• Viggen

    In itself, White’s biography of Aurelian is commendable. He persuasively argues that Aurelian is important, and has been unfairly neglected by historians. After all his military victories rival those of Trajan and Vespasian; his work ethic that of Marcus Aurelius. This 3rd century emperor, dubbed the ‘Restorer of the World’ by his contemporaries, deserves attention from anyone interested in history and the classics. In addition, White goes further. He provides readers not only with a biography of Aurelian, but with a ‘life and times’ of the later Roman Empire. He splits the book (roughly) into three parts.


    ...continue to the review of The Roman Emperor Aurelian by John F. White

    The Roman Empire's Greatest Victories does not set out to challenge fondly held beliefs. It does not analyse deeply nor criticise aggressively. Instead it's a modest volume of less than two hundred pages seeking to remind us of battles that perhaps the Romans themselves would have us remember. Those battles that were, in the eyes of this author at least, among their greatest victories.
    He begins with Actium in 31BC and ends with Chalons in AD451, which basically covers a spread of history we normally refer to as Imperial Rome. These are the more significant battles, and the vast volume of patrols, raids, and skirmishes fought by Roman legions have not been considered...
    ...continue to the review of The Roman Empire's Greatest Victories by J W Medhurst
    Today we have the distinct pleasure to interview professional scholar, educator, public intellectual and journalist Waller R. Newell about his latest book Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror.
    ...continue to the interview with Waller R. Newell
    p.s. This is an amazing interview, i dont think we ever had an author that gave an interview with over 4.000 words. Thanks so much to caldrail for the fantastic questions and the author for the fantastic answers!
    Since 1896 there have been twenty-eight consecutive modern summer Olympic Games — minus the war years of 1914, 1940, and 1944 — which is a notable achievement. That number, however, pales in comparison with the two hundred ninety-two Games held consecutively at Olympia, Greece between 776 BC and 395 AD. Judith Swaddling, Senior Curator of the Greek and Roman collection at the famous British Museum in London, has written a fascinating book describing the Ancient Games as they evolved through the years, and she draws numerous parallels between the ancient and modern Games. The number of similarities is striking including the less than noble issues of bribery, dishonest judges, and cheating...
    ...continue to the review of The Ancient Olympic Games: Third edition by Judith Swaddling
    In every walk of life you find experts. Sometimes it's one of those endless interviews the media delight in after an important event. Sometimes it's just a headstrong colleague with more opinion than commonsense. The issue is the same with regard to politics, always a subject to raise debates both rational and passionate. Loved or loathed, powerful individuals are always with us, always subjects for discussion or derision, and yet no-one seems to have a definitive view until, at some point, someone suggests that person is a tyrant, and the label begins to stick. Authority and tyranny are not seperable, but shades of grey, so where do we we draw the line? How do we define a tyrant?
    ...continue to the full review of Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror by Waller R. Newell
    This is the first of what is to be a set of 5 volumes providing a comprehensive narrative of late Roman military history from 284-641. It provides a detailed description of the changes in organization, equipment, strategy and tactics among both the Roman forces and her enemies in the relevant period, while also giving a detailed but accessible account of the campaigns and battles. This first volume covers the period from the end of the third century crisis to the sons of Constantine. He makes some interesting claims such as the earlier than attested increase in Roman cavalry use, and has undertaken a great deal of research to provide an informative, clear and well put together book...
    ...to the full review of Military History of Late Rome 284-361 by Ilkka Syvanne
    The siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple, the fall of Masada to the Romans – these dramatic episodes in the First Jewish War (AD 66-70) are well known to students of the ancient world. Hardly known at all to them are the subsequent uprisings in the Diaspora of AD 115-117 and the Second Jewish War of AD 132-136. It is a surprising oversight. The failure of the second uprising in Judaea was of much greater consequence for the Jewish People than the better known conflict.
    William Horbury offers a new history of these important events. He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge whose publications include works on Jewish messianism and Judaism under Herod the Great. He knows his subject intimately. This is evident in the extensive footnotes, which in aggregate make up almost half of the 512 page book...
    ...continue to the review of Jewish War under Trajan and Hadrian by William Horbury
    The superhero is nothing new. Our modern day graphic novels descend directly from the American comic books that emerged in the thirties, as if the United States was seeking hope in a world that was threatened by economic woe and violent conflict. Perhaps oddly for that nation in particular we find the iconic Superman was an alien orphan. In his first outing we are told he could hurdle skyscrapers, leap an eighth of a mile, raise tememdous weights, run faster than a streamline train, and nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin. Within a decade or two, his feats exceeded those limits by orders of magnitude...
    ...continue to the review of Hercules: The First Superhero by Philip Matyszak
    I will say from the outset that the reason I took on this review copy was because I found the concept interesting enough to draw me in to read, so I started on good terms. I am, for those who don’t know me, a historian and author with a solid bent towards the classical world (especially of Rome and the successor world of Rome.) I am a scientific dunce. I cannot change a light bulb, or even explain how one works. But just ask me about the religious policy of Maxentius, I dare you. So it turns out that there’s only a small amount of this book that I can say deals even remotely with my area of expertise....
    ...continue to the review of In Search of our Ancient Ancestors by Anthony Adolph
    As you settle down into whatever chair you have chosen to sit in whilst reading this wonderful book, be prepared to linger a while, because in Brutus of Troy, Anthony Adolph is about to transport you to a world of intrigue, mystery, pageantry and daring-do.
    Set over continents the Brutus myth is one which is far more complex than can be imagined. My first surprise was that Brutus was a myth at all – for a few pages I truly thought I was reading ancient history and marvelling that I had, in my career as an ancient historian, somehow missed a vital part of my education – alas my illusions were shattered when Adolph, rather glumly, announced that Brutus, like Romulus and Remus before him, was “entirely fictitious’. At this point I did wonder why bother reading on, ultimately it was a fairy story wasn’t it?
    continue to the review of Brutus of Troy: And the Quest for the Ancestry of the British by Anthony Adolph
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