Mosaics as History: The Near East from Late Antiquity to Islam

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$33.25
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $17.70
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 49%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $17.70   
  • New (4) from $30.34   
  • Used (3) from $17.70   

Overview

Over the past century, exploration and serendipity have uncovered mosaic after mosaic in the Near East--maps, historical images, mythical figures, and religious scenes that constitute an immense treasure of new testimony from antiquity. The stories these mosaics tell unfold in this brief, richly informed book by a preeminent scholar of the classical world.

G. W. Bowersock considers these mosaics a critical part of the documentation of the region's ancient culture, as expressive as texts, inscriptions on stone, and architectural remains. In their complex language, often marred by time, neglect, and deliberate defacement, he finds historical evidence, illustrations of literary and mythological tradition, religious icons, and monuments to civic pride. Eloquently evoking a shared vision of a world beyond the boundaries of individual cities, the mosaics attest to a persistent tradition of Greek taste that could embrace Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in a fundamentally Semitic land, and they suggest the extent to which these three monotheistic religions could themselves embrace Hellenism.

With copious color illustrations, Bowersock's efforts return us to Syrian Antioch, Arabia, Jewish and Samaritan settlements in Palestine, the Palmyrene empire in Syria, and the Nabataean kingdom in Jordan, and show us the overlay of Hellenism introduced by Alexander the Great as well as Roman customs imported by the imperial legions and governors. Attending to one of the most evocative languages of the ages, his work reveals a complex fusion of cultures and religions that speaks to us across time.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Antiques Magazine
On the surface this may appear an esoteric and quaint study of an ancient artform, yet the author bestows it with a depth and significance that reaches right to the heart of ancient Near Eastern culture. Despite their great age, marred by neglect and sometimes deliberate vandalism, these mosaics indicate a complex fusion of cultures and religions, illustrations of literary and mythological tradition, iconography, and monuments to civic pride. Bowersock's immense scholarship in this field, combined with a plethora of high quality, colour images, returns the reader to a time of relative peace and harmony in the Near East, when the regions we now know as Syria, Arabia, Palestine, and Jordan were united in a tradition of classicism which bound together Judaism, Islam, and Christianity in a fundamentally Semitic land.
Minerva

A large number of Roman-Byzantine floor mosaics have been unearthed in the Levant over the past few decades, and G.W. Bowersock's Mosaics as History presents a refreshing synthesis of this material...[T]his is a very good book that provides a long-awaited analysis of many new and recent mosaic discoveries across the most culturally diverse regions of the Roman-Byzantine world.
— Mark Merrony

American Journal of Archaeology

This is a splendid book, well composed and closely reasoned...The author convincingly uses the mosaics and their depictions and inscriptions as an important source for understanding late antiquity in the Near East. All the way through, Bowersock emphasizes the contexts—the connection between literature and various groups of material culture—an approach that cannot be encouraged enough.
— Birte Poulsen

New York Review of Books

No one is better qualified to instill in his readers the sense of wide horizons and of unexpected continuities between cultures that are usually held to be irrevocably divided than Glen Bowersock. His recent book, Mosaics as History: The Near East from Late Antiquity to Islam, is an iridescent masterpiece. A vast weight of erudition, unflinchingly precise, is brought to bear on a few crucial (and hitherto unconsidered) problems to produce a book that has the sharpness and the shimmer of an industrial diamond. The clarity, economy, and charm of Bowersock's writing make us forget the iron discipline on which his scrutiny of the evidence is based and the devastating effect of his conclusions on all kinds of conventional wisdom. It is the work of an urbane iconoclast...Those who wish to understand more about the deep and complex history of the Near East in all ages, our own included, would be well advised to read Bowersock's book...Only the sharp tang of scholarship like Bowersock's, devoted to a seemingly distant past, can clean our eyes, a little, of the itch of modern pseudohistory, of modern stereotypes, and of modern hatreds, so that we can view the present, if not with comfort, then at least with clarity.
— Peter Brown

Minerva - Mark Merrony
A large number of Roman-Byzantine floor mosaics have been unearthed in the Levant over the past few decades, and G.W. Bowersock's Mosaics as History presents a refreshing synthesis of this material...[T]his is a very good book that provides a long-awaited analysis of many new and recent mosaic discoveries across the most culturally diverse regions of the Roman-Byzantine world.
American Journal of Archaeology - Birte Poulsen
This is a splendid book, well composed and closely reasoned...The author convincingly uses the mosaics and their depictions and inscriptions as an important source for understanding late antiquity in the Near East. All the way through, Bowersock emphasizes the contexts—the connection between literature and various groups of material culture—an approach that cannot be encouraged enough.
New York Review of Books - Peter Brown
No one is better qualified to instill in his readers the sense of wide horizons and of unexpected continuities between cultures that are usually held to be irrevocably divided than Glen Bowersock. His recent book, Mosaics as History: The Near East from Late Antiquity to Islam, is an iridescent masterpiece. A vast weight of erudition, unflinchingly precise, is brought to bear on a few crucial (and hitherto unconsidered) problems to produce a book that has the sharpness and the shimmer of an industrial diamond. The clarity, economy, and charm of Bowersock's writing make us forget the iron discipline on which his scrutiny of the evidence is based and the devastating effect of his conclusions on all kinds of conventional wisdom. It is the work of an urbane iconoclast...Those who wish to understand more about the deep and complex history of the Near East in all ages, our own included, would be well advised to read Bowersock's book...Only the sharp tang of scholarship like Bowersock's, devoted to a seemingly distant past, can clean our eyes, a little, of the itch of modern pseudohistory, of modern stereotypes, and of modern hatreds, so that we can view the present, if not with comfort, then at least with clarity.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674022928
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2006
  • Series: Revealing Antiquity Series , #16
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,193,792
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

G. W. Bowersock is Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Maps

2. Myths

3. Cities

4. Iconoclasms

5. Contexts

Bibliography

List of Illustrations

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)