History books

Less covered topics?

Warning: Archaeology within!

I haven’t finished with it yet, but I really like it. It’s not perfect (what is?) but I really like it.

Concerning modern writers, you can get a good feel for the soldier’s experience in the Hellenistic world through Victor Davis Hanson’s earlier works

Yes, if you haven’t read Hanson, I can’t recommend him strongly enough. He’s a solid historian who comes from a “less than typical” academic background (he was a vintner for most of his life). What really sets him apart from most is the strength of his prose. He understands concepts like diction that most academic historians simply can’t seem to fathom.

Even if you don’t agree with his political views, he’s got some interesting stuff to say about culture.

While I think many of Osprey’s books are excellent, under no circumstances should you read anything written by Stephen Turnbull. He’s terrible; he doesn’t use primary sources (it was clear at least early in his career that he did not know Chinese or Japanese), makes wild guesses, and makes huge mistakes.

Avoid Turnbull like the plague.

But man, Angus McBride, one of the illustrators for Osprey, is fantastic. Just about any book that he’s work on is worked on is worth picking up (unless, of course, it was written by you-know-who). Osprey recently released a book of his work and it’s pretty great.

As for recommendations on history books… I got nothing that hasn’t already been mentioned.

Are you serious? He is supposed to be a major historian of the period and culture, especially Japanese.

— Alan

This looks great, but I can’t really afford to spend $90 on one book right now. I might have to check it out at the library though.

It’s a good book. I’ve read it five or six times over the years. Good general Greek history. I consider it sort of a companion piece to HH Scullard’s History of the Roman World: 753 to 146 BCE, which covers Roman Republican history in a similar way. Both are pretty much definitive, and highly readable. Anyone interested in ancient Greece and Rome should own copies of both. Great books. Scullard’s From the Gracchi to Nero is also pretty handy for the following period, though there are better books on this era out there, and a lot of great imperial bios for the early empire.

Sorry to say this, but good luck. At least where sources are concerned. There just isn’t a lot extant (at least in terms of actual histories, and not inscriptions, fragments, etc.) that doesn’t deal with well-worn events and themes…which is why they’re well-worn. ;-) If you are looking for more esoteric stuff in sources, however, check with Loeb. There are collections of fragments, remnants, inscriptions, etc., and the volumes dedicated to particular authors are generally quite complete, with all of each individual’s extant output.

If you’re looking for modern works, pick up Sealey and dig into the notes. There are loads and loads of citations there that should give you plenty of direction for reading about specific topics. Unfortunately, much of what I think you’re looking for is covered almost solely in academic journals. Got a university library close by?

This looks great, but I can’t really afford to spend $90 on one book right now. I might have to check it out at the library though.[/quote]

It’s available, in print, in paperback. I don’t think I spent more than $25 on it.

— Alan

It’s a good book. I’ve read it five or six times over the years. Good general Greek history. I consider it sort of a companion piece to HH Scullard’s History of the Roman World: 753 to 146 BCE, which covers Roman Republican history in a similar way. Both are pretty much definitive, and highly readable. Anyone interested in ancient Greece and Rome should own copies of both. Great books. Scullard’s From the Gracchi to Nero is also pretty handy for the following period, though there are better books on this era out there, and a lot of great imperial bios for the early empire.[/quote]

Thanks for the recommendation. Scullard is somewhere on my “to buy” list, but with so many dozens of Roman books already, it hasn’t been a high priority. My own book is on the Late Republic, so my shekels have been going there for research material.

You’ve never let me down on a book recommendation yet, so I’ll move Scullard up in priority.

Troy

That’s what I was thinking too. I am teaching at UAH (Alabama-Huntsville) right now, but their library is not great. Technically though, I am still a student at Vandy through December, and their library uses JSTOR and similar online subscriptions, so I can probably just download some of these articles. That’s a good thought. I don’t suppose you know any names (even of particular periodicals that are better) that I should look for?

That’s what I was thinking too. I am teaching at UAH (Alabama-Huntsville) right now, but their library is not great. Technically though, I am still a student at Vandy through December, and their library uses JSTOR and similar online subscriptions, so I can probably just download some of these articles. That’s a good thought. I don’t suppose you know any names (even of particular periodicals that are better) that I should look for?[/quote]

I love JSTOR. Very easy to search. It has become one of my major research avenues, and I even found TRS Broughton’s book on Romans who lost elections (Ironically presented at the [b]Conference for Useful Knowledge[/b].) Just do a keyword search and you’ll probably be fine. Classical stuff is all over the place - philosophy journals, philology journals, history, archaeology, Roman Studies, religion…especially in the 50s and 60s.

Unfortunately, much recent classical scholarship has focused on minutiae more than chronology or events. They are written for specialists, so a certain grasp of the material is presumed.

The stuff between big events is, as Brett notes, hard to get your mitts on because if it was important it was covered by the ancient historians. As an academic, I don’t have to tell you that footnotes are half the fun of reading, but it can be frustrating to have a note refer to a “fragment” or a partial translation of a stele somewhere in Asia Minor. Occasionally a great historian (like Gruen) will spend a lot of time discussing these partial sources and offering alternative interpretations. Most of the time they don’t.

If you are pointed to an ancient author, a lot of the material is online at the Perseus Digital Library and The Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum. Depending on your school library, some of these texts may be harder to find than others.

Troy