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Lost Cities of the Ancient World

Philip Matyszak


A fascinating tour of cities that have been lost to history, from the Neolithic period up to the late Roman Empire, that offers a fresh new perspective on the roots of urban life

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What happened to the places that history forgot – the cities submerged under water, decimated by invading armies or swallowed up by the sands of time? Where are they, and what can they tell us about our past?

From the sunken city of Thonis off the coast of Egypt to the deep cave dwellings of Derinkuyu in Turkey, Philip Matyszak brings to life the cities that time forgot, exploring sites from across Europe, the Middle East and Asia and covering four thousand years of human history.

Matyszak reveals a dynamic network of peoples and cultures who fought and traded between themselves, exchanging inventions, ideas and philosophies, with the result that peoples as far apart as Çatalhöyük in Turkey and Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands shared much of a common heritage. Where archaeological remains and artefacts have vanished completely, Matyszak turns to ancient texts to discover what happened to the cities that have never been found. The trials, tribulations and triumphs that they faced, including how they coped with the challenges of climate change, displacement and conflict, have lessons for the present.

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'Matyszak skilfully weaves engaging stories and connects scholarly research with various tales and legends … an enjoyable read and will be picked up again and again to visit the stories of these ancient cities and the people who lived in them'

'Readable, well-illustrated'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.0 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 288 pp

Illustrations: 192

Publication date: 12 October 2023

ISBN: 9780500025659

Contents List

Introduction: Ghosts of the Past

The Oldest Cities
1. Çatalhöyük
2. Skara Brae
3. Akkad
4. Pavlopetri
5. Zoar
6. Hattusa
7. Mardaman
8. Thebes
9. Phaistos

From Troy to Rome
10. Troy
11. Thonis
12. Mycenae
13. Seleucia-on-the-Tigris
14. Sybaris
15. Plataea
16. Taxila
17. Tigranocerta
18. Persepolis
19. Numantia

Across the Roman Empire
20. Glanum
21. Falerii Novi
22. Cyrene
23. Tipasa
24. Baiae
25. Volubilis
26. Stabiae
27. Maiden Castle
28. Timgad
29. Antinopolis

The Empire’s Edge and Beyond
30. Palmyra
31. Waldgirmes
32. Sarmizegetusa Regia
33. Gerasa
34. Venta Silurum
35. Dura-Europos
36. Beta Samati
37. Derinkuyu


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
Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World (2020), The Greek and Roman Myths (2010) and Ancient Magic (2019), all published by Thames & Hudson.