Having received a fairly traditional classical education that espoused the benefits of Roman and to a lesser extent Greek civilisation, I'd always sort of gone along with the general beliefs about all of those Barbarians, the Goths, the Vandals, the Visigoths, who sacked Rome and burnt down civilisation. It begins by listing the things that we associate with Roman greatness: roads, laws, the Julian calendar. The Romans took in whatever suited them, cast into oblivion whatever didn't. To a certain degree it achieves that yet it still feels remarkably casual and superficial. This was, of course, the Roman perspective on things, and this is well-understood by any serious student of history. But, rather than just making that point they repeatedly go after the Romans as being the real barbarians filling the book with snide comments about how the Romans destroyed science for more than one thousand years pp. Terry Jones sets out to challenge this view.
One would grow up to become the fiercest barbarian of them all: Attila the Hun — the scourge of God. Description: 320 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations some color , maps ; 20 cm. The larger issue for me is that these blatant errors seriously undermine the arguments put forward in the rest of the book. Based on what I have read in this book, several of those inconsistencies can be traced very directly to the fact that the religion developed in the Roman culture and as an inheritor of the Roman Empire, which was in some strife by the fifth century, when the Pope got the Roman decree making him in charge of the catholic church. Here he is taking on the idea that the Roman Empire was a civilizing force and instead casts them as destroyers of all that is good. I give the book 3.
Persians and Macedonians generally worked their colonies on the very cheap. Sometimes the author makes interesting parallels with nowadays world. To their credit, Jones and Ereira do make this point early and often. His life was more sophisticated than a Roman's, not more primitive. The E-mail message field is required. It might seem from the above that this book isn't worth reading, but this isn't the case.
This is not top self history. No one nowadays would try to tell the story of the British Empire from the point of view of the British, but it's still the case that the story of the Roman Empire is always told from the perspective of Rome. And suddenly the Romans don't look at all familiar. An old boss of mine enjoyed saying time and again how history is written by the victors and the vanquished be damned. The problem mainly is that some of the revisions are rather old hat.
Because this central lie underpins our entire way of life, from the lies of Roman Catholicism, to the lies of the Bankers and Politicians of today. The only reason why there are so many roman things survived into this time while the others were lost forever was because the 'barbarians' when they did conquer Rome, they did not do what Romans usually did unto them. Example: Supporters of Roman Catholicism are identified as the culprits for the burning of the library of Alexandria in the fourth century. They come off, depending what source you use, of course, better than their Roman conquerors. Interesting premise that much of ancient history is written from a Roman perspective since much of what we have to read is copies of Roman histories But the idea that Vandals,Huns, and Goths were not such bad guys is slightly crazy.
Yet Terry Jones discovers that the Celts had culture, tradition and even mathematical know-how beyond that of Rome itself. Yes, the darkest expression of the Roman ethos is a centralized, authoritarian regime the likes of the Third Reich. On the flip side anyone who reads or has been to a museum is aware of the skill and beauty of pre Roman Celtic metal work and of Greek and Persian contributions to math and science. If you like Roman history and I loved this different perspective on history. Certain aspects of Roman culture are attractive to us, and it is important to understand them in context. It looks like we can lay that one on Rome as well; Rome did not give women rights, they were the possessions of whichever male happened to be head of the family, and as Rome crushed to cultures it rolled over it seems to have taken that notion with them.
Yet Caesar is derided as an unreliable chronicler of the Gauls because he described the elk as a creature that slept standing because their legs have no joints a story he got from the Germans. The book examines the various peoples When you're willing to get your history from a member of Monty Python, you should put yourself on notice. His main idea is old hat because everyone is aware the Romans were cruel and blood thirsty as seen in various Coliseum spectacles. So did the Persian empires, so did Alexander and the Macedonians; so what? Professor Barry Cunliffe of the University of Oxford acted as consultant for the series. It takes the rather intriguing novel idea of turning the Roman propaganda tool of 'everyone who is different to us is a barbarian' on its head and show the lie in their words.
About the Author: Terry Jones is best-known as a member of Monty Python. The book skips a number of intriguing developments, like decisive battles that turned the tide of aggression etc, either by glossing over them in a sentence or two, or by just not referring to them at all. It certainly helps that the writing style is fun, intelligent, and witty. If you like Roman history and think you know it already. Not only do they repeat the ignorant twaddle that Constantine infused Sun worship into the Church, moved the day of worship to Sunday, and moved the celebration of the Nativity of Christ to December 25, i.