Ancient Egypt A Very Short Introduction

Author: Ian Shaw
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578401
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The ancient Egyptians are an enduring source of fascination - mummies and pyramids, curses and rituals have captured the imagination of generations. We all have a mental picture of ancient Egypt, but is it the right one? How much do we really know about this great civilization? In this absorbing introduction, Ian Shaw describes how our current ideas about Egypt are based not only on the thrilling discoveries made by early Egyptologists but also on fascinating new kinds of evidence produced by modern scientific and linguistic analyses. He also explores the changing influences on our responses to these finds, through such media as literature, cinema and contemporary art. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of ancient Egypt, from despotic pharaohs to dismembered bodies, and from hieroglyphs to animal-headed gods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Ancient Egyptian Art and Architecture A Very Short Introduction

Author: Christina Riggs
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191505269
Format: PDF, Kindle
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From Berlin to Boston, and St Petersburg to Sydney, ancient Egyptian art fills the galleries of some of the world's greatest museums, while the architecture of Egyptian temples and pyramids has attracted tourists to Egypt for centuries. But what did Egyptian art and architecture mean to the people who first made and used it - and why has it had such an enduring appeal? In this Very Short Introduction, Christina Riggs explores the visual arts produced in Egypt over a span of some 4,000 years. The stories behind these objects and buildings have much to tell us about how people in ancient Egypt lived their lives in relation to each other, the natural environment, and the world of the gods. Demonstrating how ancient Egypt has fascinated Western audiences over the centuries with its impressive pyramids, eerie mummies, and distinctive visual style, Riggs considers the relationship between ancient Egypt and the modern world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Egyptian Myth A Very Short Introduction

Author: Geraldine Pinch
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191577790
Format: PDF, ePub
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The complex world of Egyptian myth is clearly illuminated in this fascinating new approach to ancient Egypt. Geraldine Pinch explores the cultural and historical background behind a wide variety of sources and objects, from Cleopatra's Needle and Tutankhamun's golden statue, to a story on papyrus of the gods misbehaving. What did they mean, and how have they been interpreted? The reader is taken on an exciting journey through the distant past, and shown how myths of deities such as Isis and Osiris influenced contemporary culture and have become part of our cultural heritage. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Ancient Near East A Very Short Introduction

Author: Amanda H. Podany
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195377990
Format: PDF, ePub
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The ancient Near East is defined, for the purposes of this book, as the cuneiform lands," the regions of the ancient world where the cuneiform script, written on clay tablets, was used as the most common medium for written communication. These lands comprise Mesopotamia (with its variously named regions: Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, and Assyria); Syria, Elam (later known as Persia), and Anatolia. The three thousand years to be covered by this book - from around 3500 BCE, with the founding ofthe first Mesopotamian cities (which coincide with the invention of writing) to the conquest of the Near East by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE - encompass an era of remarkable innovation and achievement. Many of the creations of the people of the ancient Near East are still with us, from fundamental inventions such as the wheel and the plow to intellectual feats such as the inventions of astronomy, law, and diplomacy. The region is known as the "cradle of civilization" for good reason. Here, men and women first tried to live peacefully together in densely urban cities, and found ways, through law and custom, to thrive and prosper. The popular image of history as a story of progress from primitive barbarism to modern sophistication is completely belied by the study of the ancient Near East. For example, women had many rights and freedoms; they could own property, run businesses, and represent themselves in court. Diplomats traveled between the capital cities of major powers ensuring peace and friendship between the kings. Scribes and scholars studied the stars and could predict eclipses and the movements of the planets. These achievements were lost in subsequent centuries, only to be reborn in more modern times. Perhaps the most obvious legacy from the ancient Near East is seen in some of our units of measurement. The Mesopotamians invented a mathematical system based on the number 60, and all the 60-based units in our modern world (including seconds, minutes, and degrees) have come down, unaltered, directly from Mesopotamia. Taking a chronological view, the book will include what we know, ideas about what we don't yet know (but perhaps will in the future), evidence used for discerning the history of the region, and approaches taken to the evidence by scholars of the ancient Near East. Each chapter will focus on one or two archaeological sites that have contributed extensive evidence (both textual and archaeological) to our understanding of an era and expanding from that evidence to a broader view of the era as a whole."

