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Cities That Shaped the Ancient World

John Julius Norwich

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An illustrated tour of 40 of the greatest cities that shaped the ancient world and its civilizations, and which in turn have shaped our own

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The cities of the ancient world built the foundations for urban life today. But when did humans first come together in this way and what were these places like to live in? From the world’s first cities, in Mesopotamia, to the spectacular urban monuments of the Maya in Central America, the cities described here represent almost three millennia of human history and development. Under John Julius Norwich’s expert editorship, eminent historians and archaeologists with first-hand knowledge of each site give voices to these silent ruins, bringing them to life as the teeming, state-of-the-art metropolises they once were.

Cities That Shaped the Ancient World takes a global tour, beginning in the Near East with the earliest cities such as Ur and Babylon. Africa gave rise to the conurbations of ancient Egypt such as Thebes and Amarna, and the Ethiopian capital of Aksum. Glorious European metropolises, including Athens and Rome, ringed the Mediterranean, but also stretched to Trier on the turbulent frontier of the Roman empire. Asia had bustling commercial and imperial centres such as Mohenjo-daro and Xianyang, while in the Americas the Mesoamerican and Peruvian cultures created massive settlements in jungles and on mountain ranges, including Caral and Teotihuacan. Illustrated with spectacular photographs of the places, as well as fabulous objects and works of art, this book provides a fascinating exploration of cities that shaped the ancient world – just as that world has shaped our own.

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'This gorgeously illustrated volume is a pleasure to peruse'

'Informative and thought-provoking'
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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.6 x 18.6 cm

Extent: 240 pp

Illustrations: 151

Publication date: 13 October 2014

ISBN: 9780500252048

Contents List

Uruk • Ur • Hattusa • Troy • Babylon • Nineveh • Persepolis • Pergamum • Jerusalem • Petra • Ephesus • Palmyra • Memphis • Thebes • Amarna • Carthage • Alexandria • Meroé • Leptis Magna • Aksum • Knossos • Mycenae • Athens • Akragas • Paestum • Rome • Pompeii • Nîmes and the Pont du Gard • Trier • Mohenjo-Daro • Linzi • Xianyang • Pataliputra • Anuradhapura • Caral • La Venta • Monte Albán • Teotihuacan • Tikal • Palenque

About the Author

John Julius Norwich is the author of magisterial histories of Norman Sicily, the republic of Venice and the Byzantine empire. He has also written widely on architecture and music, and has presented some 30 BBC television historical documentaries. He is Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund and of the World Monuments Fund in Britain.

List of Contributors

Margarete van Ess, Marc Van de Mieroop, Trevor Bryce, Bettany Hughes, Joan Oates, Julian Reade, Stephen Mitchell, Martin Goodman, Jane Taylor, Nigel Pollard, Ian Shaw, Bill Manley, Barry Kemp, Henry Hurst, Alan B. Lloyd, Robert Morkot, Matthew C. Curtis, Colin F. Macdonald, Tony Spawforth

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