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Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean Hardcover – November 14, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0198150039 ISBN-10: 0198150032

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 14, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198150032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198150039
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

With this volume, Freeman (The Ancient Greeks, Oxford Univ., 1996) has written a useful introduction to three significant ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean littoral. While some may question the inclusion of Egyptian civilization in a volume largely surveying classical civilization, the author persuasively presents Egypt and the ancient Near East as strong influences, if not precursors, of classical civilization. Although most recent volumes of the ancient world have been anthologies (e.g., The Oxford History of the Classical World, Oxford Univ., 1986), with different specialists responsible for contributing chapters, Freeman elected to consult various specialists in ancient history when composing his work but assumes sole responsibility for the final presentation. Acknowledging that ancient studies are not free of controversies, the author unfortunately does not feel that a survey volume of this type is the right forum in which to air them. Still, this work is a useful introduction to the ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.?Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

`comprehensive, clearly structured and lucidly written ... should appeal to and be enjoyed by the intelligent general reader' Dr Dominic Rathbone, King's College, London

`Confronted with Charles Freeman's Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civiliations of the ancient Mediterranean, whose 600 carefully written pages encompasses three major civilizations ... it is impossible not to be impressed by the author's sheer staying-power ... this is a triumph of tenacity; a skilful exercise in the compression of the past ... Freeman's magisterially paced prose ensured that the past runs to a tight commuter timetable - secure, familiar, assured ... no one can deny Freeman's enthusiasm and his concern that a survey volume, whatever its faults, should - like any properly run prep school - "provide the springboard into further study of these fascinating societies".' Times Literary Supplement

`The book is not only enjoyable but comprehensive in its description of the richness and complexity of the classical past ... He writes attractively ... He discusses clearly philosophers and philosophies, historians,the theatre, art, education and social life, including the status of women and the role of slavery ... this book has, in addition, copious suggestions for further reading, a comprehensive list of dates, useful maps and excellent illustrations.' Arthur Foss, The Anglo-Hellenic Review, 1997

Customer Reviews

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The book succeeded beyond my expectations.
Amazon Customer
Overall, it counts as the best overall book on the history of the ancient world, and one of the most consistently interesting history books, I've ever read.
Magellan
Charles Freeman's book Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean is an outstanding book.
Alfred L. Shull, Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 20, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over the last few years I have gotten interested in the sources of the ideas of our current world. For instance, when reading about Jefferson, Adams and people that founded the US I find they are fluent in Latin and Greek and read the classics extensively.
I have read the Histories, the Pelloponesian Wars, much of Plutarch and survey books I could find and though I found the stories interesting I have been groping for some context. I felt like one of the blind men and the elephant, only apprehending the little piece I was in contact with and not having any idea what a whole elephant is like.
I came across this book by looking through ...(this very place) and it looked like it would give me an overall structure. The book succeeded beyond my expectations. Starting with Egypt and ending with the Byzantine Empire it covers the myriad civilizations around the Mediterranean during that period. It puts Solon and Dracon into their context. It explains how the Etruscians related to the Greek civilization, and then to Roman. It discusses the Phoenecians, the Latins, the Gauls, the Celts and all the various people that interacted with the Romans as their empire expanded and then the Germans, Huns and other that became important as their empire declined.
Much of what we know about the ancient world is relatively new because excavations are ongoing and techniques are improving. Besides that our thinking aout the ancient world is evolving as well. This book trys to understand the period it covers not just from the point of view of the wealthy, literate folks that wrote the classics, but from the point of view of craftsmen, farmers and slaves as well.
This is definately the book I had been looking for to get me started learning about the influence the past has had on the present. I may not know yet what the elephant of ancient history smells like because I have not been that close, but I have a pretty good idea what it looks like thanks to this book.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great book to get an integrated view of the ancient world. I looked at many different books before reading this one, having previously devoured a number of more specialized books about the ancient world over the years, but wanting something more in the way of an overall perspective and context. This book is great for that.
I was mainly interested in the sections covering pre-Classical Period Greece, from 1500 down to the Golden Age (about 500 BC), but the other areas of coverage are superb also. Freeman also has an especially nice touch and fluency with the Greek history, and I wasn't surprised to find a separate book on Greek history by him next to this one on the bookshelf. There were also several gaps in my historical knowledge that this book plugged. For example, his section on the Etruscans, which I only had very fragmentary and superficial knowledge of, was also excellent.
The book benefits from much recent scholarship, and the author points out in the introduction that one of the main differences between a modern book on ancient history and older ones is the degree to which ancient civilizations like Greece can be placed much more securely in the context of their times, showing them not as isolated cultural entities, but as arising from the interplay of much more cosmopolitan influences as they interacted with, and were influenced by, their contacts, peaceable or otherwise, with neighboring or competing cultures. This is another one of the great scholarly strengths of the book.
I also found the author's deft touch and writing style a big plus, and although by necessity this is not a short book, it rarely got tedious or boring. That is notable by itself in a work of this size and nature. Overall, it counts as the best overall book on the history of the ancient world, and one of the most consistently interesting history books, I've ever read.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Many histories of this period respond to the lack of known detail about what happened by spending all their time droning on about social history. I wanted an narrative introduction to Greek and Roman history and this is it. The addition of Egypt is a welcome bonus. If you don't know your Marathon from your Issus, your Pompey from Ptolomy then this is the book for you. It serves as the ideal jumping off point to examine the particular areas that really spark your interest.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Brianton on March 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are constantly confused by this period of history, this is the book for you. It puts into context, the whole shape of the era. It makes you realise that someone like Cleopatra is closer to our time than the beginnings of Egyptian history. I have read the whole book through and it is a superb narrative. This is no mean feat, for if you where to write a history of the United States from Columbus to the present, it would be close to a third of the time that he covers. You can start to see the relationship between the writers of the period and the politicians. You can begin to way each period is interlocked with the next. But more than that, you can look up any period and be given a succint description to help you through.
My only regret was that this book was not published years earlier. I cannot recommend a book more highly.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on September 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This history is very useful to see both ancient Egypt and the Classical tradition separately and in tandem, making a fine study of the bridge between civilizations. Like acorns under a great oak tree, Greece and Rome resolve their beginnings in the field spawned by Egypt. This is a very usefully done work with excellent references and makes a good tool for the branching out into more specialized areas, without losing a picture of the whole.
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