General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

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Nabonidus
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General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by Nabonidus » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:59 pm

Hi,

I'm trying to think of things to ask for for Christmas and I can't find a good history book for ancient Greece or Rome. Some seem interesting, but too specific or ideological/revisionist. If anyone knows a good, affordable book that covers, say, all of classical Greek history in several hundred pages, that would be great. Longer is fine too if it's not expensive.

Thank you!

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Paul Derouda
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Re: General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by Paul Derouda » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:04 pm

Freeman's Egypt, Greece and Rome is one possibility. I suppose there are other ones, but that's the one I've read. I challenge others to recommend others!

https://www.amazon.com/Egypt-Greece-Rom ... 0199263647

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seneca2008
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Re: General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by seneca2008 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:50 pm

Nabonidus wrote:Some seem interesting, but too specific or ideological/revisionist.
I wonder what you mean by this and what you have in mind? All History Books are ideological and if you don't recognise that you perhaps shouldn't be reading any of them.

Old fashioned and out of date as it is Bury and Meiggs will give you an overview, but it is certainly not free from ideology. Recommendations really depend on what you are interested in and whether you are making an academic study. Mary Beard's Roman Laughter and The Roman Triumph are fascinating and not really as specialised as they sound. They are quite amusing too.

https://www.amazon.com/History-Greece-J ... oks&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Ancient ... 193&sr=1-5

https://www.amazon.com/Roman-Triumph-Ma ... 193&sr=1-8

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persequor
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Re: General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by persequor » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:44 pm

Not recent works, but still classic and great for the general reader: Will Durant's The Life of Greece and Caesar and Christ. They are volumes II and III, respectively in his eleven volume The Story of Civilization series. An older but still useful work is Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I'm currently reading vol. 4 out of 6 of Gibbon, about the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Justinian I (6th century). As Gibbon also deals with the western empire in its last days, he fits your criteria. I'm sure there are more recent works that may correct some things these got wrong. But, you can't go too far wrong with the classics. Even if they have some errors or prejudices, they usually are well-written and enjoyable to read. (Well, as history is a human endeavor, I would say all such works have errors and prejudices.) You will have to spend money on Durant (they were published in the 1940's). But Gibbon is public domain and you can find free digital versions online.

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seneca2008
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Re: General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by seneca2008 » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:33 am

Some other ideas for good books on Greek History:

The Greek World 479-323 BC (The Routledge History of the Ancient World), 4th Edition Simon Hornblower"

https://www.amazon.com/Greek-479-323-Ro ... oks&sr=1-1

Review: http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2011/2011-12-46.html

Greece in the Making, 1200-479 BC (The Routledge History of the Ancient World) 2nd Edition Robin Osborne

(perhaps a little austere)

https://www.amazon.com/Greece-1200-479- ... 8&me=&qid=

Review (which criticises the writing style ) : http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1998/98.2.09.html

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Re: General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by jeidsath » Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:38 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:50 pm
I wonder what you mean by this and what you have in mind? All History Books are ideological and if you don't recognise that you perhaps shouldn't be reading any of them.
About 2% of American adults contribute 97% of political tweets, according to Pew yesterday. There is a small class of people who are extremely mentally disturbed about politics, and it infects everything they write and say. When someone asks for a non-ideological resource, what they mean is something that bears its prejudices lightly, and was not written by a Twitter-type, or their historical equivalents. Ideology is a spectrum, not a binary condition.

To pick one of many examples, de Ste. Croix would be something on a far end of this spectrum.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by Nabonidus » Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:36 am

Thank you both for your suggestions, those look like the sort of thing I was looking for.

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Re: General, comprehensive history book for ancient Greece or Rome?

Post by Ronolio » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:31 pm

If you want one that covers both Greece and Rome, you might try Robin Lane Fox's The Classical World: an Epic History from Homer to Hadrian. Not a scholarly work, but a pretty good read.


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