The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World (PUP) £19.95 (20% off in store)
Amazons—fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world—were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Roman general Pompey tangled with Amazons.
But just who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback who gloried in fighting, hunting, and sexual freedom? Were Amazons real? In this deeply researched, wide-ranging, and lavishly illustrated book, National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor presents the Amazons as they have never been seen before. This is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China.
Mayor tells how amazing new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons prove that women warriors were not merely figments of the Greek imagination. Combining classical myth and art, nomad traditions, and scientific archaeology, she reveals intimate, surprising details and original insights about the lives and legends of the women known as Amazons. Provocatively arguing that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons, Mayor reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories. The Greeks were not the only people enchanted by Amazons—Mayor shows that warlike women of nomadic cultures inspired exciting tales in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Central Asia, and China.
Driven by a detective’s curiosity, Mayor unearths long-buried evidence and sifts fact from fiction to show how flesh-and-blood women of the Eurasian steppes were mythologized as Amazons, the equals of men. The result is likely to become a classic.
Adrienne Mayor is the author of The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy (Princeton), a finalist for the National Book Award and named one of the best books of 2009 by the Washington Post. Her other books include Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World (Overlook) and The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (Princeton). She is a research scholar in classics and history of science at Stanford University.
“Mayor (The Poison King) looks at ancient writings and archeological evidence to argue that yes, ‘Amazons’ were based on real nomadic women, though much different from the way ancient Greeks or contemporary audiences imagine them. . . . Mayor speculates on the origin of such misconceptions in ancient writings and art, smartly suggesting that, though Amazons are usually depicted heroically in Greek art and mythology, the male-centric Greeks perhaps struggled to understand a society based on equality between the sexes. . . . Her expertise shines throughout.”–Publishers Weekly
“An encyclopedic study of the barbarian warrior women of Western Asia, revealing how new archaeological discoveries uphold the long-held myths and legends. The famed female archers on horseback from the lands the ancient Greeks called Scythia appeared throughout Greek and Roman legend. Mayor tailors her scholarly work to lay readers, providing a fascinating exploration into the factual identity underpinning the fanciful legends surrounding these wondrous Amazons. . . . Mayor clears away much of the man-hating myths around these redoubtable warriors. Thanks to Mayor’s scholarship, these fearsome fighters are attaining their historical respectability.”–Kirkus Reviews
“A must-read for anyone interested in either Amazonian myth or history.”–Fred Poling, Library Journal
The Classics Magpie by Jane Hood (Icon books) £12.99
Who first thought of atoms? How much can you learn about archaeology from an oil lamp? Who came up with the theory of the ‘wandering womb’? Oxford Classicist Jane Hood delves into the history, culture, literature, mythology and philosophy of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, using her expert eye to unearth unexpected gems, glittering fragments and quotable nuggets from a lost world. From ancient cosmetics to the earliest known computer, from the deciphering of ancient languages to the amazing things the Romans did with concrete, this is the essential miscellany for all curious minds, whether you learned the Classics at school or not.
A Short History of Ancient Greece by P. J. Rhodes (I. B. Tauris) £12.99
Classical Greece and its legacy have long inspired a powerful and passionate fascination. The civilization that bequeathed to later ages drama and democracy, Homer and heroism, myth and Mycenae and the Delphic Oracle and the Olympic Games has, perhaps more than any other, helped shape the intellectual contours of the modern world. P J Rhodes is among the most distinguished historians of antiquity. In this elegant, zesty new survey he explores the archaic (8th – early 5th centuries BCE), classical (5th and 4th centuries BCE) and Hellenistic (late 4th – mid-2nd centuries BCE) periods up to the beginning of Roman hegemony. His scope is that of the people who originated on the Greek mainland and Aegean islands who later migrated to the shores of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and then (following the conquests of Alexander) to the Near East and beyond. Exploring topics such as the epic struggle with Persia; the bitter rivalry of Athens and Sparta; slaves and ethnicity; religion and philosophy; and literature and the visual arts, this authoritative book will attract students and non-specialists in equal measure.
Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism (OUP) £47.99
Jonathan Klawans’s Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism cuts against the grain of rabbinic studies to establish the value of Flavius Josephus’s descriptions of the religious ideas of various Jewish sects for reconstructing the world of ideas (the theologies) at play in early Judaism. It is intended as a response to the prevalent approach to the study of early Judaism, which focuses on legal or halakhic issues rather than matters of religious belief. Klawans illuminates Josephus’s description of early Jewish sects (the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes) against distinct bodies of literature including Rabbinic sources, Qumran scrolls, and wisdom literature, especially Ben Sira. He is also concerned to show how various beliefs operate in connection with historical events, from the Hasmonean rebellion to after the destruction of the Temple. He demonstrates, for example, that beliefs about resurrection may have been less a reaction to social or historical circumstances than scholars have claimed and that the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE may not have created such a severe theological crises as previously thought. He provides alternative explanations for beliefs about the afterlife and shows that the reaction to the Temple’s loss may have been more easily dealt with in terms of preexisting theological ideas and analogies. In each case, Klawans brings to the forefront Josephus’s own views about these matters and shows how they are important for a more balanced assessment of the history of early Judaism.
