Book cover of Demetrius: Sacker of Cities by James Romm
Ancient Civilizations

Demetrius: Sacker of Cities

The life of Demetrius (337–283 BCE) serves as a through-line to the forty years following the death of Alexander the Great (323–282 BCE), a time of unparalleled turbulence and instability in the ancient world. With no monarch able to take Alexander’s place, his empire fragmented into five pieces. […Learn More]

Book cover of Assyria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Empire by Eckart Frahm
Ancient Civilizations

Assyria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Empire

A new history of Assyria, the ancient civilization that set the model for future empires 
 
At its height in 660 BCE, the kingdom of Assyria stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. It was the first empire the world had ever seen. Here, historian Eckart Frahm tells the epic story of Assyria and its formative role in global history. […Learn More]

Book cover of Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: And Other Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities by Adrienne Mayor
Ancient Civilizations

Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: And Other Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities

Adrienne Mayor is renowned for exploring the borders of history, science, archaeology, anthropology, and popular knowledge to find historical realities and scientific insights—glimmering, long-buried nuggets of truth—embedded in myth, legends, and folklore. Combing through ancient texts and obscure sources, she has spent decades prospecting for intriguing wonders and marvels, historical mysteries, diverting anecdotes, and hidden gems from ancient, medieval, and modern times. Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws is a treasury of fifty of her most amazing and amusing discoveries. […Learn More]

Book cover of Persians: The Age of the Great Kings by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Ancient Civilizations

Persians: The Age of the Great Kings

The Achaemenid Persian kings ruled over the largest empire of antiquity, stretching from Libya to the steppes of Asia and from Ethiopia to Pakistan. From the palace-city of Persepolis, Cyrus the Great, Darius, Xerxes, and their heirs reigned supreme for centuries until the conquests of Alexander of Macedon brought the empire to a swift and unexpected end in the late 330s BCE.  […Learn More]

Book cover of Phoenicians and the Making of the Mediterranean by Carolina Lopez Ruiz
Ancient Civilizations

Phoenicians and the Making of the Mediterranean

The first comprehensive history of the cultural impact of the Phoenicians, who knit together the ancient Mediterranean world long before the rise of the Greeks.

Imagine you are a traveler sailing to the major cities around the Mediterranean in 750 BC. You would notice a remarkable similarity in the dress, alphabet, consumer goods, and gods from Gibraltar to Tyre. […Learn More]

Book cover of Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City by Edmund Richardson
Asia

Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City

For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, an ordinary working-class boy from London turned deserter, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist and highly respected scholar.

On the way into one of history’s most extraordinary stories, Masson would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. […Learn More]

Ancient Civilizations

Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic World

What is commonly called the kingdom of Pontos flourished for over two hundred years in the coastal regions of the Black Sea. At its peak in the early first century BC, it included much of the southern, eastern, and northern littoral, becoming one of the most important Hellenistic dynasties not founded by a successor of Alexander the Great. It also posed one of the greatest challenges to Roman imperial expansion in the east. Not until 63 BC, after many violent clashes, was Rome able to subjugate the kingdom and its last charismatic ruler Mithridates VI. […Learn More]

Ancient Civilizations

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World

The real history of the Amazons in war and love

Amazons―fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world―were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Roman general Pompey tangled with Amazons. […Learn More]

Ancient Civilizations

1177 B.C. The Year Civilization Collapsed

A bold reassessment of what caused the Late Bronze Age collapse

In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the “Sea Peoples” invaded Egypt. The pharaoh’s army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. […Learn More]