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Thread: Classical Civilisation

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    Default Classical Civilisation

    Are you interested in ancient Rome and Greece? And could you recommend me an introductory history book to the period?

    So far, my historical and literary explorations have been very heavily based in the medieval European period, but I'd like to branch out and don't quite know where to start.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Gibbons. You are a classicist - so where else?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    Gibbons. You are a classicist - so where else?
    Is Gibbons a writer or are you talking about monkeys? I'm not a classicist.

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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Have ever tried reading the Philosophical writings of Aristotle, Socrates or Plato? Those are interesting.
    Last edited by violadude; Jan-28-2012 at 23:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    Is Gibbons a writer or are you talking about monkeys? I'm not a classicist.
    This is what Hilltroll means:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_His...e_Roman_Empire

    I don't claim to know anything about the subject myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by violadude View Post
    Have ever tried reading the Philosophical writings of Aristotle, Socrates or Plato? Those are interesting.
    I've dipped into those, but at the moment I'm looking for a modern introductory history to the period.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    If you want to get a feel for the ancient historians and their styles/area of focus, there's the well known Michael Grant book, The Ancient Historians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    I've dipped into those, but at the moment I'm looking for a modern introductory history to the period.
    Science-wise, those guys were mostly wrong - and the Europeans bought it anyway for a l-o-o-n-g time.
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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    E non vero...
    I can't play Debussy étude

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    Senior Member science's Avatar
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    I wouldn't read Gibbon because we've learned so much since the 18th century, unless you're just interesting in finding out what 18th century people thought about Rome and the Byzantine Empire.

    A great short book is "Ancient Greece" by Martin. If you want the long version, Fine's "The Ancient Greeks."

    I haven't read it yet, but I believe Starr's "A History of the Ancient World" will be good.
    Last edited by science; Jan-29-2012 at 13:48.
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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    I wouldn't read Gibbon because we've learned so much since the 18th century, unless you're just interesting in finding out what 18th century people thought about Rome and the Byzantine Empire.
    [...]
    Certainly Gibbon's historical storyline can be improved upon regarding factual data. He had to do considerable guessing from the data he was able to find. It's really the 'beside-notes', so easy for the reader to connect to the main subject, that make the work a fascinating read. One of my older brothers, long ago, possessed a printing of the work that had been edited to change the 'beside-words' to afterwords; readability was effectively destroyed.

    Since Poley appears to be doing a Sgt. Joe Friday, your suggestions (and those of others) are much more sensible. But I can't resist pointing out that Sgt. Friday was a pretty dull guy.



    [I forgot to add: DUM de DUM DUM]
    Last edited by Ukko; Jan-29-2012 at 15:58.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    Certainly Gibbon's historical storyline can be improved upon regarding factual data. He had to do considerable guessing from the data he was able to find. It's really the 'beside-notes', so easy for the reader to connect to the main subject, that make the work a fascinating read. One of my older brothers, long ago, possessed a printing of the work that had been edited to change the 'beside-words' to afterwords; readability was effectively destroyed.

    Since Poley appears to be doing a Sgt. Joe Friday, your suggestions (and those of others) are much more sensible. But I can't resist pointing out that Sgt. Friday was a pretty dull guy.

    Well, after a couple of sour apple martinis he was a real hoot. So I hear.

    The classic work of nonfiction is an odd beast: it is almost doomed to be surpassed by later research. A thing I'd appreciate is if some company such as Norton perhaps would make annotated "Critical Editions" of works like Decline and Fall, Wealth of Nations, Origin of Species, and so on, in which scholars would inform readers about advances in the field that the authors didn't know about, what issues in the work are still debated by contemporary scholars, and so on.
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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Well, after a couple of sour apple martinis he was a real hoot. So I hear.

    The classic work of nonfiction is an odd beast: it is almost doomed to be surpassed by later research. A thing I'd appreciate is if some company such as Norton perhaps would make annotated "Critical Editions" of works like Decline and Fall, Wealth of Nations, Origin of Species, and so on, in which scholars would inform readers about advances in the field that the authors didn't know about, what issues in the work are still debated by contemporary scholars, and so on.
    Good idea I think, except that the (side-words would be nice) comments would likely be more 'readable' if done by a 'popularizer'. I think of those guys as a kind of collator. The scholars/researchers provide the data, but I wouldn't have to contend with what is often a constipated writing style derived from that required in a doctorate thesis.

    But maybe that procedure wouldn't do for the edification of professionals - of which class I am not.
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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    Science-wise, those guys were mostly wrong - and the Europeans bought it anyway for a l-o-o-n-g time.
    Yes, but who wouldn't without certain key discoveries being made? Anyway, Frederick J. Copleston's A History Of Philosophy series is a monumental achievement of erudition chronicling the development of western thinking. Volume one covering the classical period. http://www.amazon.com/Frederick-Copl.../1616OC9WOFRMJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Yes, but who wouldn't without certain key discoveries being made?
    [...]
    I ain't disagreeing. My point (besides the one on my head) is that, through no fault of the ancients, their Faulty Findings were accepted as a kind of Holy Writ for way too long. Shucks, if not for that stagnation we'd have Men on the Moon.

    No matter, I guess. If the plutocrats saw a profit in it, we'd have Dyson Spheres in the trailing and leading stable orbits by now.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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