Toner
     
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    Imagine yourself entering the public seats of a Roman arena. Would you expect a days entertainment? Displays of martial courage? Would you become excited and spellbound by the spill of blood? Or stare horrified at the sight of men mauled and mangled by wild animals? All these emotions are attested to in the Roman sources. Today we're alternately appalled and fascinated by the subject, noting parallels with modern attitudes and behaviour, wondering whether the love of violent competition is really so alien to us.
    Welcome to Gladiators & Beast Hunts, a book by Dr Christopher Epplett. The first impression is largely helped by the books cover, showing mosiac imagery many will be familiar with. Presentation maintains the standards we have come to expect of the publisher and the colour photographs in the centre section are both relevant and illuminating...
    ...continue to the review of Gladiators & Beasthunts by Christopher Epplett
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    Describe Roman Italy. Go on, I dare you. Chances are you're hopelessly wrong. We have just left behind a century of global conflict and competition between powerful political idealism. Vast industrial empires and centralised control. With such an astonishing hold over a vast swathe of the Known World is it any wonder we so readily connect with the Romans? Or at least we think we do. Our preconceptions are incredibly distorted by recent history and contemporary politics. If you don't believe me, A Companion To Roman Italy is a book that will teach you just how little you know...

    ...continue to the review of A Companion to Roman Italy by Alison E. Cooley
     
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    Reference books do not often make for popular reading. Many are too thick and cumbersome, their dusty pages clogged with statistics and data, lengthy quotations and technical prose. Good for academics and universities, yes. Worthy of a glance or two in passing, certainly. But to buy? Usually I avoid it. After all, why buy an encyclopaedia of nineteenth-century Russian literature when one could read Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky? Why buy a compendium of ancient battles when one could read Tacitus or Xenophon or Thucydides, or any number of modern classicists?
     
    Such were my thoughts before reading Don Taylor’s Roman Empire at War: A Compendium of Battles from 31 BC to AD 565. Although my preconceptions found some basis in reality, I admit I was pleasantly surprised by this little book – and by little I mean little! Numbering only 215 pages, it surely must rank among the most concise compendiums ever written...
     
    ...continue to the review of Empire at War: A Compendium of Roman Battles by Don Taylor
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    This book reads like a breath of fresh air. Admittedly, when I first picked it up I was ambivalent, even reluctant, to read it. After all, hasn`t ancient warfare been done to death already? Documentaries and movies and novels about the Greco-Persian and the Peloponnesian Wars abound. Historians, classicists, archaeologists - both professional and amateur - have discussed and re-discussed Greek warfare for decades. Did we really need another budding historian raking over the same old ground, I wondered? How much more can be said about Thermopylae and Sparta, Xerxes and Persia? Wasn`t it time to search for greener pastures? Thankfully, my doubts were unfounded. Great Battles of the Classical Greek World, despite its somewhat dull title, is not a regurgitation of the same old story...
     
    ...continue to the full review of Great Battles of the Classical Greek World by Owen Rees
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    Nick Brown is a very talented storyteller! The Earthly Gods, published in 2016, grabs you early on and holds you fast until the final pages, which fly by way too quickly. It`s a sad day to finally put it aside. This volume is the sixth in the Agent of Rome series and is undoubtedly one of his best. I found the intrigue and suspense of The Earthly Gods more than compensated for the lack of flying pila, clashing shields, and the sights and sounds of battle...
     
    ...continue to the review of The Earthly Gods: Agent of Rome 6 by Nick Brown
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