Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

aiden12

What's the last book you read?

Recommended Posts

Just finished "Etruscan Civilization: a Cultural History." Plenty of great photos and illustrations of Etruscan artifacts. But I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It's very archaeology centered, and I was looking for something a little more in the way of a general narrative. The author also takes great pains to try to prove that in Etruria women were the equal of men, and I sometimes think the point is overly belabored and exaggerated.

 

My archaeologically-minded colleague Pantagathus may enjoy it, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Persian Fire by Tom Holland.

 

I enjoyed it as much as Rubicon despite knowing bugger all about the Greeks and Persians. He really can write narrative history.

 

I did a search on Amazon and he has a future release concerning the centuries before and after the Norman conquest. I'll buy it ASAP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm finishing the Penguin Classic translation of Ammianus Marcellinus's The Later Roman Empire (AD 354-378). Great read. Here's a sample from his description of a battle between the Roman forces lead by Julian and the Alamanni. (This excerpt is a slightly different translation I found on-line from C.D. Yonge):

 

46. But the Allemanni, still charging forward impetuously, strove more and more vigorously, hoping to bear down all opposition by the violence of their fury. Darts, spears, and javelins never ceased; arrows pointed with iron were shot; while at the same time, in hand-to-hand conflict, sword struck sword, breastplates were cloven, and even the wounded, if not quite exhausted with loss of blood, rose up still to deeds of greater daring.

 

47. In some sense it may be said that the combatants were equal. The Allemanni were the stronger and the taller men; our soldiers by great practice were the more skilful. The one were fierce and savage, the others composed and wary; the one trusted to their courage, the others to their physical strength.

 

48. Often, indeed, the Roman soldier was beaten down by the weight of his enemy's arms, but he constantly rose again; and then, on the other hand, the barbarian, finding his knees fail under him with fatigue, would rest his left knee on the ground, and even in that position attack his enemy, an act of extreme obstinacy.

 

 

guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently reading 'The Origin and Deeds of the Goths' by Jordanes, translated by Charles C. Mierow. The book was first published in 1908, but this is a reprint that was launched a few months back by Dodo Press. The link to the book is here .

 

Jordanes is very interesting, even if his work is pretty questionable. The sections on Attila the Hun were informative, although he does lend far too much credit for victory at Chalons to the Visigoths rather than the Romans. Interestingly a new work claims that Jordanes belief that the Goths came from Scandza (Sweden) is false.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Currently Im splitting my time between Adrian Goldworthy's Roman Warfare and Nathanial Philbrick's Sea of Glory.

 

The first is pretty classic legionary fare.

The latter is an interesting history of the little-known 1839 U.S. Exploring Expedition. Its also a fascinating look at the psycology of its members.

 

I'd recommend either

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished Justinian's Flea by William Rosen. It was about the plague and how it affected the empire and europe during Justinian's reign. Right now I'm reading a bio of roman emperors from 31 BC to 476 AD ...I forget the author's name, but it's awesome because I only know scattered bits of data about a few emperors. Historical info is lacking on some of the emperors, but I'm learning a lot more about the more obscure ones, and the ones with shorter reigns (i.e. Galba).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People of the Horse by Mary Mackie.

 

I believe that it's out of print now, but it's the story of Boudicca told through her eyes, and interestingly, the eyes of her daughter. I picked it up in a second hand book shop in South Africa of all places.

 

It's definately worth tracking down. Also, I'm reading Tyrant by Christian Cameron, which absolutely brilliant.

 

Russ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just finished Justinian's Flea by William Rosen. It was about the plague and how it affected the empire and europe during Justinian's reign.

 

 

You may be interested in a review of the book from one of my esteemed colleagues:

 

http://www.unrv.com/book-review/justinians-flea.php

 

Thanks for the link :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just read the linked review of Justinian's Flea. I agree that it Rosen does a good job of not alienating the reader. (I can't really speak for other readers, but I wasn't bored with it.) I agree that one of Justinian's key talents was his ability to spot talent in other individuals and to use them to their full potential. He was not unlike some of the great leaders of the modern era. Looking back at Washington, it wasn't necessarily his own talents which made him a good president, but rather the cabinet he employed (Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton--all incredibly intelligent and talented men). It is regrettable that Justinian was a bit distrusting and paranoid, however. Had he trusted Belisarius more, the conquest of Italy may have been more successful and perhaps the reconquered lands would not have fallen back into the hands of the barbarians as soon as they did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's definately worth tracking down. Also, I'm reading Tyrant by Christian Cameron, which absolutely brilliant.

 

Russ

 

I have just picked this up at Sainsbury's! I bought a handful of historicals a couple of weeks ago and this was among them, although I haven't yet read it. I started this recently purchased batch with Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead by Nick Drake (a former screen writer and literary associate of The National Theatre) and I have to say I was impressed. The story deals with the famous disappearance of Nefertiti and the narrator is a character named Rahotep (a Seeker of Mysteries). However, it seems to be more deeply thought out and plotted than the usual ancient detective stories and the prose is delicious. I can recommend it to the literary historical fiction fans rather than to the action brigade, and Nefertiti's charisma is excellently and powerfully drawn. A damned good read!

 

I have just started the second volume of William Napier's Attila series (I didn't know there'd been a first!) and it seems OK, but I am struggling with info dumps and long boring descriptions of every muscle and sinew of Attila's physique! I'll let you know how it pans out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have just started the second volume of William Napier's Attila series (I didn't know there'd been a first!) and it seems OK, but I am struggling with info dumps and long boring descriptions of every muscle and sinew of Attila's physique! I'll let you know how it pans out.

 

Please do - I've got the first one - I've had it for ages and because of one thing and another, I've not opened it (shame on me!).

 

Cheers

 

Russ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just finished "Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome" by Lesley Adkins and Roy A. Adkins.

 

The wealth of information contained in this book is amazing, it's got to be a must for anyone interested in ancient Rome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am currently reading: "Working IX to V" a rather light hearted study of various ancient professions in the ancient world. It started out fun, but the author's cynical prose is starting to wear thin, and I've become bogged down in the middle. I may do a review on it if I manage to finish it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Am currently reading: "Working IX to V" a rather light hearted study of various ancient professions in the ancient world. It started out fun, but the author's cynical prose is starting to wear thin, and I've become bogged down in the middle. I may do a review on it if I manage to finish it.

 

I couldn't agree more here, Ursus! I have been threatening to review this for the Forum myself - and do intend to do it - unless you wish to take the honours. I did giggle an awful lot through the opening third but then found it all got a bit 'samey'. Other projects and real life have actually got in the way of my finishing the final few chapters, but I will rectify this very soon. I was, however, impressed with the level of research that must have gone into it, and the fact that the author managed to get the information across without flinging heavy sholarship in our faces. We coould, of course, each do our own review - but we may well come to the same conclusion, which wouldn't be of help to the Forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×