Would you love to go through books about ancient history? To gain a better understanding, we sought the advice of some of the most eminent historians of the finest books ever published in ancient history.
The era of the European empires saw the beginning of ancient history as a discipline.
For many years, ancient history was a crucial, dynamic time in human civilization.
Although the first Olympic Games took place in 776 BCE, ancient history really dates back to 3000 BCE, and the ancient chronology continues until late antiquity, which roughly spans the third to eighth centuries CE.
Athens, Memphis, Thebes, Rome: Nefertiti and Ramses II Cyrus the Great, Aristotle, Sappho, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra Democratism and oligarchy. A republic and an empire.
Societies and individuals from long ago still fascinate us.
But things are changing. Ancient history and classical studies books are becoming more varied.
Ancient Persia, India, contemporary Iraq, and Sudan impacted Rome and Greece.
The dominance of the white minority among Classicists is being challenged.
Initiatives for cross-disciplinary research integrate the disciplines of history and archaeology.
We provide a list of the top 100 ancient history books below.
1. Janos Harmatta, B.N. Puri & G.F. Etemadi, History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Vol. II. The Development of Sedentary and Nomadic Civilizations, 700 B.C. to A.D. 250.
Volume 2 is a series that traces the history of Central Asia in antiquity.
2. Keith Hopkins & Mary Beard, The Colosseum.
In The Colosseum, we study the specifics of the arena’s construction and expense, meet the emperors who occasionally took part in gladiatorial contests there, and assess the audience’s reaction to or disapproval of these contests.
The writers also describe the monument’s odd subsequent existence as a castle, martyrs’ shrine, church, and glue factory. Why are we so attracted by this death arena?
3. Tom Holland, Rubicon. In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar crossed a narrow border river known as the Rubicon in the seven-hundred-fifth year following Rome’s foundation, igniting a devastating civil war.
The captivating narrative by Tom Holland relates the tale of Caesar’s generation, who witnessed the end of the Republic and its brutal metamorphosis into an empire.
Rubicon is not only an engaging history of this crucial time period but also a very moving depiction of a great civilization in all its extremes of self-sacrifice and rivalry, decadence and calamity, intrigue, conflict, and world-shattering ambition.
4. Richard Hingley & Christina Unwin, Boudica. Iron Age Warrior Queen.
In 60 CE, the Iceni queen Boudica, also known as Boadicea, launched a well-known uprising against Roman control in Britain that destabilized the province and shocked the Roman Empire.
Boudica. This narrative of the Iron Age Warrior Queen details what is known about the genuine lady from ancient writings intended for Roman audiences and from archaeological data.
It chronicles her remarkable posthumous career as the first well-known female in British history.
5. Zahi Hawass, Silent Images. Women in Pharaonic Egypt.
The exquisiteness of the tomb paintings, statues, temple reliefs, and other spectacular works of art left as a legacy by this exceptional civilization handles our never-ending obsession with ancient Egypt.
However, despite the abundance of artifacts and literature that have persisted, many unanswered concerns remain, notably regarding the real position of women in Egyptian culture.
This beautifully illustrated, the well-researched book breaks through the silent pictures and paints an astounding picture of women’s life using previously unreleased material from author Zahi Hawass’ own digs and fresh analyses of older data.
6. Zahi Hawass, Mountains of the Pharaohs. The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders.
For thousands of years, the towering pyramids of Giza have fascinated people. An innovative recent study has revealed details about how and why they were created.
World-renowned archaeologist Zahi Hawass creates a fascinating tale in the Mountains of the Pharaohs by fusing the most recent archaeological findings with an intriguing family history.
7. Judith Harris, Pompeii Awakened. A Story of Rediscovery. The city of Pompeii was lost on that terrible day in A.D. 79, and over time its location, its populace, and even its name were buried and forgotten.
It didn’t break through the covering of volcanic rock until 1755, and that discovery had immediate and broad ramifications.
In order to evaluate the most recent excavations, Judith Harris has examined old journals and gone very far below the earth.
Pompeii weaves its charm once more, captivating those who wish to discover its long-buried mysteries as the sleeping city reawakens under her control.
8. Judith P. Hallet & Marilyn B. Skinner (eds.), Roman Sexualities.
With the goal of completing previous research on Greece and providing a more comprehensive picture of ancient sexuality, this collection of articles aims to establish Roman constructs of sexuality and gender difference as a separate field of study.
The pieces examine the hierarchy of power that is so vividly mirrored in most Roman sexual encounters by using feminist critical methods to forms of public discourse, including literature, history, law, medicine, and political oratory.
9. Ogden Goelet & Raymond Faulkner, The Egyptian Book of the Dead.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead, which was written and drawn about 3,300 years ago, is a creative depiction of the secrets of life and death.
This ancient papyrus is now accessible in full color with an integrated English translation beneath each image for the first time since it was first published.
10. Peter Green, Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age.
The character and accomplishments of Alexander the Great are discussed at the beginning of the book, and then the conflict between his successor countries over his legacy is continued.
Many important changes occurred during this time period, including the transition from oral to written communication, the movement from a public to a private ethos, the rise of slavery, the widening wealth disparity, and a rising appetite for luxury.
11. Lester L. Grabbe, Ancient Israel. What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?
In Ancient Israel, Lester L. Grabbe attempts to compile what is known by surveying the sources, explaining methods, and assessing the evidence.
Grabbe focuses on first-hand sources, such as papyri, inscriptions, and archaeology.
When creating a history of this time period, he tackles the concerns with historical methodology and deals with the key problems by using the biblical text as a source.
This work is extremely approachable because of Grabbe’s clear writing, making it ideal for both interested general readers and scholars of biblical studies and ancient history.
12. Martin Goodman, Rome, and Jerusalem. The Clash of Ancient Civilizations.
a masterful account of the epic conflict between the Jewish and Roman cultures that destroyed Jerusalem.
