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Books on Ancient History?

  1. Jan 7, 2010 #1
    Hi guys

    I own several history books, but none covering history before the 2nd century AD. Well, that's not true, I have Low's abridgement of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but nobody reads that to learn history, they only read it for Gibbon's writting. Any recommendations? Specifically of European history, but quite broad (meaning if it covers world history it's fine) and comprehensive, but not encyclopaedic (do I sound picky?). There's the Cambridge Ancient History, but that spans over ten volumes! Any suggestions are much appreciated, thanks.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2010 #2


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    Depends a bit on what you are after.

    Scullard's history of the Roman Republic from the origins up to the establishment of the Principate is a standard work, still used extensively in history curriculae at English-speaking countries.
  4. Feb 6, 2010 #3
    The "History of the Roman People" by Ward, Heichelheim, and Yeo is an excellent survey of Roman history, if you're into that. I'm actually using it for a class on the Roman Empire, and it's one of the most enjoyable reads I've ever had from a textbook.

    I would also recommend looking into primary sources, which can be really fun (though you sometimes must take them with a grain of salt!). Suetonius is amazing, as are Plutarch, Cassius Dio, etc.
  5. Jul 8, 2010 #4


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    It's very difficult to find good sources of ancient history, especially those which are reliable in the sense that they are supported by archeological and historical evidence. There are translations of old historic texts, but one has to understand the context and bias of the author, as well as the influence of the translator.

    Cambridge Ancient History is one of the best resources.

    I'm particularly interested in Neothilic period through the Middle Ages.
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