Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Three New Books on Roman History

I was very excited when I came back home from the university today. Three books from two book clubs had arrived in the mail. All deal with Roman history. The World History Blog posts about all kinds of history but I realize I tend to keep coming back to Rome. My readings habits certainly have an impact on this.

The books are:

Barbarians by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira - This book attempts to look at Rome from the perspective of the so called barbarians. It also is a companion to a new BBC series by the same title. Just from reading the book jacket language, I can tell I am going to have some responses to this book. Maybe the Romans adopted cultural and technological advances from other cultures, but did not these cultures also benefit from other cultures too? Who can say who originated anything? What counts is how effectively and how long an idea was used. I look forward to reading and commenting on this book.

Rome's Greatest Defeat: Massacre in the Teutonburg Forest by Adrian Murdoch - August is reported to have yelled, "Quintili Vare, legiones redde!" This translates into "Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!" Rome suffered many defeats but this one slaughtered three Roman legions and set back Roman expansion into Germania. I eagerly anticipate Murdoch's account.

Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy - OK, I have read probably a dozen good Caesar biographies in my life and a handful of bad or mediocre ones. Here is a new one. What does Goldsworthy add to Caesar biography?

As usual, I have a lot going on now. However, I hope to get all three of these read and make some reviewing comments on this blog in the next six months. I have no doubt regardless of my reactions to the writing that I will enjoy all three books.

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