13. Nihongi by William George Aston
The Nihongi, also known as the Nihon Shoki, is the second-oldest existing book of ancient Japanese history and one of the most “human” historical records that are still in existence.
Nihongi covers the influence of China and India on Japanese culture, touches on the archaeological ages of Jomon and Yayoi, and weaves together ritual myths and folk customs and personal stories, and imperial conflict.
Nihongi traces the world of ancient Japan from its earliest days to just a few years before the text was originally completed in 720 CE.
The Nihongi has been a source of wisdom for both scholars and emperors for many years, and it continues to be a vital entryway into the history of Japan.
Li Feng, professor of Early Chinese History and Archaeology at Columbia University, leads readers through the origins of Chinese civilization and culture from the beginning of human history through the end of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE.
This richly illustrated volume draws on the most recent academic research and archaeological findings to explore everything from the beginnings of written language to the growth of many religions to the evolving art of war and the creation of an empire.
This book not only vividly depicts the earliest periods of Chinese history but also shows how these early occurrences influenced contemporary life both in China and elsewhere in the world. This book serves as a useful introduction to a vast area and is accessible to any Western reader.
15. Adrian Goldsworthy, Antony, and Cleopatra.
Adrian Goldsworthy’s Antony and Cleopatra offers an engaging reappraisal of an important period in ancient history via a skillfully told—and very human—story of love, politics, and ambition.
Goldsworthy goes beyond myth and romance to construct a complex and historically astute portrait of his subjects in this fascinating dual biography of the two great lovers of antiquity, set against the political landscape of their day.
The book takes readers on a trip across cultures and frontiers from ancient Greece and ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire.
It is a chronicle of deeply lived lives during a period when the world was changing radically.
16. Adrian Goldsworthy, The Fall of Carthage. The Punic Wars 265–146 B.C.
One of the largest wars in history, the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage culminated in the annihilation of Carthage by Rome in 146 B.C.E.
This epic drama is brought to life once more for contemporary audiences thanks to one of our time’s best historians.
The generals Hannibal and Scipio are among the ensemble of eternally interesting characters, along with cunning chieftains, stunning princesses, cunning politicians, and fierce professional warriors.
17. Benjamin R. Foster & Karen Foster, Civilizations of Ancient Iraq.
The interesting history of ancient Mesopotamia, from the earliest settlements ten thousand years ago to the Arab invasion in the seventh century, is told by Benjamin and Karen Foster in their book Civilizations of Ancient Iraq.
The world’s first cities and empires, writing and literature, science and mathematics, colossal art, and many more inventions may all be found in ancient Iraq.
A crucial resource for comprehending Mesopotamia’s pivotal role in the evolution of human civilization is the Civilizations of Ancient Iraq.
18. N.R.E. Fisher, Slavery in Classical Greece.
The essential themes surrounding the study of Greek slavery from Homeric antiquity to the fourth century B.C. are presented in this comprehensive and well-written overview.
It offers insightful assessments of the widely held ancient ideological defenses of slavery and sheds light on the fundamental role that slavery played in the economy and social structures of classical Greece.
Throughout, the author shows how the fact that many Greek city-states were slave societies had an important impact on political and economic systems, concepts of national identity, beliefs about labor and gender, and even the core character of Greek civilization itself.
19. Irving Finkel (ed.), The Cyrus Cylinder. The King of Persia’s Proclamation from Ancient Babylon.
Some historical relics have the power to forever change how people view the past.
The discovery of a clay cylinder-shaped edict from Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia, in modern-day Iraq (in 1879) continues the history of ground-breaking finds from antiquity, such as the whole Tutankhamun tomb or Hammurabi’s famed law code.
We cover the Cylinder and its amazing history for the first time in this significant publication.
20. Neil Faulkner, Rome. Empire of the Eagles.
The Roman Empire is widely admired as a model of civilization.
In this compelling new study Neil Faulkner argues that in fact, it was nothing more than a ruthless system of robbery and violence.
War was used to enrich the state, and the imperial ruling classes, and favored client groups.
Millions of people were killed or enslaved. Within the empire, the landowning elite creamed off the wealth of the countryside to pay taxes to the state and fund the towns and villas where they lived.
The masses of people—slaves, serfs, and poor peasants—were victims of a grand exploitation that made the empire possible.
This system, riddled with tension, and latent conflict, contained the seeds of its own eventual collapse.
21. Catharine Edwards, Death in Ancient Rome.
The most telling sign of a person’s genuine character, according to the Romans, was how they died.
In Roman civilization, death was generally accepted and even literally seen as a show.
The real philosopher, the great artist, the honest patriot, and most definitely the devoted Christian were all exposed by death.
Catharine Edwards investigates the complex importance of dying in the Roman world by drawing on the many and widely diversified descriptions of death in the literature of Roman historians, poets, and philosophers, including Cicero, Lucretius, Virgil, Seneca, Petronius, Tacitus, Tertullian, and Augustine.
22. David N. Edwards, The Nubian Past. An Archaeology of the Sudan.
The first significant study of this region in over three decades, this innovative synthesis covers the archaeology of Nubia and Sudan from prehistory to the nineteenth century A.D.
An expert with vast experience in this subject examines the region that has generated the most beautiful archaeology in sub-Saharan Africa in this article by drawing on the findings of the most recent research and creating new interpretative frameworks.
23. Richard Alston, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt. A Social History.
The book Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt completely reevaluates how the Roman army affected local cultures and persuasively refutes conventional wisdom.
The military is viewed as being well-integrated into local communities rather than as an isolated elite living in dread of the local populace.
The extent of the army’s engagement in these towns, which was previously unknown, sheds new light on both Roman imperialism and Roman control in Egypt.
24. The Amazons by Adrienne Mayor
Was it true that fierce warrior ladies rode out of the mists of history, or was it just a myth?
A “complete overview of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient globe, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China,” Adrienne Mayor’s book, which is a nominee for the National Book Award.
However, it is described as “highly researched, wide-ranging, and beautifully illustrated.”
