Ancient Worlds : The Search for the Origins of Western Civilization, Paperback

Ancient Worlds : The Search for the Origins of Western Civilization Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Accompanying the major BBC TV series, Richard Miles' "Ancient Worlds" tells the epic story of civilization, and the cities that made us who we are.

The path of human progress is one of enlightenment and cruelty, achievement and bloodshed, creation and destruction.

Here Richard Miles reaches back into our distant past to bring alive its most glorious and terrible people and places: from the first ever city in Mesopotamia to the death cults of Egypt, from the Phoenician seafarers who invented the alphabet to the brutal Assyrian empire, and on to the great city-states of Athens and Rome.

By choosing to live together with strangers in vast urban settings, Miles shows, humans harnessed the very best and the worst of ourselves, setting civilization in motion and forging the modern world. "Epic and compelling". ("Daily Mail"). "An epic, spanning five millennia and half the globe". ("Daily Telegraph"). "Engaging ...full of interesting things about the radical social experiment of the city-state, and the new ways of living it permitted". ("Independent"). ""Ancient Worlds" really does put flesh on the bones of history and Richard Miles brings long lost cities to life". ("Observer"). Richard Miles is the author of "Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization".

A six-part TV series of "Ancient Worlds" was broadcast on BBC2 in 2011.

He teaches classics at the University of Sydney and was previously a Newton Trust Lecturer in the Faculty of Classics and Fellow and Director of Studies at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages, 16pp colour
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Ancient history: to c 500 CE
  • ISBN: 9780241951361



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An enjoyable and very readable introduction to the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.I have read individual books in the past about all these civilisations, and came to this wanting more information about Mesopotamia.This book presents a persuasive argument about how civilisations have built on previous attempts and how this process works. So as well as coming away with a greater knowledge of Mesopotamia, I also now far better understand why each of these civilisations came into existence and why they failed.By necessity in a book of this nature, much has to be omitted, but you are free to go and read about what interests you in greater detail. What it does is try to give you an overarching framework into which to fit the various "ancient worlds" and it does a very good job at this.