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Caesar and Christ (The Story of Civilization III) Hardcover – December 25, 1980


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 21st printing edition (December 25, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671115006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671115005
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 88 people found the following review helpful By J_Onyx TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Caesar and Christ" is the third thick volume of an amazing 45-year life work by Will Durant. I strongly advise you do not heed the academic reviews of "The Story of Civilization." There is no reason to assume the critics even read one volume of Durant's work. Be aware that academic philosophy professors list Hanna Arendt, a second rate intellectual, as the only significant female philosopher and ignore one of the most powerful minds of the post WWII era, Ayn Rand. Sure, she is flawed but she is greater than a Camus or a Chomsky. I strongly recommend reading "Caesar and Christ" and the entire 10 volume set of "Story of Civilization" - if you truly seek to be generally educated. You will learn more from Durant than from years of liberal arts schooling in any university. I never heard a professor mention Durant to students but I saw the entire set on the shelves of the private libraries of some major historians. Would you buy, own, read and keep 10 volumes of books you knew to be worthless? Ignore the academic mantra and decide for yourself.

Let me introduce you to this remarkable man. Durant was a gifted Columbia philosophy student who earned a PhD in philosophy. He was a major teacher-staff member of a now forgotten, fascinating private school movement, The Modern School movement. He served primarily as a head foreign language teacher. A real scholar, Durant mastered six important languages. Durant wrote and published "The Story of Philosophy" in the 1920s. To his surprise, it was an instant best seller. Durant's prose style, bright mind, and sharp wit made the book a little classic that has never been out of print.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Entranced by the title, I picked this book up. While I read very little about Christ until the last chapters, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information I learned about ancient Rome. The emperors, women, philosphers, geography and the history therein, was a delight to read. It surely gives one a wonderful overview of what life was like before, during and after Christ.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on December 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It this third volume, Durant continues the story of man through the time of the height of Rome and Christ. Like the other volumes it is quite well done and despite what another reviewer's opinion is, quite comprehensive. Granted, I you want to read more about battles, etc. they you should probably look elswhere. I am of the school that a time period can only be understood by what they left behind, i.e. art, literature, politics, etc. rather than who they defeated in battle, or who defeated them. This is only my opinion though, others look at it differently. Also, I suppose if you are teaching a college course addressing this period of time, you would certainly want to gleen information from other sources. That not being the case on my part, I thought this was a wonderful overview of a very important epoch. I thought it was quite well presented. Recommend highly.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "alliatus" on November 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It is an excellent history reference, although people may not read it from page one to the end like reading a fiction. College students may use it for academic reference and research papers.
However, if you are into Roman historical novels such as Colleen McCullough "First Man in Rome", "Grass Crown"..., Gore Vidal "Julian", Robert Graves "I, Claudius"..., Henryk K. Sienkiewicz "Quo Vadis"; Roman era fantasies such as Pauline Gedge "The Eagle and the Raven", Donna Gillespie "The Light Bearer", it definitely adds complimentary flavor to your reading by being aware of the political and social environment of Roman Empire. The chapters are not essentially in chronological layout, but, for example, a chapter devoted to Roman arts and letters, another for daily lives of the social classes. Whilst you are reading your novel in the middle and want to find out more about a particular topic, simply refer to the Index and the relevant chapters.
You would enjoy the novels, and possibly Shakespeare's "Anthony and Cleopatra", and the movies "Ben-Hur", "Spartacus", "The Fall of Roman Empire", "Gladiator" even more. And "Cleopatra" and "Quo Vadis" were made movies too.
The part of Early Christianity in the latter chapters, would help you in reading the Gospels, the Acts, and letters from Paul and the disciples. In the same manner, it helps you to appreciate more in reading Christian historical fictions such as Sholem Asch "The Nazarene" "The Apostle", Thomas Costain "The Silver Chalice".
An additional recommendation is Vol 4. "Age of Faith", sole focus of which is the discussion of the religions Judaism, Christianity, Islam in the Middle Ages.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Will Sperry on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It's too bad so few people have taken the trouble to read or even review Durant. "The Story of Philosophy" was a best-seller in 1929. Tom Clancy & Patricia Cornwell (sic) get listings as long as the day is long, but Durant just gets in left in the corner ignored. It's a shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Will and Ariel Durant's "The Story of Civilization" was a massive undertaking. Each volume covers a period essential to understanding the history of Europe. However, none is more important than "Caesar and Christ," since this volume describes in detail the Roman Empire through the time of Emperor Constantine as well as the first three centuries of the Christian faith. Since both the Roman Empire and its legal system and Christianity are crucial to understanding subsequent European civilization, this volume is certainly of great importance.

"Caesar and Christ" is both detailed and readable. Although the history of the Roman Empire is covered from its origins, through the time of Julius Caesar and the subsequent emperors (all of which receive fairly detailed description), it is far more than a study of the political structure and intrigue of the empire. It also contains an account of the various peoples who, either through being native to the empire or through migration to the empire, contributed to making the Roman Empire what it was. Moreover, it describes as well the art, the literature, and the philosophies of the empire in great and interesting detail.

The book also admirably describes the development of Christianity from its origins in an obscure region in the eastern reaches of the empire to a faith that became a dominant force within that empire, despite the intermittent attempts of the rulers of the empire to stamp it out or at least to make it conform to the dictates of the state. Of course, this story is one that is told in many books on church history, but none does a better job than does "Caesar and Christ."
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