Mayor explains how these historical warrior women who were flesh and blood transformed into the mythologized individuals we know as Amazons by utilizing the most recent archaeological findings together with a “detective’s curiosity.”
25. Jan Assmann, The Mind of Egypt. History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs.
The Mind of Egypt offers a hitherto unheard-of account of the tenets of Egyptian culture, including its principles, values, mentalities, belief systems, and ambitions.
Renowned historian Jan Assmann reconstructs a world of incredible complexity, a society that, before others, acquired amazing knowledge and self-reflection.
He does this by drawing on a variety of literary, iconographic, and archaeological sources.
Assmann, who is well known for his interdisciplinary approach, has produced a fascinating study of an ancient society while also paving the way for new historical research avenues.
26. Zainab Bahrani, Mesopotamia. Ancient Art and Architecture.
The complete overview of Mesopotamian art and architecture from 8000 B.C.E. to the introduction of Islam in 636 C.E. presented in this book is the first in ten years.
Mesopotamia includes contemporary Iraq, northeast Syria, and southeast Turkey.
Around 400 full-color images, maps, and timetables are used to visually accompany the text and lead readers through the geography and history of this region of the ancient Near East.
27. David Bindman & Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Image of the Black in Western Art, Vol. 1. From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire.
This book provides a thorough examination of the intriguing and contentious topic of black people’s portrayal in antiquity.
We guide the reader through the significant developments in the area following the “Black Athena” myth in renowned academic works.
28. Martin Bernal, Black Athena. The Afro-Asiatic Roots of Classical Civilization vol. 3.
In the third and last book in the series, Bernal demonstrates how roughly 40% of the vocabulary in Greek might have been acquired from two Afroasiatic languages, West Semitic and Ancient Egyptian.
Bernal says that this evidence substantially supports the idea that West Semitic and Ancient Egyptian speakers predominated among Indo-European speakers in Greece.
29. Martin Bernal, Black Athena. The Afro-Asiatic Roots of Classical Civilization vol. 2.
Regarding interactions between Egypt and the Levant and the Aegean throughout the Bronze Age, which lasted from around 3400 B.C. to approximately 1100 B.C.
Volume 2 focuses on archaeological and documentary evidence. Later Greek myths, tales, religious cults, and language are used as a complement to these methods.
30. Mary Beard, SPQR. A History of Ancient Rome.
Mary Beard questions the conventional historical viewpoints that have prevailed for centuries in SPQR, an instant classic that looks at how we think about ancient Rome.
It will shape our perception of Roman history for years to come through SPQR’s nuanced attention to class, democratic conflicts, and the experiences of entire groups of individuals who had been ignored in the historical record for ages.
31. Elizabeth Bartman, Portraits of Livia. Imaging the Imperial Woman in Augustan Rome.
The novelty of her position as empress, which had an important influence on Roman art and created A visual language of female rank and prestige motivated Livia Drusilla, the wife of Augustus.
Bartman’s study offers unmatched documentation of Livia’s image over the course of her public life in Rome for over sixty years.
It is lavishly illustrated and includes descriptive catalog entries for over 110 surviving portraits, as well as the epigraphic testimony for dozens of images that are no longer in existence.
32. Anthony A. Barrett, Agrippina. Sex, Power, and Politics in the Early Empire.
In the first century AD, Agrippina the Younger gained authority never gotten by a female. Ancient traditions claim she plotted against her brother, the emperor Caligula, killed her husband, the emperor Claudius, and ruled over her son, the emperor Nero, by having sex with him.
Modern academics frequently agree with this conclusion. But in his compelling biography—the first on Agrippina to be written in English—Anthony Barrett presents a startlingly fresh portrait of this significant figure.
33. John Curtis & Nigel Tallis (eds.), Forgotten Empire. The World of Ancient Persia.
Between 550 and 331 B.C., Persia’s Achaemenid Empire prospered, encompassing a wide variety of diverse peoples and civilizations.
The empire was founded by Cyrus the Great (559–530 B.C.), and it grew under his successors, who controlled from the royal centers of Susa and Persepolis to where, at its height, it extended from the Indus Valley to Greece and from the Caspian Sea to Egypt.
The riches and magnificence of Persian society—its lavish palaces, fine workmanship, and advanced knowledge—are shown via Forgotten Empire.
35. Miguel Angel Corzo & Mahasti Afshar (eds.), Art and Eternity. The Nefertari Wall Paintings Conservation Project 1986–1992.
This is the last report on the preservation of the wall paintings of Queen Nefertari’s tomb, which she shared with Ramses II in Egypt’s Valley of the Queens.
Scientists and conservators from all around the world came together in an incredibly successful joint project to solve the issues affecting one of the most stunning structures of ancient Egypt.
Here, individuals who were most directly involved in saving this cultural treasure describe the tedious effort that kept it in its original location.
The archaeology of the Valley, the iconography of the tomb, the original tools and materials used by the painters, the photographic documentation of the wall murals, and the literature sources used to analyze them are all topics covered in other articles.
36. Harriet Crawford, Ur. The City of the Moon God.
This historical overview of Ur examines both the ancient city and its development over many years and more contemporary archaeological interpretations.
The book also analyzes Ur’s role in the Gulf War and the difficulties it presented for archaeologists in the years that followed.
37. Paul Collins, Mountains and Lowlands. Ancient Iran and Mesopotamia.
A fascinating examination of ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and Iran’s history from 6000 B.C. to 650 A.D. is found in the Mountains and Lowlands.
It is frequently discussed alone in Iran and Ancient Mesopotamia or as parts of a much larger “Ancient Near East.”
However, the conflicts and interactions between the people of lowland Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq) and the highlands of Iran shaped the innovations that form the foundation of our own world—farming, cities, writing, organized religion, and warfare.
38. Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C. The Year Civilization Collapsed.
Marauding tribes simply referred to as the “Sea Peoples” attacked Egypt in 1177 B.C.
