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Genava55

Bibliography and references about ancient times

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I open this thread to offer a starting point for those that want to deepen specific topics and to centralize the different useful sources found by the members of our community. Anybody can propose a reference to add to the list. I will update the list when I can. To ease the reading, I put the title first, then the author name and the year.

The goal here is NOT to reference EVERYTHING. There are too many books on the same topics. The best option should be to propose some key readings on specific topics, the best references available. Some books in foreign languages are welcomed. We should avoid to post direct links to Library Genesis here, but checking if the book is available there will be an appreciated effort. Proposing very rare and overpriced books is not useful, except if it is still possible to find it in an electronic format.

I start with Rome and I will continue later.
Rome

Spoiler

 

General

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. Beard (2015). London: Profile Books. Translated in French (SPQR : Histoire de l'ancienne Rome), in Spanish (SPQR: Una historia de la antigua Roma) and in German (SPQR: Die tausendjährige Geschichte Roms).

            Review: Praised book with a good critical approach of Roman history and easy to read. A good starting point.

The Cambridge companion to the Roman republic. Flower (2014). Cambridge University Press.

            Review: -

The Romans: from village to empire. Boatwright et al. (2004). Oxford University Press.

Review: Good textbook, initially made for undergraduates but is quite accessible. A good book to deepen the subject.

The Oxford History of the Roman World. Boardman et al. (2001). Oxford University Press. Re-edition of The Oxford History of the Classical World.

Review: -

Rome, grandeur et déclin de la République (Tome 1). Le Glay (1989). Tempus Perrin. French book.

Review: A very good work in two parts, summarizing nicely Roman history with a good focus on social and cultural changes to explain the background. Perfect for those having already basic knowledge of the general events.

Rome, grandeur et chute de l'Empire (Tome 2). Le Glay (1992). Tempus Perrin. French book.

Review: A very good work in two parts, summarizing nicely Roman history with a good focus on social and cultural changes to explain the background. Perfect for those having already basic knowledge of the general events.

Centered on military

The Roman Army: A History 753BC-AD476. Southern (2014). Amberley Publishing, Perrin.

Review: A very good coverage of the topic, a good start and easy to read. However, avoid the paperpack version, there are issues. Choose the electronic version.

The Encyclopedia of the Roman Army (two volumes). Le Bohec (2015). Wiley Blackwell.

Review: If you want a critical handbook about the Roman army, this is the one. Very useful and handy source when you have a doubt on something. 

The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third. Luttwak (1979, reedition in 2016). Johns Hopkins University Press.

Review: -

Roman military equipment from the Punic Wars to the fall of Rome. Bishop and Coulston (2006). Oxbow books.

Review: -

Early Roman Warfare: From the Regal Period to the First Punic War. Armstrong (2016). Pen and Sword Military.

Review: -

Centered on society, economy, culture and religion

The Roman Empire: Economy, Society and Culture. Garnsey et al. (1989, reedition in 2014). University of California Press. Translated in French (L'empire romain - économie, société, culture).

Review: -

Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. Adkins and Adkins (2004). Facts on File.

Review: -

Centered on the Punic Wars

A Companion to the Punic Wars. Hoyos (2011). John Wiley & Sons.

Review: -

The Punic Wars 264-146 BC. Bagnall (2003). Routledge.

Review: -

The First Punic war. Lazenby (2016). Routledge.

Review: -

Audiobook: Punic Nightmares. Carlin (2008). Hardcore History.

Review: -

Centered on early Rome

The Beginnings of Rome - Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars. Cornell (1995). Routledge.

Review: -

A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War. Forsythe (2006). University of California Press.

Review: -

Centered on the end of the Roman Republic

Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic. Holland (2004). Abacus.

Review: -

The Fall of the Roman Republic. Shotter (2005). Routledge.

Review: -

Rome in the Late Republic. Beard (2000). Bristol Classical Press.

Review: -

Centered on the end of the Western Roman Empire

How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower. Goldsworthy (2009). Yale University Press. Exists in audiobook.

Review: -

 

 

Others will follow up...

 

 

 

Edited by Genava55
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First of all, I think everyone ought to read Xenophon's Anabasis (“The March of the Ten Thousand”) in translation; it is an eye-witness account providing valuable information on Greek, Persian, and Thracian warfare c. 400 BC and reads like a well-written adventure novel; Caesar's De Bello Gallico (“On the Gallic War”) is stylistically indebted to it.

If one wants to read more classics, one could consider starting with Herodotus Histories, Thucydides Histories, Xenophon Hellenica (Xenophon's other works are worth reading too), and Polybius Histories, in that order.

13 hours ago, Genava55 said:

I start with Rome and I will continue later.

Mary Beard has written a number of books on Roman topics, combining up-to-date scholarship with accessible language; I see you already included two titles, but the others are worth a read as well, and they're affordable ($/£/€ 10-20 range); there is a list at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Beard_(classicist)#Books

Civilizations do not exist in isolation, they're all part of a continuum, therefore it's worth listing textbooks covering specific subjects extending far beyond our timeframe; (they typically provide lots of references as well). If you have access to a university library or can find a free download on the internet, I'd recommend:

  • Lionel Casson Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World (Princeton 1971)
  • Sarah Iles Johnston (ed.) Religions of the Ancient World (Cambridge, MA 2004)
  • Philip Sabin, Hans van Wees, Michael Whitby (eds.) The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare (Cambridge 2008)

Furthermore, if one is interested in Bronze Age diplomacy in the Near East, read the Amarna letters (14th C BC).

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For information on the Seleucids specifically, I can highly recommend:

Susan Sherwin-White, Amélie Kuhrt From Samarkand to Sardis : A new approach to the Seleucid empire (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1993)

Most publications on the Seleucids are biased by essentially Helleno- and Romano-centric sources and historiography, and often by 19th C colonianist and imperialist notions as well, thus fundamentally reinforcing traditional views.

SW&K stands out in that it makes extensive use of Babylonian cuneiform records and various Asian archaeological sites. It makes a strong and convincing case for grounding the Seleucids as a successful continuation of Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid traditions, as well as correcting various misconceptions.

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1 hour ago, Sundiata said:

Yeah, something like that. Swahili, but without the fancy domes. For the record though, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea already indicates a relationship between the Swahili Coast (named "Azania" in classical sources, and Southern Arabia, as early as the 1st century AD. Of course, it would have been very different from the later muslim Arabia and classical Swahili culture, but still worth a note.

Speaking of which, I recommend:

Lionel Casson The Periplus Maris Erythraei : text with introduction, translation, and commentary (Princeton 1989)

The Periplus is an unique text, written between AD 40 and 70 in a matter-of-fact style by an experienced Egyptian Greek merchant who evidently sailed himself to the East African coast, Arabia, and Western India. What I find particularly interesting are the points where his account, of the early Roman period, differs from the descriptions of the major geographers (Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Pliny), which reflect the situation in Ptolemaic times. Casson's book contains a wealth of information, is reliable, and worth a read.

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If you like philosophy, and in particular it's historical aspects, then I highly recommend:

Vernant, Jean-Pierre (1984). The Origins of Greek Thought. Cornell University Press.

Granted, Vernant's landmark book is outdated by today's standards, but it's still a joy to read. 

Edited by m7600
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Today @Angen pointed out:

Barry Cunliffe The Ancient Celts : Second Edition (Oxford 2018)

It is a valuable book, accessably written, incorporating recent scholarship, containing numerous quality images (useful for artists), and including a guide to further reading of two dozen pages.

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