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For nearly two and a half millennia, Alexander the Great has loomed over history as a legend and an enigma. Wounded repeatedly but always triumphant in battle, he conquered most of the known world, only to die mysteriously at the age of thirty-two. In his day he was revered as a god; in our day he has been reviled as a mass murderer, a tyrant as brutal as Stalin or Hitler. Who was the man behind the mask of power? Why did Alexander embark on an unprecedented program of global domination? What accounted for his astonishing success on the battlefield? In this luminous new biography, the esteemed classical scholar and historian Guy MacLean Rogers sifts through thousands of years of history and myth to uncover the truth about this complex, ambiguous genius. Ascending to the throne of Macedonia after the assassination of his father, King Philip II, Alexander discovered while barely out of his teens that he had an extraordinary talent and a boundless appetite for military conquest. A virtuoso of violence, he was gifted with an uncanny ability to visualize how a battle would unfold, coupled with devastating decisiveness in the field. Granicus, Issos, Gaugamela, Hydaspes--as the victories mounted, Alexander's passion for conquest expanded from cities to countries to continents. When Persia, the greatest empire of his day, fell before him, he marched at once on India, intending to add it to his holdings. As Rogers shows, Alexander's military prowess only heightened his exuberant sexuality. Though his taste for multiple partners, both male and female, was tolerated, Alexander's relatively enlightened treatment of women was nothing short of revolutionary. He outlawed rape, he placed intelligent women in positions of authority, and he chose his wives from among the peoples he conquered. Indeed, as Rogers argues, Alexander's fascination with Persian culture, customs, and sexual practices may have led to his downfall, perhaps even to his death. Alexander emerges as a charismatic and surprisingly modern figure--neither a messiah nor a genocidal butcher but one of the most imaginative and daring military tacticians of all time. Balanced and authoritative, this brilliant portrait brings Alexander to life as a man, without diminishing the power of the legend.
Was Western civilization founded by ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians? Can the ancient Egyptians usefully be called black? Did the ancient Greeks borrow religion, science, and philosophy from the Egyptians and Phoenicians? Have scholars ignored the Afroasiatic roots of Western civilization as a result of racism and anti-Semitism? In this collection of twenty essays, leading scholars in a broad range of disciplines confront the claims made by Martin Bernal in Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. In that work, Bernal proposed a radical reinterpretation of the roots of classical civilization, contending that ancient Greek culture derived from Egypt and Phoenicia and that European scholars have been biased against the notion of Egyptian and Phoenician influence on Western civilization. The contributors to this volume argue that Bernal's claims are exaggerated and in many cases unjustified. Topics covered include race and physical anthropology; the question of an Egyptian invasion of Greece; the origins of Greek language, philosophy, and science; and racism and anti-Semitism in classical scholarship. In the conclusion to the volume, the editors propose an entirely new scholarly framework for understanding the relationship between the cultures of the ancient Near East and Greece and the origins of Western civilization. The contributors are: John Baines, professor of Egyptology, University of Oxford Kathryn A. Bard, assistant professor of archaeology, Boston University C. Loring Brace, professor of anthropology and curator of biological anthropology in the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan John E. Coleman, professor of classics, Cornell University Edith Hall, lecturer in classics, University of Reading, England Jay H. Jasanoff, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Linguistics, Cornell University Richard Jenkyns, fellow and tutor, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and university lecturer in classics, University of Oxford Mary R. Lefkowitz, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Wellesley College Mario Liverani, professor of ancient near eastern history, Universita di Roma, 'La Sapienza' Sarah P. Morris, professor of classics, University of California at Los Angeles Robert E. Norton, associate professor of German, Vassar College Alan Nussbaum, associate professor of classics, Cornell University David O'Connor, professor of Egyptology and curator in charge of the Egyptian section of the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania Robert Palter, Dana Professor Emeritus of the History of Science, Trinity College, Connecticut Guy MacLean Rogers, associate professor of Greek and Latin and history, Wellesley College Frank M. Snowden, Jr., professor of classics emeritus, Howard University Lawrence A. Tritle, associate professor of history, Loyola Marymount University Emily T. Vermeule, Samuel E. Zemurray, Jr., and Doris Zemurray Stone-Radcliffe Professor Emerita, Harvard University Frank J. Yurco, Egyptologist, Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago
Fergus Millar is one of the most influential contemporary historians of the ancient world. His essays and books, including The Emperor in the Roman World and The Roman Near East, have enriched our understanding of the Greco-Roman world in fundamental ways. In his writings Millar has made the inhabitants of the Roman Empire central to our conception of how the empire functioned. He also has shown how and why Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam evolved from within the wider cultural context of the Greco-Roman world.This is a three-volume collection of Fergus Millar's essays, which transformed the study of the Roman Empire by shifting the focus of inquiry onto the broader Mediterranean world and beyond. Volume I: Opening this collection of sixteen essays is a new contribution by Millar in which he defends the continuing significance of the study of Classics and argues for expanding the definition of what constitutes that field. In this volume he also questions the dominant scholarly interpretation of politics in the Roman Republic, arguing that the Roman people, not the Senate, were the sovereign power in Republican Rome. In so doing he sheds new light on the establishment of a new regime by the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.Volume II: This second volume of the three-volume collection of Millar's published essays draws together twenty of his classic pieces on the government, society, and culture of the Roman Empire (some of them published in inaccessible journals). Every article in Volume 2 addresses the themes of how the Roman Empire worked in practice and what it was like to live under Roman rule. As in the first volume of the collection, English translations of the extended Greek and Latin passages in the original articles make Millar's essays accessible to readers who do not read these languages.Volume III: The 18 essays presented here include Millar's classic contributions to our understanding of the impact of Rome on the peoples, cultures, and religions of the eastern Mediterranean, and the extent to which Graeco-Roman culture acted as a vehicle for the self-expression of the indigenous cultures. The volume also includes an epilogue by Millar written to conclude the collection.
Artemis of Ephesos was one of the most widely worshiped deities of the Graeco-Roman World. Her temple, the Artemision, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and for more than half a millennium people flocked to Ephesos to learn the great secret of the mysteries and sacrifices that were celebrated every year on her birthday. In this work Guy MacLean Rogers sets out the evidence for the celebration of Artemis's mysteries against the background of the remarkable urban development of the city during the Roman Empire and then proposes an entirely new theory about the great secret that was revealed to initiates into Artemis's mysteries. The revelation of that secret helps to explain not only the success of Artemis's cult and polytheism itself but, more surprisingly, the demise of both and the success of Christianity. Contrary to many anthropological and scientific theories, the history of polytheism, including the celebration of Artemis's mysteries, is best understood as a Darwinian tale of adaptation, competition, and change.
This book deals with the Western civilization's cultural antecedents--the civilizations of the ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome.
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