I find ancient history to be endlessly fascinating. From the texts of Ancient Egypt, to a love story so compelling it seems almost like fiction, to the mysteries of Stonehenge, there seems to be no limit to the people, places, and captivating true stories you can learn about from the ancient world. These five titles are just a small selection of the Ancient History books distributed by Casemate IPM. I hope you’ll find them as engaging as I do!
An Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Texts
This book provides a small collection of love stories, biographies, fairy tales, reports of military campaigns, and other textual accounts of life in Ancient Egypt. They range widely and provide a varied and interesting view of daily life in Ancient Egypt for many areas of society. This is a welcome and insightful view into the world of the pyramids and the pharaohs, which can easily seem so far detached from our own lives that it can be hard to understand.
This book is aimed at anyone with an interest in Ancient Egypt and everyday life as well as those with a specific interest in literature. The lack of any scholarly commentary, plus the inclusion of a glossary, means that the book is very accessible to those with no prior knowledge of Ancient texts and their scholarly study, making it a great taster and introduction to the area.
Buy it here $34.95
Women in Ancient Rome
The history of women in ancient Rome is fascinating and exhilarating. It gives a unique insight into one of the world’s most dynamic, successful super-power civilizations and, at the same time, illuminates any number of admirable, exciting, evil, slatternly, and dangerous women fighting to be heard and seen against insurmountable odds in a world run by men, for men.
“Silent” is a word that is sometimes used to describe these women, because of the paucity of first-hand evidence from women for their lives; “silent” can also be used to describe how the typical Roman male liked his women. Some women though broke that silence and forged an identity of their own in a largely suspicious, paranoid, patronizing, critical world.
It is those women whom we meet in this intriguing book. Paul Chrystal examines aspects of the Roman woman’s lifestyle: her evolving role in the family; the assertive, brave, pernicious, and outrageous women in the public arena; we learn about women’s education and of artistic, cultured women; we meet women soothsayers, witches, and ghosts; we examine the role of women in religion and in the mystery cults; women as health professionals; women’s medicine; women’s sexuality; women as mistress, prostitute, and pimp.
Buy it here $29.95
The Way of Confucius
Confucius (551-479 BCE) was a famous Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced East Asian life and thought. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Daoism, during the Han Dynasty
Confucius’s thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism. It was introduced to Europe by the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinize the name as “Confucius.” The teachings of Confucius are known primarily through the Analects of Confucius, a collection of “brief aphoristic fragments,” which was compiled many years after his death. Setting Confucius’ ideas against the context of his own life and times, Jonathan Price brings to life the thoughts of the Master in their pristine form. Price traces the influence of Confucius both in China and globally right up until our own day, and examines whether the world needs to listen to him once again.
Buy it here $25.00
Antony & Cleopatra
This is the story of one of the most compelling love affairs ever.
The immortal lovers of novels, plays, and films, Antony and Cleopatra were reviled by contemporary Romans, but history has transformed them into tragic heroes. Somewhere between their vilification by Augustus and the judgment of a later age, there were two vibrant people whose destinies were entwined after the assassination of Julius Caesar in March 44 BC. Mark Antony’s reputation for recklessness, hard drinking, and womanizing overshadowed his talents for leadership and astute administration. Cleopatra was determined to reconstitute the ancient empire of the Ptolemies, and Antony as legally appointed ruler of the east gave her much, but not all, of what she desired.
Their association went far beyond territorial agreements. They had three children, and may have married according to Egyptian law. This blending of politics and sex led to the ultimate ruin of both, since their main rival, Octavian-Augustus, was able to portray Cleopatra as the arch enemy of Rome and Antony as her bewitched consort. His propaganda was effective, and in the end Antony’s soldiers deserted him. When all was lost, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, and were buried side by side in Alexandria.
Buy it here $19.95
The Story of Stonehenge
This book is the perfect introduction to the history of Stonehenge. Unlike other titles on the subject, it is chronologically arranged. Within, you’ll find answers to the key questions about Stonehenge: Why was it built? How did the stones get there? What were the people of Neolithic Britain like?
Stonehenge is the best known but least understood prehistoric monument in the British Isles. Other stone circles are impressive and atmospheric, but none approach the sophistication of Stonehenge. The stones visible today represent the final phase of a monument that was begun about 5,000 years ago, and altered several times during the next fifteen centuries, before it was finally abandoned. The site may have been a sacred place for at least 10,000 years, reaching back to about 8,000 BC, when people of the Mesolithic era began to set up pine totem poles, the holes for which were found in excavations close to the circle.
Patricia Southern’s new history considers the conflicting theories around how it was built with such precision and why. Did the stones arrive at Stonehenge by humans, or were they transported there by glaciers long before the first monument was built? Was it a religious center for unknown rites and ceremonies? Did it function as an observatory for the sun and the moon, a sort of stone calendar to mark the seasons and the appropriate festivals? One thing it never was, a Druid temple. It was built, used, and abandoned long before the ancient Druids came on the scene, but their modern counterparts have claimed it, so in that sense it is still a temple, just as it can be for any other visitors to this important World Heritage Site.
Buy it here $24.95
What’s your favorite period in history? Leave us a comment, and you might see a selection of books about your favorite topic in the next Editor’s Picks!