Our list takes a broad disciplinary and geographically inclusive approach to understanding humanity’s ancient past, with an emphasis on seeing ancient civilizations as fluid sites of crosscultural interaction. Drawing on ancient history, archaeology, classics, mythology, philosophy, religion, and art history, it is informed by well-established approaches to textual and archaeological evidence, as well as by new methodologies. Covering regions from the Greco-Roman world to Egypt and the ancient Near East, and from Central Asia to East Asia, our books illuminate new ways of understanding ancient cultures, peoples, politics, philosophies, literary texts, and religions, and how these inform our present.
All at sea: The maritime lives of the ancient Phoenicians
The Phoenicians were, according to one ancient scholar, ‘the first to plough the sea’. The little ports of the Bronze Age Levant, including Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, lay between the great empires of Egypt, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia.
Eric H. Cline on Digging Up Armageddon
In 1925, James Henry Breasted, famed Egyptologist and director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, sent a team of archaeologists to the Holy Land to excavate the ancient site of Megiddo—Armageddon in the New Testament—which the Bible says was fortified by King Solomon.
Cicero, friendship, and social distancing
The best friend of the Roman politician Marcus Cicero was Titus Pomponius, also known as Atticus since he spent many years living in Athens to escape the political chaos and partisan bickering of republican Rome.
Should an old man engage in politics?
Around noon on March 5, 2020, Elizabeth Warren suspended her campaign for president of the United States, leaving Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to run (essentially) a two-man race for the Democratic nomination.
Beware the Ides of March
Imagine a rogue general, assigned only to guard the frontiers of his country’s remote provinces – but the authorities back in the capital tacitly approve of some adventurism. He goes on a rampage through neighboring territories, allying himself with certain ethnic groups in the region against others.
A leadership class from the ancient world
For the ancient Greeks and Romans, leadership was studied through examples. One of the best books ever written on the subject, Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus, appears to be a biography of the Persian king Cyrus the Great. In fact, it is a manual of statecraft and strategy.