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Libya: Lost Cities of the Roman Empire [Hardcover]

Lidiano Bacchielli , Robert Polidori
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1999 3895088447 978-3895088445 0
Book by Bacchielli, Lidiano

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Konemann (February 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3895088447
  • ISBN-13: 978-3895088445
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 11 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Civilizations-Buried by Sand June 27, 2000
This book is magnificent.The first 180 pages are devoted to the western province of Tripolitania, where ruins of the Roman cities of Sabratha, Oea(present-day Tripoli),and Leptis Magna are located along the North African coastline in the Gulf of Sirte. The next 50-odd pages cover the eastern province of Cyrenaica toward Egypt where the Greco-Roman cities of Cyrene, Apollonia, and Ptolemais are found.
The photographs of these cities are without a doubt some of the finest in existence.Heretofore,I have only seen random scenes of these ancient cities, but nothing organized in a book like this.
Unless one has been to Lybia,as I have,it is difficult to imagine the splendor of these ruins.Greco-Roman ruins in Europe pale in comparison.A primary reason for their preservation is the dry climate,and their burial for 1000 years by the shifting sands of the Sahara from the 9th century A.D. Excavations began in the early 20th century.
The Italian authors are experts in archeological research of the Roman era,specifically in North Africa where they have conducted many missions. Their knowledge of the rise and fall of these wealthy,elegant,and powerful cities and their importance to Rome is well presented in the text throughout the book. The writers describe what life must have been like in these cities,and provide accurate maps and reconstructions of their original dimensions where still buried by sand.
For anyone interested in the period of history when these cities flourished-7th century B.C. to about the 4th century A.D.-this book is a must. If you don't like to read-just look at the pictures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Space, Time and Sand March 18, 2013
Ruins haunt us. They bespeak the end of things, the transience of endeavours and an emptiness where ghosts barely eke out an existence.

Libya was a backwater in the Empire. The empurplement of its most famous son, Lucius Septimius Severus, founder of the Severan dynasty and conqueror of the Parthians, was signal. The Punic-Roman emperor never forgot his origins; he commissioned an extensive building program at Leptis Magna, City of White Stones. It came to nothing. Once the veneer of civilization crumbled and the legions of the Second Rome - Byzantium - melted away, the metropolis was devoured by sand and lost to memory.

This lavishly produced coffee-table book surveys the various Roman cities of Libya which were exhumed from oblivion by Italian archaeologists in the first half of the Twentieth Century: Leptis Magna, Sabratha, Cyrene, Cyrenacia and Ptolemais. While the narrative covers off the history of the province, assuredly you are not purchasing this book for its text.

Bathed in gold as the shadows amass, many of the ruins are photographed in the sunlight of late afternoon. The most mesmeric image of all is the photo taken of the medallions of the Medusa from the Severan Basilica at Leptis Magna. In varying states of decay, the trio commiserate in the twilight on their doom. Due heed is paid to the stupendous Roman theatre at Sabratha which the Italians restored to its former glory. What an edifice! The stage consists of three storeys of columns, no less. At last, here is a setting that is worthy of the Women of Troy or Oedipus at Colonus. Even so, I prefer its counterpart at Leptis Magna where the audience in the upper tiers could behold the Mediterranean as events unfolded on stage.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating topic marred by poor photos March 5, 2003
The Roman ruins of Libya have been seen by very few Westerners in recent decades. They are in a remarkable state of preservation. The enormous basilica of Septimus Severus at Leptis Magna, while a ruin, looks like it could easily be put back together to it's former glory. The excellent state of preservation is due both to the desert climate and to the near complete absence of tourism. Eric Newby writing in "On the Shores of the Mediterranean" describes the difficulties he went through in arranging a visit under the Quadaffi government. This book was produced by Italian archaeologists who remarkably have been able to continue their field work during Libya's current international isolation. The book is marred by the poor reproduction of the photos. The pictures are almost all underexposed with muddy shadow areas, flat highlights and an overall lack of contrast. A pity but the book is still worthwhile for a look at sites that most people will never be able to see.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good-looking picture book on Roman ruins June 19, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book showing some of the extensive Roman ruins left in North Africa. Highly recommended for enthusiasts and browsers.
The book is pretty large, and the pictures are clear and give you a good sense of the urban spaces pictured.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just one question! April 14, 2004
By A Customer
Having spent some ten years in Libya,I found this to be an enjoyable, and very readable book on a most significant, though generally overlooked area of Greco-Roman antiquity. There is still a vast amount of excavation needed, and politics have not helped. There is one point on which I should take issue, however: The author refers to the city of 'Lepcis' in Tripolitania. Either she knows of an alternative spelling, or this is a serious typo. To my knowledge, she is referring to the city of Leptis Magna.
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