Ancient Worlds: The Search for the Origins of Western

Ancient Worlds: The Search for the Origins of Western A frantic gallop through early history, painted on a vast canvas bringing together complex historic themes and threads and presenting these in a way that I found enjoyable and utterly compelling I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in ancient history. Absolutely fascinating In as little as 350 pages Richard Miles succeeds in bringing ancient civilizations to life From the banks of the Tiber in Rome to the Akropolis in Athene to the hanging gardens of Babylon the history and civic structure of ancient cultures are briefly but thoroughly explained Amazing job of Miles and I look forward to read his, also fabulous I guess, account of Rome s worst enemy Carthage 5 I viewed Miles series on which this is based when it aired several years ago, and reading the book, I get the same impression, as one might expect The story beats are the same bevel rimmed bowls, Assyrian love of war, Athenian democratic imposed empire, etc If you ve seen the series, this is simply a slightly extended version of that It s a whirlwind tour of Mediterranean and Near Eastern big players in ancient times Such a wide scope obviously means it glosses over a lot, and Miles prett I viewed Miles series on which this is based when it aired several years ago, and reading the book, I get the same impression, as one might expect The story beats are the same bevel rimmed bowls, Assyrian love of war, Athenian democratic imposed empire, etc If you ve seen the series, this is simply a slightly extended version of that It s a whirlwind tour of Mediterranean and Near Eastern big players in ancient times Such a wide scope obviously means it glosses over a lot, and Miles pretty much just hits up a few key talking points But that is the purpose of the book it isn t for professionals or anyone looking for in depth information The book is designed for the general public, as evidenced by the smooth, accessible writing style, and its whistle stop tour is intended simply to hook the reader into hopefully sparking a passion I would recommend this to new hobbyists or school students about to embark on further study.7 out of 10 Quite a canvas for 340 pages so unsurprisingly a bit uneven.The coverage of early Mesopotamian civilisations is quite descriptive and a little patchy Nevertheless, it sets out the question of why civilisations began to spontaneously form and what their common properties might be.The Bronze age civilisations are coveredfully and compellingly, with interesting discussions on Egypt and the collapses caused by the Sea People and rigidity of theocracies.However, the discussion of Egypt mirro Quite a canvas for 340 pages so unsurprisingly a bit uneven.The coverage of early Mesopotamian civilisations is quite descriptive and a little patchy Nevertheless, it sets out the question of why civilisations began to spontaneously form and what their common properties might be.The Bronze age civilisations are coveredfully and compellingly, with interesting discussions on Egypt and the collapses caused by the Sea People and rigidity of theocracies.However, the discussion of Egypt mirrors the approach taken with Greece and especially with Rome This is definitely not a chronological perspective, so the focus is strongly on the power structures of the Athenian democracy and Alexander s imperial striding in the east.The last third of the book implicitly ties together these ideas of civilisation by considering the relative stabilities of Roman power in the various phases of its dominance.Overall this is a very interesting book and thought provoking book, at least for a reader with a curiosity and some passing knowledge of the classical civilisations It is certainly neither a bluffers introduction nor a text in academic depth.I have not yet been able to see the documentary series it accompanied, but it seems to bethe book of the film than the story of ideas which was subsequently filmed An unbelievably good high level overview of history from the beginnings of civilisation to the end of the Roman empire with insights into political developments and the paradox of civilisation which are still applicable today. Great global overview of the Ancient civilizations Though unavoidably he has to skip a lot of details and nuances, the book is very informative yet reads very pleasantly Great as a starting point to learn about the ancients 3.5 Across the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Nile Delta, awe inspiring, monstrous ruins are scattered across the landscape Here, Richard Miles recreates these extraordinary cities, ranging from the Euphrates to the Roman Empire, to understand the roots of human civilization An enjoyable and very readable introduction to the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.I have read individual books in the past about all these civilisations, and came to this wantinginformation about Mesopotamia.This book presents a persuasive argument about how civilisations have built on previous attempts and how this process works So as well as coming away with a greater knowledge of Mesopotamia, I also now far better understand why each of these civilisations An enjoyable and very readable introduction to the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.I have read individual books in the past about all these civilisations, and came to this wantinginformation about Mesopotamia.This book presents a persuasive argument about how civilisations have built on previous attempts and how this process works So as well as coming away with a greater knowledge of Mesopotamia, I also now far better understand why each of these civilisations came into existence and why they failed.By necessity in a book of this nature, much has to be omitted, but you are free to go and read about what interests you in greater detail What it does is try to give you an overarching framework into which to fit the various ancient worlds and it does a very good job at this page 53 In the twelfth century bc, the Bronze Age cities of the Near East, the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean suffered a series of disasters on an almost unimaginable scale In Anatolia the mighty Hittite Empire and in Greece, the Mycenaean kingdoms were toppled Many of the cities of Syria and the Levant were reduced to rubble Smaller settlements inremote locations simply disappeared The causes of the great Bronze Age collapse and the story of the new worlds that grew up in its w page 53 In the twelfth century bc, the Bronze Age cities of the Near East, the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean suffered a series of disasters on an almost unimaginable scale In Anatolia the mighty Hittite Empire and in Greece, the Mycenaean kingdoms were toppled Many of the cities of Syria and the Levant were reduced to rubble Smaller settlements inremote locations simply disappeared The causes of the great Bronze Age collapse and the story of the new worlds that grew up in its wake will be the subject of this chapter It is a sobering reminder of the fragility of civilisation, but also of its tenacity For in the new age of iron that followed this ancient Dark Age, civilisation would re emerge, tempered in the flames of conflict, tougher andresilient than ever before Terrific, easy, fascinating read Recommend

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