Robin Lane Fox is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, where he has been a University Reader in Ancient History since 1990. His previous books include Alexander the Great, Pagans and Christians, and The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible. He writes a regular column in the Financial Times. He lives in Oxford, England.
The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrianby Robin Lane Fox
The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome once dominated the world, and they continue to fascinate and inspire us. Classical art and architecture, drama and epic, philosophy and politics-these are the foundations of Western civilization. In The Classical World, eminent classicist Robin Lane Fox brilliantly chronicles this vast sweep of history from Homer to the reign of Hadrian. From the Peloponnesian War through the creation of Athenian democracy, from the turbulent empire of Alexander the Great to the creation of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Christianity, Fox serves as our witty and trenchant guide. He introduces us to extraordinary heroes and horrific villains, great thinkers and blood-thirsty tyrants. Throughout this vivid tour of two of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known, we remain in the hands of a great master.
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I recently returned from my first trip to Rome, and was looking for a book to help me understand the history behind the ruins I had just seen. I found that and more in Robert Lane Fox's The Classical World. Having only studied western civilization in high school (more than 25 years ago), I found Mr. Lane's book to be an excellent introduction to ancient Greece and Rome. He touches on the art, literature, architecture, geography, political and military history of these two cultures which form so much of the fabric of our own. The book is very readable and makes the topic accessible without being too simplistic. It is not dry, as some history texts have a tendency to be. The book is divided into two parts, one on Greece and the other on Rome, yet it transitions from one to the other with great ease. After finishing The Classical World, I'm anxious to return to Rome to see the ruins with fresh eyes, and am also looking forward to visiting Greece.