The Ancient World: A Social and Cultural History (7th Edition) 7th Edition

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0205637447
ISBN-10: 0205637442
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From the Publisher

In Ancient World: A Social and Cultural History, Third Edition, Nagle examines the distinctive forms society took in the ancient world, focusing on the unusual relationship that characterized the social order of antiquity--society and the state. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 7 edition (March 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205637442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205637447
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brigette Russell on March 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have used this textbook, along with the companion volume of primary source readings, in teaching a freshman level university course on the ancient world, and found both books to be excellent. _The Ancient World_ is written in a style that is accessible to college students while still preserving the complexities that by necessity characterize historical writing. In addition to covering traditional political and military history, Nagle's text includes substantive discussions of social, cultural, and intellectual history.
Having read the previous reviewer's comments, I must disagree about the relative weight given to the different civilizations covered. Every textbook on the ancient world allocates more space to the Greco-Roman world than to the Ancient Near East, and for valid reasons. First, there is a far larger amount of primary source material, both literary and archaeological, on Greece and Rome, with the result very simply we know more about these cultures than about the Ancient Near East. Secondly, part of the function of an introductory history such as this is to familiarize students with the civilizations that have had an impact on our own culture, and for better or worse, more of our Western, and American, history is rooted in the Greco-Roman world than in the Near East. Including China and India in this text would make it another sort of book altogether, a *world* history rather than what it is, a history of the ancient Mediterranean world. As such, it succeeds admirably.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By events3 on November 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Nagle provides us with an interesting and highly readable work on those "ancient" cultures from which "western" and Anglo-American civilization originated.
Part One, dealing with Mesopotamia, Egypt, early Asia Minor (largely dealing with the Hittites) and the sprawling Persian Empire, sets the stage for the rise of the Greco-Roman world.
Part Two deals with the early origins of the Greeks, including the Minoans and Myceneans, the conquests of Alexander and the rise of the Hellenistic period. Unfortunately, the section on classical Athens, by far the most important period in Greek history as far as it relates to the development of Western thought and philosophy is a fairly small section - although still quite enlightening and descriptive.
Part Three takes us from the Etruscan period (with its important influence on Rome) through the Republican period, the Punic Wars and the fall of Carthage, the Empire, the rise of Byzantium and the "fall" of Rome.
The Ancient civilizations of China, India, Kush and Axum had far less direct impact on the development of Western civilization than did Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia or Greece and Rome; therefore, they were not included in this work. Similarly, Ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations were much further back in time (3000 years passed between the time of the rise of Sumerian cities or the unification of Egypt and the reign of the first Roman Emperor while only 2000 years have pass since the reign of Augustus). Since Greece and Rome not only transferred ancient knowledge and culture but also added so much more to it, the book rightly focuses most on those two cultures.
The whole is a lively and worthwhile introduction to the classical origins of modern Western culture.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chester Bean on July 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are taking Greek and Roman history, or any ancient history class for that matter, and your syllabus requires this book,don't get the newest edition(7th at the time of this review)unless you want to pay extra dollars
for very limited changes.I used the 5th edition, which cost me less than 10 dollars, compared it to a classmate who had paid over 100$ for a new edition in the school bookstore, and there were no changes that i could notice, except there were different photos, and the topics were on different pages, but the information was the same.Also i was able to obtain an A in the course.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Katherine P. Gebler on June 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
I also have used this book, along with the primary source companion, in the classroom. I found these texts to work very well in an introductory setting. While this book is organized into a rough chronological order, it offers students much more than a bland re-iteration of major historical persons and events. This text provides a comprehensive look at how social, cultural, military and political institutions worked together to build and drive ancient societies. Somewhat counter-intuitively, by focusing on societal institutions rather than the "Great Men of History", this work highlights how the often overlooked common folk of the ancient world (both men and women) contributed to the creation and continuation of their own societies.
Another major contribution of this text is Nagle's challenge to his readers to recognize not only how modern people and societies are similar to the ancient world, but more importantly, how we are different. By pointing out these differences, Nagle encourages students to explore how our unfounded familiarity with the past has often distorted our understanding of the ancient world. I believe this is not only an important history lesson for students - but a life lesson as well.
Finally, I must concur with the reviewer Brigette's explanation that the weight given to the Greco-Roman world in this book is determined by source availability as well as by the continuing impact of the Greco-Roman world on our own society today. Moreover, practically speaking, in order to maintain the tricky balance of breadth and depth, essential to any textbook, one must set parameters. It seems unreasonable to fault Nagle for choosing to focus on the relatively self-enclosed world of the Ancient Middle East, Egypt, Greece and Rome. I would recommend this book highly to anyone preparing to teach an introductory ancient history class at the college or high school level.
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