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Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World

Philip Matyszak


An overview of the lost peoples and cultures who flourished and fought for survival alongside the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans

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Who were the Philistines?
What was a Pyrrhic victory?
Were the Vandals really vandals?
Why should you speak to a Samaritan?

Beyond the Greeks, Romans and Hebrews of the Classical and biblical eras, a rich diversity of peoples helped lay the foundations of the modern world. Philip Matyszak brings to life the cultures and individuals that made up the busy, brawling multicultural mass of humanity that emerged from the ancient Middle East and spread across the Mediterranean and Europe. He explores the origins of forty forgotten peoples, their great triumphs and defeats, and considers the legacy they have left to us today, whether it be in fine art or everyday language.

This carefully researched and illuminating history is the perfect introduction for the modern reader, packed with surprising facts and fascinating stories, detailed maps and beautiful illustrations of artefacts and sites of interest. Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World offers a new understanding of these important civilizations that have been obscured by the passage of time.

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'A compelling narrative of displacement and power at the edges of human knowledge'
The Spectator

'Immersive, thought-provoking, and entertaining'
Timeless Travels


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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 24.0 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 288 pp

Publication date: 28 July 2022

ISBN: 9780500296943

Contents List

Introduction – Resurrecting A Forgotten World

The First Civilizations
Introduction – Starting from Scratch in Mesopotamia
The Akkadians – The First Empire Builders
The Amorites – ‘Founders’ of Babylon
The Canaanites – Israel Before the Israelites
The Elamites – The Empire Before Persia
The Hittites – Masters of Anatolia
The Hyksos – Invaders of Egypt
The Sea Peoples – Riders of the Storm

From Assyria to Alexander
Introduction – Recovering from the Bronze Age Collapse
The Lost Tribes of Israel – Ten Still Missing
The Arameans – Nomadic Conquerors in the Middle East
The Philistines – Strangers in a Strange Land
The Dorians – People of the Spear
The Phrygians – King Midas and the Gordian Knot
The Illyrians – Balkan Raiders
The Lydians – As Rich as Croesus
The Sicels – Settlers of Sicily
The Medes – Destroyers of Nineveh
The Chaldeans - Masters of Magic
The Kushites – Egypt’s Southern Conquerors
The Bactrians – Powerful Traders on the Silk Road

The Coming of Rome
Introduction – Civilization Spreads West Beyond the Mediterranean
The Epirots – The Original Pyrrhic Victory
The Sabines - Co-founders of Rome?
The Samaritans – Survivors of Antiquity
The Garamantes and Numidians – Forgotten Peoples of North Africa
The Sarmatians – Horse Riders of the Steppe
The Nabataeans – The People of Petra
The Celtiberians – The Celts of Spain
The Galatians – Gauls in Asia Minor
The Arverni – For Vercingetorix and Victory!
The Thracians – Masters of Metalworking
The Catuvellauni – The Tribe of Caractacus
The Iceni – Led into Battle by Boudica
The Batavi – Allies and Enemies of Rome
The Dacians – On the Edge of Empire

The Fall of Rome in the West
Introduction – Barbarian Invasions and the End of Empire
The Alans – Westwards Through a Falling Empire
The Vandals – More than Vandalism
The Visigoths – The Tribe that Broke Rome
The Ostrogoths – Heirs to Rome
The Alemanni – The Tribe of ‘Humans United’
The Jutes – Forgotten Invaders of Britain
The Hephthalites – The Mysterious ‘White Huns’

Timeline of the ancient world
Further reading
Sources of illustrations

About the Author

Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St John’s College, Oxford. He is the author of numerous books on the ancient world, including the highly successful Thames & Hudson titles Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day, Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s (Unofficial) Manual, The Greek and Roman Myths, Ancient Magic and Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece and Rome, all published by Thames & Hudson.

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