Although the pharaoh’s army and fleet could destroy them, the triumph left Egypt so vulnerable that it quickly fell into collapse, along with most of the civilizations in the region.
Eric Cline paints a broad picture of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows how their interdependence hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted for centuries.
He does this by bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations.
39. Jennifer Y. Chi & Sebastian Heath (eds.), Edge of Empires. Pagans, Jews, and Christians at Roman Dura-Europos.
The city of Dura-Europos was established in approximately 300 B.C.E. and was strategically situated high above the Euphrates River between Syria and Mesopotamia.
The international and pluralistic nature of Dura-Europos is vividly depicted in Edge of Empires, which highlights artifacts that show the coexistence of various religions, including polytheistic cults, Judaism, and Christianity; the wide range of languages that its inhabitants speak; and its function as an international military garrison.
A full site plan of Dura-Europos and a map of the surrounding area are also included in the book.
40. Andrea Carandini (eds.), The Atlas of Ancient Rome.
The Atlas of Ancient Rome offers a thorough archaeological overview of Rome’s development from early prehistory to the early medieval era.
This spectacular two-volume slip-cased edition, lavishly illustrated with full-color maps, sketches, pictures, and 3D reconstructions, presents the most recent scholarly findings and includes updated descriptions of over 500 monuments.
41. Pierre Briant (Jane Marie Todd, transl.), Darius in the Shadow of Alexander.
The first book ever written in honor of Darius III, king of the Persian Empire and archrival of Alexander the Great, who is still little known today despite having controlled an empire that extended from the Mediterranean to India.
42. Keith Bradley & Paul Cartledge (eds.), The Cambridge World History of Slavery. Vol. 1.
We covered the history of slavery in the ancient Mediterranean region in Volume 1 of the new Cambridge World History of Slavery series.
Leading academics examine the significance of slavery in ancient Mediterranean society in twenty-two chapters using a variety of textual and physical evidence.
Readers who are not experts in the field will find the volume to explain this important phenomenon’s early history.
43. Vesta Sarkosh Curtis & E. Errington, From Persepolis to the Punjab. Exploring Ancient Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The expression “from Persepolis to the Punjab” alludes to the enormous Iranian empires of the Achaemenids (550-331 B.C.), Parthians (238 B.C.-A.D. 224), and Sasanians (A.D. 224-651), which stretched east through Afghanistan to the northwestern frontiers of the Indian subcontinent.
This book examines the implications of “the Great Game,” the 19th-century European countries’ interest in this region.
44. Nathalie Dohrmann & Annette Yoshiko Reed (eds.), Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire. The Poetics of Power in Late Antiquity.
Roman Empire figures prominently in the history of ancient Jews and Judaism.
Despite all the focus on the Jewish Revolt and other conflicts, however, there has been less attention paid to placing Jews within Roman imperial contexts.
In many studies of rabbinic and other Jewish sources written during the Roman era, Rome is ignored, just as Roman historians frequently dismiss Jews as an anomaly.
With a concentration on the third to sixth century C.E., Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire bring Jewish viewpoints to light on long-running discussions about Romanization, Christianization, and late antiquity.
45. Beate Dignas, Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity. Neighbors and Rivals.
A strong new force was founded on the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire with the founding of the Sasanian Empire in Persia in A.D. 224, and relations between the two during the following four centuries were tumultuous.
This book offers a chronological account of their connection that is backed up by a sizable number of translated sources that highlight structural patterns.
Particular focus is placed on Armenia’s and Arabia’s situations, as well as on economic factors, border defense, religious life in both empires, and East-West communication routes.
46. Touraj Darayee, Sasanian Persia. The Rise and Fall of an Empire.
Although the Sasanian Empire played a significant role in late antiquity, it is almost unknown today outside of its role as a rival to the Roman Empire.
Touraj Daryaee fills an important gap in our understanding of global history in this outstanding and extremely accessible new history.
He explores the intricate and vivid history of the Sasanians and shows how important they were to the advancement of Roman and Islamic history and Iranian civilization.
47. James Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love.
Nearly two thousand years of history have seen historians apologize, feel embarrassed, or flatly deny the existence of homosexuality in ancient Greece.
The magnificent, unflinching investigation of the passion that characterized Greek civilization is now offered by classics professor James Davidson.
Davidson illuminates every facet of Greek civilization through the prism of homosexuality, including politics, religion, art, and warfare.
Since the beginning of the contemporary gay rights movement, Davidson has produced the first comprehensive study of homosexuality in ancient Greece with astounding erudition, captivating wit, and no moral judgment.
48. V.S. Curtis & S. Stewart (eds.), Birth of the Persian Empire.
This book examines how the Achaemenid Persians, who ruled from just before the middle of the 6th century until Alexander the Great conquered them in the late 4th century B.C., caused the first Persian Empire to fall.
Eminent historians, also point the reader toward a deeper comprehension of how the Persian Empire came to be challenged by several conventional explanations.
49. V.S. Curtis & S. Stewart (eds.), The Age of the Parthians.
Unknown to most people, the Parthians were a fascinating historical civilization.
This 400-year-old imperial eastern behemoth, which spanned from the Hindu Kush to Mesopotamia, resisted Rome’s strength for ages.
The Parthians were horse-riding nomads with limited written records who instead focused on a strong oral and narrative heritage.
The Parthians’ origins, history, religion, and culture are examined in this book from several angles, as are assessments of their kingdom through the eyes of both imperial Rome and China.
50. African Dominion by Michael a. Gomez
Putting West Africa at the center of global history, this work challenges empire myths and is awarded the Martin A. Klein Prize in African History.
By combining political and social data with archaeological finds, source texts, and oral narratives, Gomez paints a vivid picture of empire creation in early West Africa before colonization.
Before invaders set foot on African soil, concepts of ethnicity, race, gender, and class were fully established.
According to the American Historical Association, historians will debate the implications of this work for years to come.
