The Trojan War. A very short introduction. Eric H. Cline (OUP) £7.99
Homer’s tale of the abduction of Helen to Troy and the ten-year war to bring her back to Greece has fascinated mankind for centuries since he related it in The Iliad and The Odyssey. More recently, it has given rise to countless scholarly articles and books, extensive archaeological excavations, epic movies, television documentaries, stage plays, art and sculpture, even souvenirs and collectibles. However, while the ancients themselves thought that the Trojan War took place and was a pivotal event in world history, scholars during the Middle Ages and into the modern era derided it as a piece of fiction. This book investigates two major questions: did the Trojan War take place and, if so, where? It ultimately demonstrates that a war or wars in the vicinity of Troy probably did take place in some way, shape, or form during the Late Bronze Age, thereby forming the nucleus of the story that was handed down orally for centuries until put into essentially final form by Homer. However, Cline suggests that although a Trojan War (or wars) probably did take place, it was not fought because of Helen’s abduction; there were far more compelling economic and political motives for conflict more than 3,000 years ago. Aside from Homer, the book examines various classical literary sources: the Epic Cycle, a saga found at the Hittite capital of Hattusas, treatments of the story by the playwrights of classical Greece, and alternative versions or continuations of the saga such as Virgil’s Aeneid, which add detail but frequently contradict the original story. Cline also surveys archaeological attempts to document the Trojan War through excavations at Hissarlik, Turkey, especially the work of Heinrich Schliemann and his successors Wilhelm Dorpfeld, Carl Blegen, and Manfred Korfmann.
The Classics and Colonial India by Phiroze Vasunia (OUP) £85
This extraordinary book provides a detailed account of the relationship between classical antiquity and the British colonial presence in India. It examines some of the great figures of the colonial period such as Gandhi, Nehru, Macaulay, Jowett, and William Jones, and covers a range of different disciplines as it sweeps from the eighteenth century to the end of the British Raj in the twentieth. Using a variety of materials, including archival documents and familiar texts, Vasunia shows how classical culture pervaded the thoughts and minds of the British colonizers. His book highlights the many Indian receptions of Greco-Roman antiquity and analyses how Indians turned to ancient Greece and Rome during the colonial period for a variety of purposes, including anti-colonialism, nationalism, and collaboration. Offering a unique cross-cultural study, this volume will be of interest to literary scholars and historians of the classical world, the British Empire, and South Asia.
Hellenistic Oratory. Continuity & Change (OUP) £90
Edited by Christos Kremmydas & Kathryn Tempest
Hellenistic oratory remains an elusive subject as not one Greek speech has survived from the end of the fourth century BC until the beginning of the first century AD. This collection of fourteen interdisciplinary essays offers a wide-ranging study of the different ways in which Hellenistic oratory can be approached. Written by a team of leading scholars in the field, it examines the different kinds of evidence which shed light on the dynamic character of oratory during the Hellenistic period. All essays stress the pervasive influence of Hellenistic oratory and survey its different manifestations in diverse literary genres and socio-political contexts, especially the dialogue between the Greek oratorical tradition and the developing oratorical practices at Rome. The volume opens with a detailed introduction, which sets the study of Hellenistic oratory within the context of current trends in Hellenistic history and rhetoric, and closes with an afterword which underlines the vibrancy and sophistication of oratory during this period. It will appeal to all students and scholars of Hellenistic history, society, and the history of rhetoric.
Animals in Roman Life and Art by J. M. C. Toynbee
Now in stock £18.99
Romans clearly loved their pets and gave them human names. The wealthiest kept gazelles and ibex on their estates as living lawn ornaments. At the same time, they imported exotic animals from Africa and then slaughtered them in both gladiatorial combat and cold-blooded spectacle. Animals in Roman Life and Art explores animals in Roman iconography, Roman knowledge – both factual and fanciful – about various fauna, and Roman use of animals for food, clothing, transport, war, entertainment, religious ceremony, and companionship. Arranged by species, J.M.C Toynbee’s magisterial survey ranges from the exotic (the rhinoceros and hippopotamus) to the commonplace (dogs and cats). Toynbee concludes her study with a discussion of Roman beliefs about animalsin the afterlife, where, according to Virgil, “the herds will not fear the mighty lion” and “the timid deer will …drink beside the hounds”.
The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon by Stephanie Dalley
£7 off (£18 RRP £25)
The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon is an exciting story of detection involving legends, expert decipherment of ancient texts, and a vivid description of a little-known civilization. Recognised in ancient times as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the legendary Hanging Garden of Babylon and its location still remains a mystery steeped in shadow and puzzling myths. In this remarkable volume Stephanie Dalley, a world expert on ancient Babylonian language, gathers for the first time all the material on this enigmatic World Wonder. Tracing the history of the Garden, Dalley describes how the decipherment of an original text and its link to sculpture in the British Museum has enabled her to pin down where the Garden was positioned and to describe in detail what it may have looked like. Through this dramatic and fascinating reconstruction of the Garden, Dalley is also able to follow its influence on later garden design. Like a palimpsest, Dalley unscrambles the many legends that have built up around the Garden, including the parts played by Semiramis and Nebuchadnezzar, and following the evolution of its design, she shows why this Garden deserves its place alongside the Pyramids and the Colossus of Rhodes as one of the most astonishing technical achievements of the ancient world.
Offer of the Week – Through the Eye of a Needle £20.99 (£7 off RRP)
Each Thursday we will be offering a book at a special discounted price for one week only.
To start this offer we have selected Peter Brown’s wonderful book ‘Through the eye of a Needle’
This book is on offer in store and can also be ordered via email email@example.com
Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. “Through the Eye of a Needle” is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world’s foremost scholar of late antiquity. Peter Brown examines the rise of the church through the lens of money and the challenges it posed to an institution that espoused the virtue of poverty and called avarice the root of all evil. Drawing on the writings of major Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, Brown examines the controversies and changing attitudes toward money caused by the influx of new wealth into church coffers, and describes the spectacular acts of divestment by rich donors and their growing influence in an empire beset with crisis. He shows how the use of wealth for the care of the poor competed with older forms of philanthropy deeply rooted in the Roman world, and sheds light on the ordinary people who gave away their money in hopes of treasure in heaven. “Through the Eye of a Needle” challenges the widely held notion that Christianity’s growing wealth sapped Rome of its ability to resist the barbarian invasions, and offers a fresh perspective on the social history of the church in late antiquity.
Lucretius: Poetry, Philosophy, Science (OUP) £70
Lucretius’ didactic masterpiece De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) is one of the most brilliant and powerful poems in the Latin language, a passionate attempt at dispelling humanity’s fear of death and its enslavement by false beliefs about the gods, and a detailed exposition of Epicurean atomist physics. For centuries, it has raised the question of whether it is primarily a poem or primarily a philosophical treatise, which also presents scientific doctrine. The current volume seeks to unite the three disciplinary aspects – poetry, philosophy, and science – in order to offer a holistic response to an important monument in cultural history. With ten original essays and an analytical introduction, the volume aims not only to combine different approaches within single covers, but to offer responses to the poem by experts from all three scholarly backgrounds. Philosophers and scholars of ancient science look closely at the artistic placement of individual words, while literary critics explore ethical matters and the contribution of Lucretius’ poetry to the argument of the poem. Topics covered include death and grief, evolution and the cosmos, ethics and politics, perception, and epistemology.