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The Oxford History of the Classical World Hardcover – July 17, 1986

ISBN-13: 978-0198721123 ISBN-10: 0198721129 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 882 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (July 17, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198721129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198721123
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.8 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

This overview of ancient European history is divided into three roughly equal parts on Greece, Greece and Rome, and Rome, an organizational scheme that underscores the historical progression by which the Greek city-states forged empires that the Romans would later inherit. Within this broad outline, authors Oswyn Murray, John Boardman, and Jasper Griffin, all distinguished Oxford University scholars, outline patterns of trade and colonization, look at the rise of philosophical schools and religions, and examine key works of literature. Oxford History of the Classical World, heavily illustrated with photographs and maps, is a fine reference, complete with compact chronologies.

From Library Journal

Thirty-two chapters (with select bibliographies) by different authors, plus an introduction and conclusion, survey antiquity from the time of Homer to the fall of the Roman Empire. Part 1 covers Greece, part 2, the Hellenistic age and the evolution of the Roman republic,and part 3, Imperial Rome. The range is wide, embracing history, myth, literary genres, major authors, philosophy, life, society, art, and architecture. All contributors are not equally successful in their attempt to condense, interpret, and inspire, but generally the results are of high quality, and the book is handsomely produced. Recommended for those desiring a one-volume introduction to the classical world.Robert J. Lenardon, Professor Emeritus of Classics, Ohio State Univ., Columbus
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A fine book considered by many scholars to be the best single volume history of the classical world. The first twelve chapters provide a comprehensive overview of ancient Greece -- its history, literature, philosophy, religion, and art. The next nine chapters describe the Hellenistic Period and the emergence of the Roman Republic. The final eleven chapters concern the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Each chapter concludes with a detailed list of suggested books for further reading. An essential book for anyone interested in classical history and culture.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jon Torodash on February 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a classics major in college, I have been regularly referred to the Roman section of this work to gain increased general knowledge over later classical antiquity. After thoroughly reading and rereading many sections, I can scarcely say I've gleaned anything close to that.

The "chapters" read more like non-peer reviewed articles that are virtually impossible to understand for the casual reader, and very difficult for classics students. They constantly diverge from their central theses, lack chronological sequence both within themselves and in relation to other chapters, use highly colloquial terms and accentuate seemingly arbitrary themes throughout history while ignoring others.

Cases in point: Marius' name is mentioned about 3 times, and never in regards to his own exploits. Cinna is missing entirely as far as I can tell. The Catilinarian conspiracy receives about half a paragraph (even though Sallust devoted a book to it and Cicero couldn't shut up about his own involvement), as do the Gracchi brothers, and Cato the Elder, but we receive heaps of names about obscure groups in the Italian peninsula during Rome's expansion, whose importance as individual tribes is obfuscated by varying levels of information which seem to lead nowhere, while their individual legacies are absent. The exact identities of "Roman", "Etruscan", "Latin", and "Italian" are anyone's guess. When the political division between the "populares" and "optimati" are introduced, the latter term is left undefined. Very, very shoddy.

I have not read the Greek section yet and refrain from commenting upon it.

The Roman section of this text, I think, is a disgrace to the Oxford University Press.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Harden on August 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This work, contrary to the comments of other readers, is an invaluable introduction to and comment on ancient history. As an Oxford student I have first-hand knowledge of many of the contributors and I can tell you that they represent some of the architects of modern classical study.

A criticism of this book is that it doesn't contain much information on the 'famous' incidents, and spends too much time on 'obscure' areas and peoples in Italy. This is like the opinion of a 1950s classicist who spends too much time reading Caesar and is ignorant of the fact the Classics and Ancient History are disciplines that extend beyond Catiline and the Gracchi. There are books about the fact that we don't know who Draco is (see below), but what we do know is on page 31 (and anyway he doesn't belong to the Classical world, rather the pre-Archaic Dark Ages).

This book is an enormously helpful and balanced work, beneficial to the beginner and the advanced student (both of which I have been while in the this book's company).
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