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Twilight of the Hellenistic World Hardcover – April 19, 2012

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword (April 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848841361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848841369
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,331,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is a good summary of the 30 years (around 230 to 200 BC) or so that preceded the irruption of Rome in Greece and its domination of the Hellenistic world. It is hardly original but it brings together the contents of a number of scholarly books in an effective and accessible way for the so-called "general reader". As usual for this collection, the authors have only limited space to discuss the issues, although they still manage to do so in an interesting way.

The book is divided into eight chapters and presents five of the main land battles opposing Hellenistic powers and one significant naval battle (between Philip V of Macedon and the King of Pergamon allied to Rhodes) is described in the conclusion. The chapter on the Rise of Aratus draws mainly on an old and hard to find biography of this statesman by Walbank (Aratus of Sicyon, 1934). The pieces related to Antiochus III, the Seleucid king, rely a lot on Bar Kochva's unrivalled book of the Seleukid army, although the authors' reconstitution of the battle of Panion against the Ptolemies is significantly different. Grainger's works on The League of the Aitolians, the Syrian Wars and The Roman War of Antiochus the Great are also very of use for chapters 2 to 6 and chapter 8.

All in all, this book has numerous qualities:

- it clearly shows that, contrary to the propaganda of the Romans and their pro-Roman historians (starting with the Achean Polybios, which the authors always call "Polybius", using the latinized form of his name, and which they present as a bit of a "quisling"), the Hellenistic monarchies and states were not so "decadent".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book needed effective editing. The endless series of hackneyed metaphors, cliches and strange phrasing, which might have worked in a spoken lecture (did the authors dictate this?), detracted from the written narrative. This selection from a six page sample seems representative of the entire book:

"Epigenes....seem to have completely flown off the handle at his rival. And any devious scheming was reported as definitely up his street." (page 72).

"A denouement, though certainly seemed in the air". (page 73).

"where people had not covered themselves in glory by opening their gates to Molon very easily indeed" (page 75).

He settled down to squeeze the locals till the pips squeaked" (page 75).

"the young monarch was aching to rule his own roost" (page 76),

"relations between the courts at Sartis and Antioch were not absolutely smooth as silk" (page 77).

"This invasion...was a step too far" (page 77).

"he was faced with difficult choices on which way to jump" (page 77).

"with Rhodians, Byzantines, Cyzicuns and Aeotolians greasing the diplomatic wheels..." (page 79.
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Format: Hardcover
I have tried to read this book for the past month. Much of it is unintelligible. The subject matter is intriguing and I had looked forward to reading this book with great anticipation. The editing seems nonexistent and many passages seem to be written to show how the authors can present the historical narrative in the most obscure and convoluted style. If this was presented as an undergraduate history paper, it would receive a failing grade.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a great read, understandably there are certain details that are lost, but the only issue I had with it was, it seemed to have ended 1 chapter short of the end of the "Hellenistic World", one more chapter with a bit added about Rome's intervention, the info is out there, the victors write the history.
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