This comprehensive volume offers fascinating analysis of the social and cultural climates of the Ancient Middle East, Greece, and Rome. Providing balanced treatment of the political, institutional, and military history for each civilization, it examines the various societal forms characteristic of the ancient world, especially the unique relationship between society and the state that characterized the social order of antiquity. Detailed descriptions of the highly integrated world of the classical period are given, with special emphasis on culture, social structures, moral values, and political processes. The Ancient World also follows the transformations and changes experienced by societies of the ancient world, including the emergence of Hellenistic culture from classical culture, the transformation of the Republic, and the transition from classical to Christian society. What's more, the Third Edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to reflect the latest in scholarship.
A textbook for undergrads. Ancient Middle East, Greece, and Rome are covered chronologically with emphasis on the institutional/contextual aspects of the different societies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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D. Brendan Nagle is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Southern California, where he had appointments in the departments of history and classics. He was research associate at the American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in 1970 and 1999. From 1976 to 1983 he was chairman of USC’s History Department. He is the author or coauthor of six books and has published over 50 articles and reviews in such journals as: American Historical Review, American Journal of Archaeology, Ancient History Bulletin, Athenaeum, Historia, Journal of American Ethnic History, Polis, L’Antiquité classique, Review of Metaphysics, Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, and Transactions of the American Philological Society. He received USC’s Social Science Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984.
Modern authors of social and cultural history can generally assume that their readers will share a number of fundamental presuppositions about the nature of present-day society. For example, they can take for granted that there will be no argument with the proposition that society is very different from or even opposed to the state and its institutions. Similarly, they do not have to establish that the modern state is a complex mosaic of classes and cultures that interact with a large number of public, semipublic, and private bodies such as churches, corporations, educational institutions, labor unions, branches of government, cultural organizations, and the like.
Unfortunately, a similar set of shared presuppositions does not exist for the ancient world. In a majority of cases none of the institutions mentioned here existed in antiquity, and those that did functioned at such a rudimentary level that they counted for little. Even the ancient world's class system operated on a set of principles quite different from that of the modern state. Particularly in their classical formulations, ancient societies were tightly knit communities in which political, cultural, and religious life closely intermingled. Society was not something set apart from the state but was, instead, closely identified with it. As a result, it is possible to write of ancient society as an independent sphere of human activity in the modern sense only in a very limited way, but what this book seeks to do is to pursue the distinctive forms society took in the ancient world and especially the unusual relationship between society and the state that characterized the social order of antiquity. Detaileddescriptions of the highly integrated world of the classical period are given, placing special emphasis on its culture, social structures, moral values, and political processes. The inner workings of the Athenian democracy and the Roman Republic are discussed at length, and art, literature, and religion—especially how they functioned, vis--vis society—receive prominent attention. At the same time, recognizing that the closely unified societies of the classical period changed radically over the course of time, special consideration is given to the much-altered world of the Hellenistic period (third to second centuries B.C.) and the Roman Empire (first to fifth centuries A.D.). The last chapter describes the new society that began to make its appearance toward the end of antiquity, laying the foundations for the modern world.
In the years since the first edition of this textbook appeared, a great deal has been written on the social history of antiquity. Despite this outpouring, the social history of the ancient world remains at an early stage of its development. For example, any attempt to write a comprehensive survey of the family or gender relations from Sumerian to Byzantine times will quickly demonstrate the sketchiness of our sources and the lack of scholarly investigation into particular periods or areas. However, enormous strides have been made, and this new edition makes a special point of adding to and updating the social material in the text. Where appropriate, emphasis has been placed on the interconnections that permeate the history of the Near East, Greece, and Rome.
I owe special thanks to the following people, who at one stage or another in this book's publishing history made helpful critical suggestions: Thomas A. Anderson, Jr.; Richard Beal; John A. Brinkman; Stanley M. Burstein; T. F. Carney; Stefan Chrissanthos; Walter Donlan; H. A. Drake; Katherine F. Drew; Rory Egan; John K. Evans; Arther Ferrill; Gerald E. Kadish; Richard W. Kaeuper; Barbara Kellum; John A. Koumoulides; Eric Leichty; Michael Maas; W. J. McCoy; Richard E. Mitchell; Jasonne G. O'Brien; Kate Porteus; Chris Rasmussen; Lee Reams; Brigette Russell; and Joanne Scurlock. Thanks also to the Prentice Hall reviewers: Stephen Ruzicka, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and James Halverson, Judson College.