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The Conquest of Assyria: Excavations in an Antique Land Hardcover – October 16, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0415143561 ISBN-10: 041514356X Edition: First American edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; First American edition. edition (October 16, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041514356X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415143561
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Danish scholar Larsen has written a vivid narrative about the lives and activities of the creators of Assyrian archaeology. A prevailing preoccupation with biblical sites by 19th-century Europeans inspired a group of adventurous individuals, beginning in the 1840s, to excavate the ancient cities of the Middle East. The central character of this narrative is a young English Romantic, Austen Henry Layard, who becomes obsessed with the idea of uncovering the ruins of Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians. As Layard was preparing his dig at a site he believed to be Nineveh, an English officer in the area, Henry Rawlinson, was deciphering cuneiform, the writing system of the Assyrians. Layard and Rawlinson struck up one of the most productive archaeological partnerships in history, destined to uncover the remains of an ancient civilization and, by the decipherment of cuneiform, give it back its voice. Larsen's fascinating study should appeal to anyone with an interest in archaeology and ancient history. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Danish Scholar Larsen has written a vivid narrative about the lives and activities of the creators of Assyrian archaeology....Larsen's fascinating study should appeal to anyone with an interest in archaeology and ancient history.
Library Journal, 11/15/96

. . . the story combines always engaging historical backdrops, the suspense and satisfaction of detecting solutions to vast and complex puzzles, flamboyant personalities devoting their lives to their quests and prevailing over adversity and insouciance, glittering incidental characters, and an almost magical triumph, bringing a civilization back from oblivion into history, and causing words that had disappeared from memory for thousands of years to be read again.
–Matthew W. Stolper, University

This book is an important addition to any Assyriological library, but it is also of great significance to anyone interested in the history of archaeology and of museums, or in Victorian intellectual history.
–-Piotr Michalowski, AJA

Mogens Trolle Larsen has written a masterpiece! His account of explorations in Assyria reads like a novel, so hard is it to put down. But a novel it is not. Deeply informed by yeas of reading in unpublished letters, diaries, and reports, he has the details to give vivid body to his narrative with extensive quotations from the orgininal players in their own words - noble, patriotic, self-serving, or deceitful...I consider this one of the very best books on the ancient Near East to appear in many years. It is sure to become a classic..
–Robert D. Biggs, University of Chicago, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, April 2000.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Balbach on April 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
That's what I first thought but luckily was able to find a used copy for less, and well worth whatever price you pay. "Conquest of Syria" came highly recommended by David Damrosch in a footnote in "The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh", and with "a Reader"'s review below, I took the chance. What a discovery! This is a very readable and enjoyable narrative of one of the most romantic and picturesque stories in archeology. Perhaps partly justifying the steep price, the book is physically above average in terms of quality - it is large format, the binding is like a tank, the boards are heavy and solid, the paper is heavy gloss, there are full-color plates, maps and drawings throughout (at least every 3rd page). The writing is in a story-telling narrative covering the lives of about half a dozen gentleman (Layard is the central hero) with adventures and tales equal to anything in India Jones. If it was re-printed in paperback for a mass audience it would probably overshadow books like The Buried Book, but for whatever reason, it remains for a limited audience because of the high price. If you have any interest in learning more about the desert adventures of 19th C archaeologists, this is one book to get lost in, it was hard to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Larsen's "The Conquest of Assyria" is a handsome volume about the re-discovery and archaeology of ancient Assyria and deciphering the cuneiform script against the backdrop of both Ottoman-held Iraq and the high Victorian society.The book centers on the three giants of discovery-the romantic Austen Henry Layard,the melancholy Paul Emile Botta, and scholar-soldier Henry Rawlinson. Seperately Botta and Layard would un-earth huge palaces with giant winged human-headed bulls guarding the entrances, and friezes showing the king at war, hunting lions, and praying to his gods. These fantastic finds would bring back to life a dead civilization shrouded in myth and legend. Larsen weaves biographies, major political dilemmas and the impact the digs had on bible-conscious Europe through an exciting story of important excavations and adventure with warring and plundering bedouin tribes, cholera, and travels to regions yet to be mapped. Perhaps the greatest tale of archaeology. A true classic.
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The Conquest of Assyria: Excavations in an Antique Land
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