51. Moulie Vidas, Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud.
The Talmud is arguably the most significant religious literature in Jewish tradition, and Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud provide a fresh perspective on it.
Generally, the Talmud’s authors interpreted and modified prior traditions in a creative manner.
Using passages from the Babylonian Talmud, which was written in the rabbinic schools of late-ancient Mesopotamia, Vidas demonstrates how the Talmud’s authors contrasted their own voices with their ancestors.
Besides studying Zoroastrian, Christian, and mystical Jewish sources, he reconstructs the discussions that created the literary and intellectual nature of the Talmud.
52. Dominique Valbelle & Charles Bonnet, The Nubian Pharaohs. Black Kings on the Nile.
The Nubian Pharaohs beautifully illustrate the epic history of this little-known historical period, when the pharaohs of Egypt descended from Sudan, with more than 170 color images.
53. Romila Thapor, The Penguin History of Early India. From the Origins to AD 1300.
Early Indian History in the Penguin The history of India is fully described in From The Origins to AD 1300, from the time of its formation through its gradual coalition to its organization in AD 1300.
The narrative tells India’s tale rather than providing a chronological account of the events that led to the creation of India.
The history of India as told by Romila Thapar is made up of several tales about the various regions of the country that over time grew to form a single, magnificent nation.
Various topics, including religion, art, erotica, language, and society are examined in tandem.
54. Jacqueline Fabre-Serris & Alison Keith (eds.), Women and War in Antiquity.
Ancient literature is rife with images of men acquiring and using these values on the battlefield.
The martial virtues of courage, loyalty, cunning, and strength were important to male identity in the ancient world.
Sixteen researchers analyze classical texts in Women and War in Antiquity to reveal the intricate yet unstudied link between women and war in ancient Greece and Rome.
They demonstrate that women were far more involved in warfare than previously thought, representing martial ideals in both actual and mythical conflict.
55. William Sanders Scarborough (Michele Ronnick, ed.), The Works of William Sanders Scarborough. Black Classicist and Race Leader.
William Sanders Scarborough, the first professional classicist of African American ancestry, ascended from slavery to reach the presidency of Ohio’s Wilberforce University.
He broke down social and intellectual barriers by excelling in Latin and Greek and entering a subject that was typically seen as aristocratic and predominated by white males.
Scarborough had a great career in the area, was a member of several learned institutions, and had a busy publication history while being obscure to modern classicists.
W. E. B. Du Bois admired and imitated his life as an engaged thinker, concerned educator, and active member of society.
56. Richard Stoneman, Xerxes. A Persian Life.
History will remember Xerxes, the Great King of the Persian Empire from 486-465 B.C., as a vengeful dictator with uncontrollable ambition.
While all of Xerxes’ other accomplishments during his twenty-two-year rule have been eclipsed by the failure of his expedition, the stand that Leonidas and the 300 made against his army at Thermopylae is a symbol of bravery.
To illustrate the king from the Persian viewpoint, Stoneman draws on the most recent scholarship in Achaemenid history and archaeology.
This enlightening book does not gloss over Xerxes’ shortcomings but contrasts them with his accomplishments, such as the beauty of Persepolis’ architecture and an analysis of his religious beliefs.
The result is a complex portrayal of a man who oversaw a large, multiethnic empire that included Greek settlements throughout the West.
Ephraim Stern provides a compelling look at how archaeological study aids in our comprehension of the relationships between historical events and biblical narratives.
Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian eras of the Bible are referenced in Stern’s writings about numerous recent artifact discoveries. accompanied by images and pictures of priceless artifacts from antiquity, ranging from domestic pottery to exquisite jewelry and sculpture.
58. Frank Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity. Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience.
African immigrants to ancient Greece and Italy took part in a crucial period of classical history.
The Greeks and Romans labeled many of the aliens with a dark or ebony complexion as Ethiopians, despite the fact that evidence suggested that they were of many tribal and geographical origins.
Mr. Snowden concluded that the Ethiopians in ancient antiquity were regarded by pagans and Christians without bias.
He presented an extraordinarily thorough historical depiction of the first significant meeting of Europeans with dark and black Africans.
59. Frank Snowden, Before Color Prejudice. The Ancient View of Blacks.
Frank Snowden shows that the ancients did not discriminate against black people because of their skin color in this lavishly illustrated narrative of black-white interactions from the Pharaohs to the Caesars.
This book clarifies the causes of the absence of violent color discrimination in antiquity as well as the differences between white views toward black people in ancient and modern society.
60. Giulia Sissa (George Staunton, transl.), Sex and Sensuality in the Ancient World.
Giulia Sissa examines sensuality and sexual desire throughout the Greek, Roman, and early Christian eras in this intriguing book, showing how contemporary ideas of sexuality have evolved from the customs and philosophies of the past.
Sissa suggests that the significance of homosexuality has been overstated, Sissa challenges the presumptions of many other academics by highlighting the significance of heterosexual desire and passion in the classical period.
This is a startling new account of sexual attitudes in the classical and post-classical worlds that is biting and frequently controversial.
61. William Kelley Simpson (author), Robert K. Ritner & Vincent A. Tobin (translators), The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies and Poetry.
The most recent edition of this highly regarded anthology of ancient Egyptian literature includes about twenty-five new items, including pieces from the late literature of the Demotic period at the close of classical Egyptian history, along with updated translations of all the texts. Additionally, the book has a significant bibliography.
62. Matthew Simonton, Classical Greek Oligarchy. A Political History.
A crucial but underappreciated aspect of ancient Greek governance, the “rule of the few,” is fully reexamined in Classical Greek Oligarchy.
By demonstrating that oligarchy did not always exist in opposition to democracy but rather developed alongside it, Matthew Simonton challenges scholarly orthodoxy.
A significant advancement in the understanding of ancient politics is the classical Greek oligarchy.
It significantly enhances our knowledge of forms of power that continue to influence us today while filling a long-standing knowledge gap in non-democratic government.
