Long Ago and Far Away, titles about ancient times 

Here are five more titles from our 2019 Outstanding Academic Titles list, this time taking you to far away ancient places.

1. Ancient Mesopotamia speaks: highlights of the Yale Babylonian Collection
ed. by Agnette Lassen, Eckart Frahm, and Klaus Wegensonner Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, 2019

Founded in 1911, Yale’s Babylonian Collection, the largest in North America, is affiliated with Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. This volume catalogues a 2019–20 exhibit at the Peabody about the cultures in ancient Mesopotamia (the “land between the rivers”), from 11,000 BCE to 224 CE. The volume begins with an informative chronology, followed by an impressive essay on the origins, history, and decipherment of cuneiform, which drives the exhibition of 150 of the collection’s highlights.
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2. Lost maps of the caliphs: drawing the world in eleventh-century Cairo
by Yossef Rapoport and Emilie Savage-Smith Chicago, 2018

Books like Lost Maps of the Caliphs are the reason many students choose to become scholars. Couched in a tale that resembles an academic mystery novel—the accidental discovery of an 11th-century manuscript—the central chapters of the work demonstrate vividly how a single, previously unstudied text can expand, or upset, the conventions underpinning well-established humanistic fields.
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3. The crusader armies: 1099–1187
Tibble, Steven. Yale, 2018

Tibble (Royal Holloway, Univ. of London, UK), makes use of research of the past few decades to support his claim that climate change and mass migration may have been among the causes of the Crusades. In so doing he diverges from the traditional position, which is that the cause was culture clash, Christian versus Muslim.
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4. Time and its adversaries in the Seleucid Empire
Kosmin, Paul J. Belknap, Harvard, 2018

Time and its Adversaries in the Seleucid Empire is an important contribution to ancient intellectual history: the first comprehensive study of the origin of era dating—the practice of dating events by reference to a chronologically fixed reference point, as in the BC/AD dating system. Kosmin (Harvard) argues that era dating was invented in the third century BCE by the government of the Seleucid Empire and revolutionized attitudes toward time throughout the Near and Middle East.
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5. Greek experience of India: from Alexander to the Indo-Greeks
Stoneman, Richard. Princeton, 2019

The Greek Experience of India provides substantial scholarship on a topic that has not received a general treatment in English since Jean W. Sedlar’s 1980 study India and the Greek World. Stoneman, who is the leading authority on the Alexander Romance and this historic text’s diffusion throughout Eurasia, is the ideal scholar to write this book.
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