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The Oxford History of the Classical World

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The history, achievements & legacies of Greek & Roman antiquity come to life in the pages of this comprehensive & beautifully illustrated volume. Following a format similar to that of The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, this brings together the work of 30 authorities & organizes their contributions into three main sections. The 1st covers Greece from ...more
Hardcover, 893 pages
Published 1988 by Oxford University Press (first published July 17th 1986)
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  209 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Thirty-two chapters divided chronologically into three sections (Greece, Greece & Rome and Rome) covering topics with essays on literature, history, the arts and architecture from the Archaic period through to Late Antiquity. Well illustrated and accompanied by maps throughout. It is an excellent book to have handy when you need a three page essay on Virgil or Hellenistic Philosophy (view spoiler). Potentially it is also of great u ...more
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history_ancient

3.5 stars.

A very ambitious book trying to explore all different facets of ancient western civilization (Greece and Rome - the latter with a focus primarily on the late Republican and Early Empire periods).

While political and military history are (to some extent) covered by this book, a significant part is actually dedicated to complementary aspects such as society structure and evolution, economy, literature, art and culture, philosophy and religion.

The book does not present a uniform, continuou
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A range of academic essays dealing with many aspects of the histories of the Greeks, the Hellenic era and the Romans, while not actually getting around to narrating most of their stories, without which it all seems a bit ... academic. There seem to me to be significant gaps in the topics covered, such as Roman sponsorship of early Christianity, and description of the later period seems especially sketchy. I worry a lot about implying that the Greek and Roman worlds can be taken as the sum of our ...more
Jun 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
My main problem with this book is the misleading application of history in its title. I do not believe it is unreasonable to assume that a history book will, for better or worse, focus on the political history in question. Be that a valid pigeonholing of history or not, it is nonetheless what the reader expects. (It is because of this that we add qualifiers when the term history is used differently, i.e. art history, etc.) Well, of the 33 chapters in this collection only about 6 deal with politi ...more
José Monico
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Phew, what a ride. This book is split up into two parts: Greek civilization, and primary Republican Rome. As far as the entirety of the 'classical world', its primary focus is on these two sovereigns, with some insight into other people from those perspectives.

There is no strict timeline throughout the reading; and it is mostly structured around cultural contrasts, where new ideas are introduced as needed. It is clear this is not a political, or military historical perspective; much if anything
Terry Sullivan
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Simply amazing. Recommended for anyone remotely interested in the classics.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Obviously, Oxford University series "Oxford History of..." are amazing reference books. This particular text covers a great deal of material with black & white illustrations where possible. Writing a review is actually quite pathetic as it is such a scholarly and advanced book, there can be no true criticism.
Erik Graff
Oct 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: James DeVoto
Shelves: history
This book was given me by the husband of a colleague. Jim DeVoto was a professor of Classics at Loyola University Chicago. We first met at an in-person registration at the Water Tower Campus downtown while he was signing up for a German class. Introduced by his wife and my colleague, Paula, we soon became friends, sharing lunches together at both the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses. As I'd had a bit of an intellectual hobby with classical antiquity since high school, his wealth of knowledge ...more
Dec 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
A cynical trade on Oxford's reputation. Each chapter is a discrete essay by a different author on a specific topic. Some essays are clumsy combinations of old lecture notes and journal articles. Some are the indifferent ghostwriting of the author's grad student. The chapter on the Imperial Era was, I kid you not, a long essay on how there was not an imperial bureaucracy. The best chapter in this book was, sadly, the first one. It was written by this guy. I look forward to reading his book.
Shannon Wright
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
It's not terribly informative, and there are some pretty withering bits on philosophy. It's apparently impossible to produce a solid book for those allergic to historical sources (this is actually the real problem) with the exception of Thomas R. Martin's fabulous little beach read on Ancient Greece. That being said, Boardman and his cohorts are pretty fun to read.
Royce Ratterman
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it

Most books are rated related to their usefulness and contributions to my research.
Overall, a good book for the researcher and enthusiast.
Read for personal research
- found this book's contents helpful and inspiring - number rating relates to the book's contribution to my needs.
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this one off and on. It's a thorough review of all aspects of Greek and Roman history and culture.
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