Aristotle on Perceiving Objects (OUP) Anna Marmodoro £47.99
How can we explain the structure of perceptual experience? What is it that we perceive? How is it that we perceive objects and not disjoint arrays of properties? By which sense or senses do we perceive objects? Are our five senses sufficient for the perception of objects? Aristotle investigated these questions by means of the metaphysical modeling of the unity of the perceptual faculty and the unity of experiential content. His account remains fruitful-but also challenging-even for contemporary philosophy. This book offers a reconstruction of the six metaphysical models Aristotle offered to address these and related questions, focusing on their metaphysical underpinning in his theory of causal powers. By doing so, the book brings out what is especially valuable and even surprising about the topic: the core principles of Aristotle’s metaphysics of perception are fundamentally different from those of his metaphysics of substance. Yet, for precisely this reason, his models of perceptual content are unexplored territory. This book breaks new ground in offering an understanding of Aristotle’s metaphysics of the content of perceptual experience and of the composition of the perceptual faculty.
Tom Holland’s wonderful translation is now available in a stunning paperback edition.
3 for 2 in store or 30% off online!
Tom Holland’s ‘stirring new translation’ (Telegraph) of Herodotus’ Histories, one of the great books in Western history – now in paperback. The Histories of Herodotus, completed in the second half of the 5th century BC, is generally regarded as the first work of history and the first great masterpiece of non-fiction writing. Joined here are the sheer drama of Herodotus’ narrative of the Persian invasions of Greece, and the endless curiosity – turning now to cannabis, now to the Pyramids – which make his book the source of so much of our knowledge of the ancient world. This absorbing new translation, by one of Britain’s most admired young historians, allows all the drama and mysteriousness of this great book to be fully appreciated by modern readers. Tom Holland is the author of Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic, which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Persian Fire, his history of the Graeco-Persian wars, won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award in 2006. His most recent book, In the Shadow of the Sword, describes the collapse of Roman and Persian power in the Near East, and the emergence of Islam. He has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for the BBC, and is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Making History. In 2007, he was the winner of the Classical Association Prize awarded to ‘the individual who has done most to promote the study of the language, literature and civilisation of Ancient Greece and Rome’. He served two years as the Chair of the Society of Authors 2009-11. Paul Cartledge is the inaugural A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge. His numerous books include Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History 1300-362 BC; The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others; Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World; Ancient Greece. A Very Short Introduction; and After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars. He is an Honorary Citizen of Sparta, Greece and holds the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour conferred by the President of the Hellenic Republic. “Unquestionably the best English translation of Herodotus to have appeared in the last half-century, and there have been quite a few …fast, funny, opinionated, clear and erudite…I am in awe of Tom Holland’s achievement”. (Edith Hall, TLS). “A labour of love …full of rattling good yarns …the minister for education should present each of his cabinet colleagues with a copy of Holland’s admirable translation”. (Economist). “Tom Holland has been captivated by Herodotus since he was a child. His pleasure shines through his relaxed, idiomatic, expansive and often dramatic translation…He, like Herodotus, is a storyteller par excellence”. (Peter Jones, New Statesman).
Antigonus The One-Eyed by Jeff Champion £19.99
Plutarch described Antigonus the One Eyed (382-301 BC) ‘as ‘the oldest and greatest of Alexander’s successors,’ Antigonus loyally served both Philip II and Alexander the Great as they converted his native Macedonia into an empire stretching from India to Greece. After Alexander’s death, Antigonus, then governor of the obscure province of Phrygia, seemed one of the least likely of his commanders to seize the dead king’s inheritance. Yet within eight years of the king’s passing, through a combination of military skill and political shrewdness, he had conquered the Asian portion of the empire. His success caused those who controlled the European and Egyptian parts of the empire to unite against him. For another fourteen years he would wage war against a coalition of the other Successors, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Cassander. In 301 he would meet defeat and death in the Battle of Ipsus. The ancient writers saw Antigonus’ life as a cautionary tale about the dangers of hubris and vaulting ambition. Despite his apparent defeat, his descendants would continue to rule as kings and create a dynasty that would rule Macedonia for over a century. Jeff Champion narrates the career of this titanic figure with the focus squarely on the military aspects.