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Aspects of Antiquity: Discoveries and Controversies Paperback – September 26, 1991

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 2nd edition (September 26, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140134409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140134407
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,035,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rodney J. Szasz on March 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Here in a series of essays are some of the more important questions surrounding ancient societies. From the study of the Ancient Minoans, Crete, Troy, the Cynics, and the decline of the Roman Empire, they are arranged rather chronologically and are a good example of how the western intellectual mind functions outside the American model, where it is assumed that scholars have to have an ideological axe to grind in order to get things published (a la Victor Davis Hansen).

Here is the sobering thought that there is not shred of credible evidence that Troy actually ever existed. That a whole world view of the Greeks has been set up on an edifice of Homer. The how and the why are not answered, but it is an interesting observation to assert such a thing and then to back it up with historical fact... even and analysis of the various ruins found in the area of Troy.

There is also the legacy of Diogenes and the Cynics... a proud legacy based upon inquiry and challenging established authority.

In one of the most cogent essays on the fall of Rome is a assertion that Rome, built for war, just could not maintain its edge on a sustained basis. Eventually barbarians were enrolled in her armed forces, the tax base was eroded and people, loathe to pay taxes for good govt., eventually found themselves with a policy that ensured neither security nor a bulkwark against dark ages thinking... a potent reflection on modern times.

If someone is looking for truth in every statement about things we really know little about, then there is always Victor Davis Hansen. If one wants to know how to think roundly about complex issues, where vital, defining information is lacking, then this slender volume has a lot of food for thought. I have read some of essays three times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on May 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
"There is an eminent authority for the view that questions about the past can be answered, at least approximately, through the imagination, provided it is disciplined by an underpinning of sound scholarship." M. I. Finley, Introduction


Antiquity is a broad term for an extended period of cultural history of the Mediterranean , which begins with various periods of ancient history, of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and other early civilizations of the ancient world. It continues through the rise of Christianity and ends with the fall of Rome, in 453. CE, after which it is called Late Antiquity, followed by Middle ages.

The term classical antiquity (the usual adjective is not "antique" but "ancient") is applied generally to the period in which ancient Greece and Rome achieved what are considered their greatest literary works, beginning with Homer.

Ancient economic life:

"..., the application of economic theory to the ancient economy was at best a futile exercise and at worst a source of grave misunderstandings. By 'ancient economy' Finley had in mind only the economy of classical civilization, i.e. of the Graeco-Roman area beginning roughly in the earlier first millennium BC." However, cautions Morris Silver, Professor Emeritus of Economics, City College UNY, in his review of 'The Ancient Economy,' that " Finley's perspective found completion and generalization in the works of the economic historian Karl Polanyi (1981). Polanyi argued forcefully that the ancient Near East did not know markets and, like Finley, was implacably opposed to the application of economic theory to ancient economic life.
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By Jurgen Buschek on June 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was fascinayed by this book from page 1. It contains a well composed selection of subjects that should be of interest to every student of Antiquity. Even though not necessarily on the cutting edge of latest research, I found it deep enough to make it worth reading, in particular for amateur enthusiasts like me for whom the overview is more important than the precise scientific detail.

Highly recommended reading.

Jurgen Buschek
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