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aiden12

What's the last book you read?

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Just finished reading M.L Clarke "The Noblest Roman: Marcus Brutus and His Reputation", a good book thought it's too sympathic to Brutus for my taste and half of the book deal with Brutus image after his death.

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I finally dipped into my wallet--which is a lot thinner now--and ordered The Cambridge Ancient History IX The Last Age of the Roman Republic, Second Edition, which I plan on sinking my teeth into soon. And I can't effin' wait.

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Having this year come out the far end of several years of belated undergraduate studies I can honestly say that I have hardly finished any reference type books throughout most of that time and don't really keep track of the fiction I managed to fit in around it. However I did enjoy reading Enigma and Pompeii by Robert Harris a while back.

 

I am however now partly through Wooliscroft and Hoffman's Rome's First Frontier: The Flavian Occupation of Northern Scotland Tempus, which given their background, is throwing up a fair bit of good information and interpretations that I haven't found compiled or even suggested anywhere else.

Edited by Melvadius

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Lasse Berg - Grying

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Currently reading The Trojan War by Barry Strauss. Presents a plausible but not wholly convincing case that many of the details of the Homeric epic may be true. Interesting to read nonetheless as the author places everything within the cultural and martial context of the Bronze Age.

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In the bargain bin of the bookstore, I discovered The Collected What If? Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

 

A collection of essays by various historians of what might have happened had some bit of politico-military history gone differently.

 

I have already read through the ancient history section

 

1) What if the Assyrians had managed to destroy Judea? There would be no Judaic religion as we now know it, and consequently no Christian or Islamic religions as we know them.

 

2) Had the Persians won at Salamis, Western Civilization as we know it would not have happened

 

3) Had Alexander the Great died in his first battle, there would be no Hellenistic world as we understand it. The Persians would rule the East, the Romans would eventually inherent the West, and no Hellenism in between. Christianity and Islam as we know it would not have developed.

 

4) Had Romans conquered Germania, Moscow would be an integral part of Western Europe, the Mongols would not have invaded Europe. There would be no Protestantism, no English language and no Hitler.

 

Entertaining reading. The rest of the books seems to span the Middle Ages, European monarchies, and American history. A lot of people here would get a kick out of it.

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I’m currently reading “Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor” by Anthony Everitt and I am not impressed. Aside from his somewhat pedestrian writing style, his interpretation and use of some of the ancient sources is suspect.

 

He sprinkles the text with rumors and gossip from sources such as Suetonius without always indicating that they are, in all likelihood, nothing more than later gossip or propaganda. To clarify, however, so the preceding sentence isn’t entirely misleading, I should say that he often does suggest that a nugget of information, could, in fact, be gossip, but he’s inconsistent in regards to pointing out such things.

 

Also, the book is littered with inaccuracies and oversimplification to the point that it’s misleading. One small inaccuracy that I just found by thumbing through the book tells us, on page eleven of the paperback, that Suetonius wrote his works in the first century BC. Granted, this is, in all likelihood, a simple typo, but I’d say it’s a pretty big one.

 

Also, he seems to interpret some of the events with hindsight, which is, to my mind, a big no-no. For example, in discussing Octavian’s father’s marriage to Atia in or around 70 BC, Everitt illustrates how important it was for Octavian’s political career to marry into the family of, and to be associated with, Caius Julius Caesar. Granted, for Octavian’s father it was a coup to marry into an old patrician family, but to suggest that he would be conscious of benefiting from marrying into THE Julius Caesar’s family in the early 70’s BC is overstating the issue considerably, I think, and interpreting it with hindsight—because, as we know, Caesar was at the beginning of his political career at that period, and hadn’t established himself as anything other than a charming person, a talented speaker, and an up and coming politician (and I guess we could even dispute the latter point, given the period), yet Everitt paints an image that this is the renowned Caesar who was later deified.

 

Also, according to Everitt, in the early 30's BC, "[...] and on the Campus Marius the extremely competent commander Titus Statilius Taurus built Rome's first stone amphitheater." What about Pompey the Great's amphitheater?

 

As for his writing style, allow me to give you a taste—from page 129:

 

“Another dark night of traveling through mountains ensued—and, surely, a dark night of the soul, too; for this was the worse crisis of Octavian’s career.”

 

Now, some may not find that passage as obnoxious as I do, but I find it outright atrocious.

 

I’m honestly, seriously, considering abandoning this book. So if anyone’s interested in trading a couple books, I have this and Everitt’s biography of Cicero—which I bought at the same time, and probably won’t read following this experience.

Edited by DDickey

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Romarinnor och Romare - in lack of better words "Female Romans and Romans".

 

Yet another so far in Swedish only book, really good thou. Written by the Latin professor Tore Janson. He's obviously focused on the written sources, possible too focused, I found one or two strange ideas presented.

 

The book is made up by the context of twelve written Roman sources, beginning with Plautus and finishing with Ausionius. Well recommended if you get your hands on it!

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The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. I read it cover to cover over the course of three shifts at work - I work in a secondhand bookshop, you see. Before that, I read Xenophon's Anabasis. I love my job...

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I am currently reading Peter Heather's "Fall of the Roman Empire"

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I just started Pompey the Great: A Political Biography by Robin Seager. After that, I plan on reading The Roman Art of War Under the Republic by F.E. Adcock, which I picked up on eBay for two bucks.

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I am currently reading Peter Heather's "Fall of the Roman Empire"

 

 

Ah, yes. The book starts out really well, and bogs dows somehwere in the middle. Still, an interesting overall read.

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Ave

Just got done with "Jesus and the Zealots" by S.G.F Brandon. Rather dry and academic but a good read nevertheless.

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