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    Today we have the distinct pleasure to interview noted author and historian Philip M. Matyszak about his latest book A Servant of Aphrodite. UNRV: By all accounts your first novel The Gold of Tolosa, published Sep 2013, and its protagonist, Lucius Panderius, was very well received. Since then you’ve published, at least, four books, but we haven’t heard a peep from Lucius. That is until 2015 when Lucius reappears in The Servant of Aphrodite. Will readers have to wait another two years for another book starring Lucius...?
     
    ....continue to the interview with Philip Matyszak on The Servant of Aphrodite
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    It takes an exceptional author to write an intriguing and suspenseful book like The Servant of Aphrodite. Professor Philip Matyszak (Maty) is definitely such an author. He possesses the necessary writing skills, intellectual brilliance, experience, and background to write a novel that is not only gripping, but also educational, and interesting. Since 2003 he has authored over twenty successful books.  The Servant of Aphrodite is a reflection of Maty’s extensive travel, interesting background, and in-depth knowledge of ancient Rome. The storyline of A Servant of Aphrodite is built upon the aftermath of the Roman military disaster at Arausio in 105 BC and is a sequel to Maty’s earlier book The Gold of Tolosa. Lucius Panderius is the protagonist in both novels that also feature other notable historical personalities such as Consuls Caepio, Marius, and Sulla....
     
    ...continue to the full review of A Servant of Aphrodite by Philip Matyszak
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    The Peloponnesian War (414-404 BC) was one of the most important conflicts ever witnessed in the ancient world. A gargantuan struggle that spanned decades and involved almost the entire Greek world, it was first and foremost a war between the two great superpowers of the age: Athens and Sparta. These two powers were the polar opposites of one another, with Athens being a democracy, asserting its hegemony through its powerful navy, and the reclusive oligarchy of Sparta which dedicated itself to martial prowess and possessed the most feared army in the Greek world. There was only one way in which they were similar, and that was their yearning for power, influence and domination of their rivals...
     
    ...continue to the full review of Two Deaths at Amphipolis by Mike Roberts
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    ...today we present the last article on Caracalla. The final part...
     
    The Parthians were certainly not a threat to Rome at this point. Rome's great enemy in the east was prostrated by the after-effects of an enduring plague and from some very rough handling by the army of Septimius Severus some fifteen years previously. As is often the case, instability in Parthia had bred further instability, and the country was now riven by a bitter civil war between the brothers Artabanus V and Vologaneses VI. Consequently, Caracalla felt that his enemy was ripe for the picking. (Nor was he completely mistaken in this assessment. The Parthian empire was in its death throes and would fall within a decade. However, due to circumstances beyond Caracalla's control, the final blow would come from rebellion within rather than from the force of Roman arms.)
     
    ...continue to the full article of Caracalla - the final part
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    Books like this excite me from page one because I just know it’s going to ignite a plethora of ideas for my own writing. Van de Mieroop does not disappoint. While this is clearly a textbook for scholars of ancient Mesopotamia, do not be put off if you’re merely looking for insights into the great story of the cradle of civilisation. This is the third edition of a classic made all the more popular as we try to understand the origins of today’s Middle East with its wars, hatreds, dictatorships, genocides and infamous new caliphates that hold nothing but terror for those who will not bow the knee to jihadi dogma...
     
    ...continue to the full review of A History of the Ancient Near East by Marc Van De Mieroop
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    We are very fortunate that we had the chance to do an interview with Tom Holland on his latest book Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar
     
    Many thanks to Tom Holland and Philip Matyszak
     
    UNRV: First of all congratulations on Dynasty - it is a great read. What inspired you to write the book?
     
    Tom Holland: My first book on ancient history, Rubicon, covered the fall of the Roman Republic, and I was eager to take the story forward the moment I had finished it. My publishers, though, were keen to see me explore other areas of interest, and so it was only after I had written histories of the Persian Wars, Western Europe in the 10th and 11th centuries, and the rise of Islam, that I finally returned to the 1st century BC, and the mutation of the Roman Republic into an autocracy....
     
    ...continue to the Interview with Tom Holland on Dynasty
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    This book is a splendid read. Those familiar with Tom Holland's style will be unsurprised by the confident deftness with he sweeps readers into the political maelstrom of the Roman Revolution at the end of the first century BC and then deposits them, better-informed and breathless, on the edge of the Year of the Four Emperors in AD 69. It is quite a ride.  Basically this is the story of the Julio-Claudians, from the rise of Augustus to the fall of Nero. The book is essentially the biographies of the emperors in that line (other members of the dynasty get far less attention, and that usually in the course of being killed off by whoever was emperor at the time). The focus is on the glamour and public appeal of the Julio-Claudians, the author's point being that no other dynasty has had the same mix of glamour, perversion and sheer deranged blood-lust as the Julio-Claudians. He considers – in his words - 'the House of Caesar as something eerie and more than mortal. Painted in blood and gold, its record would never cease to haunt the Roman people'...
     
    ...continue to the full review of Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar by Tom Holland
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    By Viggen, in News,

    We just added a new article about Gaius Pontius, Sabine leader - enjoy!
     
    Gaius Pontius came from a leading Samnite family - the Samnites being a large confederation of Italiot tribes who occupied the mountains of central Italy. The Samnites were a warlike people, and their expansion westward threatened Greek cities such as Naples on the Campanian coast. This gave another expansionist and warlike people - the Romans – an excuse to become involved in Samnite affairs...
     
    ...continue to the full article on Gaius Pontius, Sabine leader
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    There is a wonderful irony about certain aspects of Roman history. Not only do a great many people today make huge assumptions about ancient politics and military leadership, so did the Romans themselves who wrote the histories we get our information from. They knew very little about the details of their past and so thought that politics and war had pretty much always been the way it was in their day. When we blithely type in a reply to an internet discussion, are we sure that our answer is as accurate and erudite as we like to believe? The alarming truth that Fred K Drogula sets before us is that we cannot be so sure until we've looked closer.  Therefore this book addresses two basic principles. Firstly, that our understanding of the ancient world is greatly distorted by our modern perspective. Secondly, that Roman authority evolved radically over time and did not remain as static and traditional as we might expect..
     
    ...continue to the full review of Commanders and Command in the Roman Republic and Early Empire by Fred K. Drogula
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    Spoiler alert! In the very first sentence of the Introduction, Ian Hughes mentions a shocking fact – the Western Roman Empire will fall! “Right. And I can save 15% on car insurance. Everybody knows that!”
     
    However, as the author mentions several times throughout the book, everybody doesn’t know that. Or rather, everybody didn’t know that. The characters who appear in the book, who operated during the final forty years or so of the existence of the Western Roman Empire, didn’t know that. I’m glad he pointed this out, obvious though it may be. I felt a certain sense of, I don’t know, decay (?) while reading the book – like watching flowers lose their bloom and knowing that they will be short-lived. Likely I’m superimposing a sense of dread that the participants didn’t always or necessarily feel, not knowing the outcome as we do. But times were rather bleak, it seems, for the most part.
     
    ...continue to the full review of Patricians and Emperors: The Last Rulers of the Western Roman Empire by Ian Hughes
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