Ancient Warfare A Very Short Introduction

Author: Harry Sidebottom
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191577979
Format: PDF, ePub
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Greek and Roman warfare differed from other cultures and was unlike any other forms of warfare before and after. The key difference is often held to be that the Greeks and Romans practised a 'Western Way of War', where the aim is an open, decisive battle, won by courage instilled in part by discipline. Harry Sidebottom looks at how and why this 'Western Way of War' was constructed and maintained by the Greeks and Romans, why this concept is so popular and prevalent today, and at whether or not this is an accurate interpretation. All aspects of ancient warfare are thoroughly examined - from philosophy and strategy to the technical skills needed to fight. He looks at war in the wider context - how wars could shape classical society, and how the individual's identity could be constructed by war, for example the Christian soldier fighting in God's name. He also explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict: Can a war be just? Why was siege warfare particularly bloody? What role did divine intervention play in the outcome of a battle? Taking fascinating examples from the Iliad, Tacitus, and the Persian Wars, Sidebottom uses arresting anecdotes and striking visual images to show that the any understanding of ancient war is an ongoing process of interpretation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Late Antiquity A Very Short Introduction

Author: Gillian Clark
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199546207
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Sheds light on the concept of late antiquity and the events of its time, showing that this was in fact a period of great transformation

The Animal Kingdom A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Holland
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191620491
Format: PDF
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The animal world is immensely diverse, and our understanding of it has been greatly enhanced by analysis of DNA and the study of evolution and development ('evo-devo'). In this Very Short Introduction Peter Holland presents a modern tour of the animal kingdom. Beginning with the definition of animals (not obvious in biological terms), he takes the reader through the high-level groupings of animals (phyla) and new views on their evolutionary relationships based on molecular data, together with an overview of the biology of each group of animals. The phylogenetic view is central to zoology today and the volume will be of great value to all students of the life sciences, as well as providing a concise summary for the interested general reader. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Prehistory A Very Short Introduction

Author: Chris Gosden
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191577782
Format: PDF, ePub
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This VSI to prehistory will introduce the reader to four and a half million years of human existence. Many of the familiar aspects of modern life are no more than a century or two old, yet our deep social structures and skills were in large measure developed by small bands of our prehistoric ancestors many millennia ago. Chris Gosden invites us to think seriously about who we are by considering who we have been. The idea of prehistory owes its origins to Darwin - suddenly any description of human life on Earth had to take account of a much longer timespan than ever before. What new views of ourselves has this new timespan opened up? Chris Gosden's fascinating new book asks: What relationships did our distant ancestors have with the natural world, with each other, and with the objects and values they created? And as humanity hurtles into a future of virtual interraction and genetic manipulation, what can the darkest recesses of our past teach us about our future? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Babylonia a Very Short Introduction

Author: Trevor Bryce
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198726473
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The history of Ancient Babylonia in ancient Mesopatamia is epic. After playing host to three great empires, the Hammurabic and Kassite empires, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire ruled by Nebuchadnezzar, it was conquered by the Persians. Entered triumphantly by Alexander the Great, it later provided the setting for the Conquerer's deathbed. Squabbled over by his heirs, Babylonia was subsequently dominated by the Parthian and Roman empires. In this Very Short Introduction, Trevor Bryce takes us on a journey of more than 2,000 years across the history and civilization of ancient Babylonia, from the emergence of its chief city, Babylon, as a modest village on the Euphrates in the 3rd millennium BC through successive phases of triumph, decline, and resurgence until its royal capital faded into obscurity in the Roman imperial era. Exploring key historical events as well as the day-to-day life of an ancient Babylonian, Bryce provides a comprehensive guide to one of history's most profound civilizations. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.