The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World
Author: Tom Holland
Publisher: Abacus Software
In the 6th century AD, the Near East was divided between two great empires: the Persian and the Roman. A hundred years on, and one had vanished for ever, while the other was a dismembered, bleeding trunk. In their place, a new superpower had arisen: the empire of the Arabs. So profound was this upheaval that it spelled, in effect, the end of the ancient world. But the changes that marked the period were more than merely political or even cultural: there was also a transformation of human society with incalculable consequences for the future. Today, over half the world's population subscribes to one of the various religions that took on something like their final form during the last centuries of antiquity. Wherever men or women are inspired by belief in a single god to think or behave in a certain way, they bear witness to the abiding impact of this extraordinary, convulsive age - though as Tom Holland demonstrates, much of what Jews, Christians and Muslims believe about the origins of their religion is open to debate. In the Shadow of the Sword explores how a succession of great empires came to identify themselves with a new and revolutionary understanding of the divine. It is a story vivid with drama, horror and startling achievement, and stars many of the most remarkable rulers ever seen.
The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire
Author: Tom Holland
The acclaimed author of Rubicon and other superb works of popular history now produces a thrillingly panoramic (and incredibly timely) account of the rise of Islam. No less significant than the collapse of the Roman Republic or the Persian invasion of Greece, the evolution of the Arab empire is one of the supreme narratives of ancient history, a story dazzlingly rich in drama, character, and achievement. Just like the Romans, the Arabs came from nowhere to carve out a stupefyingly vast dominion—except that they achieved their conquests not over the course of centuries as the Romans did but in a matter of decades. Just like the Greeks during the Persian wars, they overcame seemingly insuperable odds to emerge triumphant against the greatest empire of the day—not by standing on the defensive, however, but by hurling themselves against all who lay in their path.
Author: Tom Holland
A "fresh...thrilling" (The Guardian) account of the Graeco-Persian Wars. In the fifth century B.C., a global superpower was determined to bring truth and order to what it regarded as two terrorist states. The superpower was Persia, incomparably rich in ambition, gold, and men. The terrorist states were Athens and Sparta, eccentric cities in a poor and mountainous backwater: Greece. The story of how their citizens took on the Great King of Persia, and thereby saved not only themselves but Western civilization as well, is as heart-stopping and fateful as any episode in history. Tom Holland’s brilliant study of these critical Persian Wars skillfully examines a conflict of critical importance to both ancient and modern history.
The Last Years of the Roman Republic
Author: Tom Holland
A vivid historical account of the social world of Rome as it moved from republic to empire. In 49 B.C., the seven hundred fifth year since the founding of Rome, Julius Caesar crossed a small border river called the Rubicon and plunged Rome into cataclysmic civil war. Tom Holland’s enthralling account tells the story of Caesar’s generation, witness to the twilight of the Republic and its bloody transformation into an empire. From Cicero, Spartacus, and Brutus, to Cleopatra, Virgil, and Augustus, here are some of the most legendary figures in history brought thrillingly to life. Combining verve and freshness with scrupulous scholarship, Rubicon is not only an engrossing history of this pivotal era but a uniquely resonant portrait of a great civilization in all its extremes of self-sacrifice and rivalry, decadence and catastrophe, intrigue, war, and world-shaking ambition.
Romans, Persians and the Rise of Islam
Author: Peter Crawford
Publisher: Pen and Sword
War of the Three Gods is a military history of the first half of seventh century, with heavy focus on the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Heraclius (AD 610-641). This was a pivotal time in world history as well as a dramatic one. The Eastern Roman Empire was brought to the very brink of extinction by the Sassanid Persians, before Heraclius managed to inflict a crushing defeat on the Sassanids with a desperate, final gambit. His conquests were short-lived, however, for the newly-converted adherents of Islam burst upon the region, administering the coup de grace to Sassanid power and laying siege to Constantinople itself to usher in a new era. ??Peter Crawford skilfully narrates the three-way struggle between the Christian Byzantine, Sassanid Persian and Islamic empires, a period peopled with fascinating characters, including Heraclius, Khusro II and the Prophet Muhammad himself. Many of the epic battles and sieges are described in as much detail as possible including Nineveh, Yarmouk, Qadisiyyah and Nihawand, Jerusalem and Constantinople. The strategies and tactics of these very different armies are discussed and analysed, while maps allow the reader to place the events and follow the varying fortunes of the contending empires. This is an exciting and important study of a conflict that reshaped the map of the world.
