TITLE: The Greeks
SERIES: Lost Civilizations
AUTHOR: Philip Matyszak
DATE PUBLISHED: 2018
"This book is a portrait of Ancient Greece—but not as we know it. Few people today appreciate that Greek civilization was spread across the Middle East, or that there were Greek cities in the foothills of the Himalayas. Philip Matyszak tells the lost stories of the Greeks outside Greece, compatriots of luminaries like Sappho, the poet from Lesbos; Archimedes, a native of Syracuse; and Herodotus, who was born in Asia Minor as a subject of the Persian Empire. Stretching from the earliest prehistoric Greek colonies around the Black Sea to Greek settlements in Spain and Italy, through the conquests of Alexander and the glories of the Hellenistic era, to the fall of Byzantium, The Greeks illuminates the lives of the Greek soldiers, statesmen, scientists, and philosophers who laid the foundations of what we call “Greek culture” today—though they seldom, if ever, set foot on the Greek mainland. Instead of following the well-worn path of examining the rise of Athenian democracy and Spartan militarism, this book offers a fresh look at what it meant to be Greek by instead telling the story of the Greeks abroad, from modern-day India to Spain."
This book is short and informative, providing a broad, simplified, and somewhat bland, history of Greek Civilization, it's spread and influence.
TITLE: The Persians
SERIES: Lost Civilizations
AUTHORS: Geoffrey Parker & Brenda Parker
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016
"During the first and second millennia BCE a swathe of nomadic peoples migrated outward from Central Asia into the Eurasian periphery. One group of these people would find themselves encamped in an unpromising, arid region just south of the Caspian Sea. From these modest and uncertain beginnings, they would go on to form one of the most powerful empires in history: the Persian Empire. In this book, Geoffrey and Brenda Parker tell the captivating story of this ancient civilization and its enduring legacy to the world.
The authors examine the unique features of Persian life and trace their influence throughout the centuries. They examine the environmental difficulties the early Persians encountered and how, in overcoming them, they were able to develop a unique culture that would culminate in the massive, first empire, the Achaemenid Empire. Extending their influence into the maritime west, they fought the Greeks for mastery of the eastern Mediterranean—one of the most significant geopolitical contests of the ancient world. And the authors paint vivid portraits of Persian cities and their spectacular achievements: intricate and far-reaching roadways, an astonishing irrigation system that created desert paradises, and, above all, an extraordinary reflection of the diverse peoples that inhabited them.
Informed and original, this is a history of an incomparable culture whose influence can still be seen, millennia later, in modern-day Iran and the wider Middle East."
This book provides a broad, simplified, and somewhat bland, history of Persia from the Achaemenid Empire to modern Iranian times. Informative and short.
Matt Waters provides a detailed but brief historical overview of the Achaemenid period, 550-330 BCE. The author also examines the many interpretive problems historians face in constructing and understanding its history, especially since much of the history of this period is gained from Greek, rather than Persian sources. Interesting and informative. For a less scholarly text, try Persian Fire by Tom Holland.