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By Charles Freeman

Lengthy resources of poser, mind's eye, and notion, the myths and background of the traditional Mediterranean have given upward thrust to inventive, non secular, cultural, and highbrow traditions that span the centuries. during this distinct and finished advent to the region's 3 significant civilizations, Egypt, Greece, and Rome attracts a desirable photo of the deep hyperlinks among the cultures around the Mediterranean and explores the ways that those civilizations stay influential to today. starting with the emergence of the earliest Egyptian civilization round 3500 BC, Charles Freeman follows the background of the Mediterranean over a span of 4 millennia to advert six hundred, past the autumn of the Roman empire within the west to the emergence of the Byzantine empire within the east. as well as the 3 nice civilizations, the peoples of the traditional close to East and different lesser-known cultures equivalent to the Etruscans, Celts, Persians, and Phoenicians are explored. the writer examines the artwork, structure, philosophy, literature, and non secular practices of every tradition, set opposed to its social, political, and financial heritage. greater than an outline of the first political or army occasions, Egypt, Greece, and Rome can pay specific cognizance to the particular lives of either the standard individual and the aristocracy: here's heritage delivered to lifestyles. specifically extraordinary are the readable and stimulating profiles of key members in the course of the historic global, overlaying folks from Homer to Horace, the Pharaoh Akhenaten to the emperor Augustus, Alexander the nice to Julius Caesar, Jesus to Justinian, and Aristotle to Augustine. Generously illustrated in either colour and black-and-white, and drawing at the latest scholarship, Egypt, Greece and Rome is a wonderful creation for a person looking a greater realizing of the civilizations of the traditional Mediterranean and their legacy to the West.

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The sheer amount of academic energy which could be diverted into textual analysis is well described by the scholar Sir Kenneth Dover in his stimulating introductory book The Greeks. He tells of a commentary he made on Books Six and Seven of Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War. It involved him 'in some six thousand hours of work altogether, much of it on the minutiae of chronology, grammar, and textual criticism', and, on one occasion, he looked up 'all six hundred examples of a certain common preposition of Thucydides in order to elucidate the precise sense of one passage'.

Within the Design Department at OUP Sue Tipping oversaw the composition of figures and took enormous care to arrange the illustrations so that they would have real impact. I am also grateful to the Press for allowing me to adapt maps from their other publications for this one and to their Technical Graphics Department for making the necessary changes. The major job of compiling an index was completed by Barbara Hird. Lastly there were the OUP readers. At least seven worked their way through parts of the book and their comments and suggestions for improvement were invaluable.

Zanker shows how certain images of traditional Roman life -- the grand public building, for instance -- were used by the emperor Augustus to sell himself as the restorer, not the destroyer, of the Roman Republic. Every statue of himself was composed so that even the scenes on the breastplates had a cultural significance which tied him to the past, while in the Ara Pacis, the Altar of Peace, Augustus is shown as a simple family man, offering sacrifices to the gods as his Republican ancestors might have done.

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