63. Ivan van Sertima (ed.), Black Women in Antiquity.
The anthology that examines the significance of black African women’s roles as ancient rulers and strong power brokers in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
64. Annette Yoshiko Reed & Adam H. Becker (eds.), The Ways that Never Parted. Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.
On the premise that a clear “Parting of the Ways fashioned Judaism and Christianity,” traditional study on the history of Jewish and Christian ties has traditionally relied heavily on.
The two faiths, under this concept, formalized their differences by the second century and went on to evolve relatively independently of one another, engaging mostly via polemical strife and misperceptions.
This book seeks to pave the path for a more nuanced understanding of the history of these two religions and the ever-evolving but always significant interaction between them by challenging conventional notions about the fundamental distinctions between Judaism and Christianity.
65. Annette Yoshiko Reed, Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity.
The “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1-4 are charged in the Book of the Watchers, an Enochic apocalyptic from the third century B.C.E., with corrupting humanity by their lessons of metallurgy, cosmetology, magic, and divination.
This book explores the evolution of this motif in Second Temple, Rabbinic, and Early Medieval Judaism as well as Early, Late Antique, and Byzantine Christianity.
It does so in order to shed light on the history of Genesis interpretation, the shifting status of Enochic literature, and the role of parabiblical texts and traditions in the interaction between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.
66. Annette Yoshiko Reed & Ra’anan S. Boustan (eds.), Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions.
In addition to Judaism and Christianity, the Greco-Roman theological, philosophical, scientific, and “magical” traditions all held a special place in the Late Antique imagination for the idea of heaven.
In order to trace the patterns of unity and variety within the religious landscape of Late Antiquity, this collection investigates the many roles of heavenly imagery in various texts and traditions, drawing on the knowledge of researchers in Classics, Ancient History, Jewish Studies, and Patristics.
67. John Romer, Ancient Lives. The Story of the Pharaoh’s Tomb-Makers.
A brilliant account of the lives of the stonemasons, scribes, and painters who produced some of Egypt’s finest treasures is provided by John Romer, one of the most well-known historians working today and a renowned authority on the ancient world.
68. Donald B. Redford, City of the Ram-Man. The Story of Ancient Mendes.
In this lavishly illustrated book, famous archaeologist Donald Redford tells the tale of the ancient Egyptian city of Mendes, which was the center of the mystery worship of the “fornicating ram who climbs the beauty,” drawing on the most recent finds, many of which are his own.
Over the last two decades, Redford and his colleagues’ excavations have shed a ton of light on this unique place of prayer and political power in the Nile Delta.
The city of the Ram-Man is a singular description of a long-lost monument of Egyptian history, religion, and culture.
It is a chronological tale with sweeping illustrations, photos, and sidebars that provide background information.
69. John Ray, The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt.
This book relates the tale of the Rosetta Stone, beginning with its discovery during Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt and ending with its present, contentious status as the most popular exhibit item in the British Museum.
The book contains an appendix with a complete translation of the Stone’s content and concludes with a chapter on the political and cultural issues surrounding the Stone.
70. Karen Radner, Ancient Assyria. A Very Short Introduction.
One of the most powerful empires in the Ancient Near East was Assyria.
From the beginning of the second millennium B.C. until the end of the seventh century B.C.
Karen Radner depicts the history of Assyria from city state to empire in this Very Short Introduction.
Since the middle of the 19th century, Assyrian towns have been intensively excavated in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Israel.
Additional sites in Iran, Lebanon, and Jordan have also yielded significant data.
One of the most geographically extensive, socially diversified, multicultural, and multiethnic nations in the early first century B.C. was the Assyrian Empire.
Radner highlights the variety of human experiences across the Assyrian Empire by providing insights into the lives of the kingdom’s citizens through archaeological data.
71. Parvaneh Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire. The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran.
Why did the Sasanian empire of Persia fall to the all-conquering Arab armies of Islam in the seventh century C.E. so rapidly and disastrously? This is a question that has baffled scholars for centuries.
Decline and Fall of the Sasanians offers a plausible modern solution.
According to Professor Pourshariati, the empire’s own internal flaws as well as a previous, deeply ingrained corrosion and decay caused the fall.
72. Bezalel Porten, Archives from Elephantine. The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony.
Bezalel Porten offers a glimpse into the day-to-day activities of the Jewish military garrison on the island of Elephantine, which was situated on the border of Egypt and Nubia in the fifth century B.C.E., by translating and analyzing 175 papyri written primarily in Aramaic.
73. Sarah Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. Women in Classical Antiquity.
‘’The first overall portrayal of women in ancient times to incorporate the salient ideas of contemporary feminism.
Its status as the fundamental work on women’s history in Greece and Rome hasn’t exactly been contested, despite significant disagreement’’. – Mary Beard, Times Literary Supplement.
A study of the Roman triumphal procession as a spectacle and performance, Staging the World is shown.
Ida Steinberg examines how Rome portrayed and viewed the vanquished on parade in an effort to demonstrate what narratives the Roman triumph communicated about the defeated and what notions it spread about Rome itself.
Black Athena by Martin Bernal makes an appearance. In 1987, The Afro-Asian Roots of Classical Civilization aroused heated discussion and controversy in North America, Europe, and Africa.
African Athena explores the intellectual and literary movements that opposed white, Euro-American interpretations of the classical past and how they shaped the present.
Apocalypse examines how historical and contemporary earthquakes have impacted history—and, for certain civilizations, seemingly signaled the end of the world—by bringing the most recent scientific data to light on biblical stories, mythology, and the archaeological record.
As Nur demonstrates, it is crucial to spot earthquake damage in the shifting foundations and fell arches of ancient remains today since the scientific knowledge of earthquake dangers throughout the world is still insufficient.
The Apocalypse outlines where and why earthquakes occurred in the past and why they could occur again.
77. William Naphy, Born to Be Gay. The History of Homosexuality.
In the West, there has long been a presumption that attitudes on sex and sexuality are essentially the same everywhere.