The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar
Author: Tom Holland
Author and historian Tom Holland returns to his roots in Roman history and the audience he cultivated with Rubicon—his masterful, witty, brilliantly researched popular history of the fall of the Roman republic—with Dynasty, a luridly fascinating history of the reign of the first five Roman emperors. Dynasty continues Rubicon's story, opening where that book ended: with the murder of Julius Caesar. This is the period of the first and perhaps greatest Roman Emperors and it's a colorful story of rule and ruination, running from the rise of Augustus through to the death of Nero. Holland's expansive history also has distinct shades of I Claudius, with five wonderfully vivid (and in three cases, thoroughly depraved) Emperors—Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero—featured, along with numerous fascinating secondary characters. Intrigue, murder, naked ambition and treachery, greed, gluttony, lust, incest, pageantry, decadence—the tale of these five Caesars continues to cast a mesmerizing spell across the millennia.
The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom
Author: Tom Holland
Publisher: Hachette UK
Of all the civilisations existing in the year 1000, that of Western Europe seemed the unlikeliest candidate for future greatness. Compared to the glittering empires of Byzantium or Islam, the splintered kingdoms on the edge of the Atlantic appeared impoverished, fearful and backward. But the anarchy of these years proved to be, not the portents of the end of the world, as many Christians had dreaded, but rather the birthpangs of a radically new order. MILLENNIUM is a stunning panoramic account of the two centuries on either side of the apocalyptic year 1000. This was the age of Canute, William the Conqueror and Pope Gregory VII, of Vikings, monks and serfs, of the earliest castles and the invention of knighthood, and of the primal conflict between church and state. The story of how the distinctive culture of Europe - restless, creative and dynamic - was forged from out of the convulsions of these extraordinary times is as fascinating and as momentous as any in history.
Author: Peter Stothard
Publisher: The Overlook Press
When Peter Stothard found himself stranded in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in the winter of 2010, he set out to explore a nation on the brink of revolution. Guided by two native Egyptians, Stothard reawakens his life long obsession with the life and myth of Cleopatra while exploring the city and country she once ruled. Blending aspects of memoir, history, and travel narrative into an elegant and unique tapestry, Stothard uses the sights and sounds of the ancient city to reconnect with the experiences that shaped his life. Melancholy yet often humorous, Alexandria probingly deconstructs the enigma of modern Egypt—with its uneasy mix of classical touchstones and increasingly volatile Middle Eastern politics—and offers a first–hand glimpse into the fracturing state just before the Tahrir Square uprising and the start of the Arab Spring.
The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom
Author: Peter J. Leithart
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Leithart reads the original ancient, the seminal secondary, and lots of other sources to contend that Constantine was a believer and a conciliator who sought theological agreement for the political stability it brought. Contra the influential interpretation of Anabaptist theologian John Howard Yoder, Leithart maintains that when Constantine is understood in historical context, his disestablishment of pagan religion opens a place for a Christian understanding of sacrifice and of the significance of the kingdom of God.--From publisher description
The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic
Author: Mike Duncan
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The creator of the award-winning podcast series The History of Rome and Revolutions brings to life the bloody battles, political machinations, and human drama that set the stage for the fall of the Roman Republic. The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome's model of cooperative and participatory government remained remarkably durable and unmatched in the history of the ancient world. In 146 BC, Rome finally emerged as the strongest power in the Mediterranean. But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome now ruled: rising economic inequality disrupted traditional ways of life, endemic social and ethnic prejudice led to clashes over citizenship and voting rights, and rampant corruption and ruthless ambition sparked violent political clashes that cracked the once indestructible foundations of the Republic. Chronicling the years 146-78 BC, The Storm Before the Storm dives headlong into the first generation to face this treacherous new political environment. Abandoning the ancient principles of their forbearers, men like Marius, Sulla, and the Gracchi brothers set dangerous new precedents that would start the Republic on the road to destruction and provide a stark warning about what can happen to a civilization that has lost its way.
Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East
Author: Gerard Russell
Publisher: Basic Books
Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange faiths: one regards the Greek prophets as incarnations of God, another reveres Lucifer in the form of a peacock, and yet another believes that their followers are reincarnated beings who have existed in various forms for thousands of years. These religions represent the last vestiges of the magnificent civilizations in ancient history: Persia, Babylon, Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Their followers have learned how to survive foreign attacks and the perils of assimilation. But today, with the Middle East in turmoil, they face greater challenges than ever before. In Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, former diplomat Gerard Russell ventures to the distant, nearly impassable regions where these mysterious religions still cling to survival. He lives alongside the Mandaeans and Ezidis of Iraq, the Zoroastrians of Iran, the Copts of Egypt, and others. He learns their histories, participates in their rituals, and comes to understand the threats to their communities. Historically a tolerant faith, Islam has, since the early 20th century, witnessed the rise of militant, extremist sects. This development, along with the rippling effects of Western invasion, now pose existential threats to these minority faiths. And as more and more of their youth flee to the West in search of greater freedoms and job prospects, these religions face the dire possibility of extinction. Drawing on his extensive travels and archival research, Russell provides an essential record of the past, present, and perilous future of these remarkable religions.
Author: E. H. Gombrich
Publisher: Yale University Press
E. H. Gombrich's Little History of the World, though written in 1935, has become one of the treasures of historical writing since its first publication in English in 2005. The Yale edition alone has now sold over half a million copies, and the book is available worldwide in almost thirty languages. Gombrich was of course the best-known art historian of his time, and his text suggests illustrations on every page. This illustrated edition of the Little History brings together the pellucid humanity of his narrative with the images that may well have been in his mind's eye as he wrote the book. The two hundred illustrations—most of them in full color—are not simple embellishments, though they are beautiful. They emerge from the text, enrich the author's intention, and deepen the pleasure of reading this remarkable work. For this edition the text is reset in a spacious format, flowing around illustrations that range from paintings to line drawings, emblems, motifs, and symbols. The book incorporates freshly drawn maps, a revised preface, and a new index. Blending high-grade design, fine paper, and classic binding, this is both a sumptuous gift book and an enhanced edition of a timeless account of human history.
The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization
Author: Lars Brownworth
Publisher: Broadway Books
Filled with unforgettable stories of emperors, generals, and religious patriarchs, as well as fascinating glimpses into the life of the ordinary citizen, Lost to the West reveals how much we owe to the Byzantine Empire that was the equal of any in its achievements, appetites, and enduring legacy. For more than a millennium, Byzantium reigned as the glittering seat of Christian civilization. When Europe fell into the Dark Ages, Byzantium held fast against Muslim expansion, keeping Christianity alive. Streams of wealth flowed into Constantinople, making possible unprecedented wonders of art and architecture. And the emperors who ruled Byzantium enacted a saga of political intrigue and conquest as astonishing as anything in recorded history. Lost to the West is replete with stories of assassination, mass mutilation and execution, sexual scheming, ruthless grasping for power, and clashing armies that soaked battlefields with the blood of slain warriors numbering in the tens of thousands. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Frantz Fanon
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Category: Political Science
Frantz Fanon was one of the twentieth century’s most important theorists of revolution, colonialism, and racial difference, and this, his masterwork, is a classic alongside Orientalism and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The Wretched of the Earth is a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation. Bearing singular insight into the rage of colonized peoples and the role of violence in historical change, the book also incisively attacks postindependence disenfranchisement of the masses by the elite on one hand, and intertribal and interfaith animosities on the other. A veritable handbook of social reorganization for leaders of emerging nations, The Wretched of the Earth has had a major impact on civil rights, anticolonialism, and black-consciousness movements around the world. This new translation updates its language for a new generation of readers and its lessons are more vital now than ever.
Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic
Author: Robert L. O'Connell
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
A dramatic account of the violent ancient battle traces the massive defeat of the huge but inexperienced Roman army by Hannibal's forces, interpreting the larger course of the Second Punic War and the often-disastrous ways in which the battle has been imitated throughout history.