This has never happened. As a crucial component of puberty or even as a kind of devotion, many ancient societies actively encouraged same-sex partnerships.
From Bacchanalian orgies to Gay Pride, Born to be Gay offers a bold look at the history of homosexuality.
78. V.M. Masson, A.H. Dani & Janos Harmatta (eds.), History of Civilizations in Central Asia, Vol. 1
A two-volume effort to provide a thorough overview of the history of civilizations in central Asia is in its first book.
79. Marc Van De Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East, c. 3000–323 BC.
The third edition of A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC provides a thorough survey of the multiracial civilizations of the ancient Near East while including the most recent scholarly findings.
80. Marvin W. Meyer & Richard Smith (eds.), Ancient Christian Magic. Coptic Texts of Ritual Power.
This intriguing collection of magical books from ancient Egypt reveals the strange rites, occult treatments, incantatory and supernatural aspects, and esoteric healing techniques that blossomed in early Christianity.
The authors analyze the role of healing, prayer, miracles, and magic in the early Christian experience and deepen our understanding of Christianity and Gnosticism as a dynamic folk religion by setting these rarely encountered writings in their historical context and examining their relevance.
81. Eric Meyers & Mark A. Chancey, Alexander to Constantine. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible vol. 3.
In this lavishly illustrated and masterfully integrated book, Eric M. Meyers and Mark A.
Chancey retells the history of ancient Palestine using the most current, ground-breaking archaeological data.
In order to provide a thorough overview of the turbulent intellectual and religious changes that impacted world history during the Greco-Roman period.
Perhaps, they combine archaeological evidence with ancient literary sources (including the Bible) spanning from Alexander the Great’s conquest of the world in the fourth century B.C.E. to the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century C.E.
82. Amihai Mazar, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible vol 1. 10,000–586 B.C.E.
Tens of thousands of enthusiasts, both amateur and professional, spent the summer months in Israel, digging in the dunes in an effort to unearth artifacts that somehow link to the locations and events described in the Bible.
The history and archaeology of the biblical regions are examined in this text.
83. Adrienne Mayor, The Amazons. Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World.
The mythical archenemies of the ancient Greeks were the Amazons, powerful warrior women who lived on the periphery of the known world.
National Book Award nominee Adrienne Mayor depicts the Amazons in this exhaustively researched, comprehensive, and beautifully illustrated book in a way that has never been seen before.
This is the first thorough analysis of female warriors in myth and history from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China.
Curiosity-driven, Mayor unearths long-forgotten proof and separates fact from fiction to demonstrate how real women from the Eurasian steppes came to be mythologized as Amazons, the equals of men.
84. Leonard H. Lesko & Barbara S. Lesko, Pharaoh’s Workers. The Village of Deir el Medina.
The archaeological site at Deir el Medina on the west bank of the Nile near Luxor is the main subject of Pharaoh’s Workers.
There, in what has been referred to as “the earliest known artists’ colony,” the workers who prepared the royal tombs resided.
They left behind a rich cache of artifacts and documents that allow us to gain insight into not only their living arrangements and daily routines, but also their religious beliefs and innermost thoughts.
85. Gwendolyn Leick, Mesopotamia. The Invention of the City.
Mesopotamia, one of the major ancient civilizations, was located in a region that roughly corresponds to modern-day Iraq, yet it is still mostly unknown today.
But the earliest towns were built in Mesopotamia around 7,000 years ago.
This is the first book to describe daily life in 10 Mesopotamian cities, from Eridu, the Eden of Mesopotamia, to Babylon, the first great city, the final stronghold of a dying civilization, and a poignant emblem of decadence.
A prophet who lived in Persia is responsible for the concepts of a single deity, the cosmic conflict between good and evil, and the Apocalypse.
He lived long before the construction of the first Hebrew temple, the birth of Christ, or the mission of Muhammad.
He went by the name of Zarathustra, and his teachings eventually dominated societies from the Indus to the Nile and even reached Britain.
Paul Kriwaczek follows Zarathustra’s enigmatic path back through time and across the Islamic, Christian, and Jewish cultures to discover his legacy at a wedding ceremony in modern-day Central Asia, in the Cathar heresy of medieval France, and among the mystery cults of the Roman empire.
He looks into pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia before finally bringing us face to face with the prophet, a teacher whose extreme humility startled and challenged his day and whose teachings have had a lasting impact on Western thought.
The end result is a grand tour de force of exploration and historical research by a traditional explorer.
87. Paul Kriwaczek, Babylon. Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization.
In Babylon, Paul Kriwaczek recounts the history of Mesopotamia from the earliest settlers about 7,000 years ago to the eclipse of Babylon in the sixth century B.C.E.
The central narrative of this book is the rise of Babylon, which began around 1800 B.C.E. under the Amorite monarch Hammuramibi.
Even if Babylon’s fortunes fluctuated, it retained its appeal as the greatest metropolis in antiquity.
88. David Kessler, The Falashas. A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews.
Kessler links the origin of the Ethiopian Jewish community to the Jewish communities that existed in ancient Egypt, notably at Elephantine on the Nile, and in the ancient Meroitic Kingdom, in modern-day Sudan known in the Bible as Cush.
He bases this claim on tradition and folklore. This book’s amazing, inspirational, and engrossing tale adds much to our knowledge of the history of the Horn of Africa.
89. Homa Katouzian, The Persians. Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran.
This definitive history of Iran includes every significant event from the time of the ancient Persian Empire to the present-day Iranian state.
Katouzian incorporates Iran’s key literary, cultural, and political histories while writing from an Iranian viewpoint as opposed to a European one.
This book, a magisterial history, also provides a great backdrop for Iran’s place in the modern world.
90. Sandra R. Joshel, Slavery in the Roman World.
In Rome, everyone was a slave. Roman society and culture were substantially affected by slavery.
Sandra Joshel provides a thorough analysis of Roman slavery in her book.