War and Empire in the Age of Justinian
Author: Peter Heather
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Between the fall of the western Roman Empire in the fifth century and the collapse of the east in the face of the Arab invasions in the seventh, the remarkable era of the Emperor Justinian (527-568) dominated the Mediterranean region. Famous for his conquests in Italy and North Africa, and for the creation of spectacular monuments such as the Hagia Sophia, his reign was also marked by global religious conflict within the Christian world and an outbreak of plague that some have compared to the Black Death. For many historians, Justinian is far more than an anomaly of Byzantine ambition between the eras of Attila and Muhammad; he is the causal link that binds together the two moments of Roman imperial collapse. Determined to reverse the losses Rome suffered in the fifth century, Justinian unleashed an aggressive campaign in the face of tremendous adversity, not least the plague. This book offers a fundamentally new interpretation of his conquest policy and its overall strategic effect, which has often been seen as imperial overreach, making the regime vulnerable to the Islamic takeover of its richest territories in the seventh century and thus transforming the great Roman Empire of Late Antiquity into its pale shadow of the Middle Ages. In Rome Resurgent, historian Peter Heather draws heavily upon contemporary sources, including the writings of Procopius, the principal historian of the time, while also recasting that author's narrative by bringing together new perspectives based on a wide array of additional source material. A huge body of archaeological evidence has become available for the sixth century, providing entirely new means of understanding the overall effects of Justinian's war policies. Building on his own distinguished work on the Vandals, Goths, and Persians, Heather also gives much fuller coverage to Rome's enemies than Procopius ever did. A briskly paced narrative by a master historian, Rome Resurgent promises to introduce readers to this captivating and unjustly overlooked chapter in ancient warfare.
Author: Herbert George Wells
Category: Science fiction
H.G. Wells's hugely influential book tracks the exploits of a writer who struggles to survive an alien invasion of Victorian England. After seeing the monstrous Martians firsthand, the narrator attempts to evade their destructive mechanized vehicles and must stay on the run to avoid detection. As he meets other desperate humans, he becomes increasingly pessimistic about any chance of survival. The novel stands as a major milestone in science-fiction literature, inspiring legions of subsequent writers and an endless array of hostile-alien scenarios.
Author: Robert Spencer
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Presents a critical analysis of the differences between Christianity and Islam and maintains that Islam contains a political agenda which endorses violence and aggression against non-Muslims.
The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire
Author: Robert G. Hoyland
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
In just over a hundred years--from the death of Muhammad in 632 to the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750--the followers of the Prophet swept across the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Their armies threatened states as far afield as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period of time is a question that has perplexed historians for centuries. Most recent popular accounts have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later for the purpose of demonstrating that God had chosen the Arabs as his vehicle for spreading Islam throughout the world. In this ground-breaking new history, distinguished Middle East expert Robert G. Hoyland assimilates not only the rich biographical and geographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous with the conquests. The story of the conquests traditionally begins with the revelation of Islam to Muhammad. In God's Path, however, begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by the two superpowers of Byzantium and Sasanian Persia, "the two eyes of the world." In between these empires, in western (Saudi) Arabia, emerged a distinct Arab identity, which helped weld its members into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia--the Khazars, Bulgars, Avars, and Turks--also played important roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire. Well-paced and accessible, In God's Path presents a pioneering new narrative of one the great transformational periods in all of history.
The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
Author: Tom Holland
The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama. This was the century of Julius Caesar, the gambler whose addiction to glory led him to the banks of the Rubicon, and beyond; of Cicero, whose defence of freedom would make him a byword for eloquence; of Spartacus, the slave who dared to challenge a superpower; of Cleopatra, the queen who did the same. Tom Holland brings to life this strange and unsettling civilization, with its extremes of ambition and self-sacrifice, bloodshed and desire. Yet alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us. Its citizens were obsessed by celebrity chefs, all-night dancing and exotic pets; they fought elections in law courts and were addicted to spin; they toppled foreign tyrants in the name of self-defence. Two thousand years may have passed, but we remain the Romans' heirs.