She studies the legal status of Roman slaves, tracks the steps of the sale of slaves, analyzes the relationships between slaves and slaveholders, and describes the social and family life of slaves using a range of sources, including literature, law, and material culture.
This book considers food, clothing, and housing for slaves and is richly illustrated with images of slaves, captives, and the material conditions of slaves.
This places slaves in their actual environments, such as the cook in the kitchen, the maid in her owner’s bedroom, the smith in a workshop, and the farm laborer in a vineyard.
91. Salima Ikram, Death and Burial in Ancient Egypt.
Ancient Egyptians placed equal importance on life, death, and the afterlife.
The whole subject of death in ancient Egypt is covered in this beautifully illustrated book, covering afterlife beliefs, mummification, corpse protection, tomb construction and décor, funerary items, and the burial service itself.
Additionally, it discusses how the living and the dead interact within ancient Egyptian culture’s magico-religious system.
92. Salima Ikram, Ancient Egypt. An Introduction.
This book explores methodology, the history of the field of Egyptology, religion, social organization, urban and rural life, and death after providing a geographical overview that explains the evolution of Egyptian belief systems and the country’s subsequent political growth.
Additionally, a section on how individuals of all ranks lived is included. luxuriantly illustrated with several odd pictures of rarely visited locations that are rarely illustrated.
93. The Celts by Barry Cunliffe
They were the enemies of the ancient Romans. Many Britons believed them to be a wild and strange tribe.
Even today, a blend of legend and plain falsehood frequently obscures the true history of the Celtic people.
British archaeologist Barry Cunliffe examines the true lives and history of this frequently misunderstood and misrepresented tribe in this succinct and persuasive introduction to the Celts as a dynamic, historical people as opposed to fairy tales or boogeymen.
94. Mexico by Michael D. Coe and Rex Koontz
This “masterly” book chronicles ancient Mexican civilization from the early Olmec culture to the Aztecs, and Library Journal praises it for “the complexity of Mexico’s ancient cultures are perceptively depicted and interpreted.”
This text includes information from archaeological excavations of some of the earliest pyramids in the city of Teotihuacan and the Huastec region, as well as some of the most recent discoveries from the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
It incorporates new findings and insights drawn from various disciplines. The most approachable and authoritative introduction to the area’s ancient civilizations, this invaluable book—now in its seventh edition—has long been acknowledged.
95. Early China: a Social and Cultural History by Li Feng
Professor of Early Chinese History and Archaeology at Columbia University Li Feng leads readers through the origins of Chinese civilization and culture from the beginning of human history until the end of the Han Dynasty in 220 CE.
This completely illustrated volume draws on the most recent scholarly research and archaeological findings to discuss everything from the beginnings of written language to the emergence of numerous faiths to the evolving art of war and the creation of an empire.
This book not only vividly depicts the earliest periods of Chinese history, it also demonstrates how those earliest occurrences influenced contemporary life both in China and elsewhere in the world.
This work is a useful introduction to a vast region and is understandable for any Western reader.
96. Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi by Timothy R. Pauketat
The biggest Native American metropolis north of Mexico is less widely recognized than the ancient world’s Mayan and Aztec empires, which are both quite well known.
The vanished city of Cahokia, which was centered on a massive central square, was once one of North America’s busiest civilization hubs.
It was located close to modern-day St. Louis along the Mississippi River’s margins.
There are currently relatively few remnants of the thousands of feet that previously walked on this earth.
Timothy R. Pauketat, an anthropology professor and archaeologist, unearths this interesting reminder of prehistoric Native American society in his ground-breaking and understandable book.
97. Babylon by Paul Kriwaczek
Most historians agree that the Fertile Crescent, which is located between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers’ floodplains, served as the birthplace of ancient civilization thousands of years ago.
History’s most significant events have taken place in the cities that were established here.
The early stages of human history are depicted in Babylon by the BBC’s Paul Kriwaczek, from the first settlements in Mesopotamia until the fall of Babylon in the sixth century BCE.
The growth and fall of Babylon, often regarded as the greatest metropolis in antiquity, has evolved into a modern-day metaphor and tale that is frequently used.
In order to reach the reality at the center of both that tale and civilization itself, this book first removes the myth.
98. The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor
A fascinating account of the illustrious king, rebel, and poisoner who opposed the Roman Empire In honor of his military prowess, Machiavelli.
His top-secret anti-poison remedy was sought after by the European aristocracy.
His life served as the inspiration for Mozart’s first opera, and poets and playwrights have for ages told gory, romantic tales of his triumphs, tragedies, intrigues, concubines, and enigmatic demise.
However, until today, no contemporary historian has given the complete account of Mithradates, the cruel monarch and visionary rebel who opposed Rome’s authority in the first century BC.
99. Aztec History: The Incredible History Of One Of The Greatest Ancient Civilizations Of Our World by William Myron Price
The Amazing History Of One Of The World’s Most Influential Ancient Civilizations.
When using the term “civilization” to describe the quick urbanization of certain indigenous societies while tracing the history of human progress, particularly in contrast to other, less developed, and primitive cultures.
The Aztecs, if their own records are to be believed, transformed human sacrifice into an art form with a theological and mythical significance that cannot be overstated, although all Mesoamerican civilizations are said to have taken part in it.
The extent to which the Aztecs practiced ritual sacrifice has also generated a great deal of controversy among historians who cannot reach a consensus.
100. Athens Burning: The Persian Invasion of Greece and the Evacuation of Attica by Robert Garland
The compelling account of how the Athenians managed to escape one of the key moments in ancient Greek history—the Persian invasion of their country.
Awarded the CHOICE Excellent Academic Title of the Year ACRL After King Xerxes’ victory at the Battle of Thermopylae, tens of thousands of Athenians fled between June 480 and August 479 BC.
In the aftermath of the invading Persian army, they fled their homes and ancestral graves and looked for asylum elsewhere.
All males of military age were recruited into the fleet, while women and children were transported to one haven and the elderly to another.
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