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Darwin8u

Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States

A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

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  • "A mythic & complicated life of a ch..."

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    A fascinating piece of Persian/Roman/Asia Minor history/biography. Mithradates makes almost every other challenger to the status quo seem inept, uncreative and not really committed. He isn't, however, a warrior king/leader you can completely admire. His methods for removing the Romans from Asia Minor were not even remotely reasonable ('Kill them all and let Zeus sort them out' wasn't tolerable even in 88 BC). However, his life was mythic. He was a brilliant linguist, military commander, scientist, and absolutely machismo to boot. He wasn't interested in playing a minor character on the world stage. He wanted to be a Darius or an Alexander the Great type of leader and for much of his life he was. The Romans were terrified of him. He fought them using terror, direct action (both naval and military), statecraft, and asymmetric warfare. He was rich, charismatic and ruthless.

    The shortcoming of this book is one that would probably be the shortcoming of any historical biography of Mithradates: the lack of complete records. So much of Mithradates life is shrouded in rumor, speculation and second and third-hand sources. Those materials that exist are often biased because they were written by Romans. So Mayor is stuck, she can either try to sort out the fact from the fable and sometimes get a little loose with her narrative, or she can write a book that no one but Classical Historians would probably want to read. She chose readability, and the book was VERY readable, but it did come at a cost. The "what ifs and alternate endings and he might haves" get to be a little too much, or at least enough that I couldn't see giving this biography five stars.

    More

    The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adrienne Mayor
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (293)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (238)

    A National Book Award finalist for this epic work, Adrienne Mayor delivers a gripping account of Mithradates, the ruthless visionary who began to challenge Rome’s power in 120 B.C. Machiavelli praised his military genius. Kings coveted his secret elixir against poison. Poets celebrated his victories, intrigues, and panache. But until now, no one has told the full story of his incredible life.

    Darwin8u says: "A mythic & complicated life of a charismatic King"
  • "One of the great adventures in huma..."

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    Herodotus might have been the Father of History, but Xenophon was the cool, older brother. This one-time pupil of Socrates is one of those soldier/scholars who makes both intellectuals and warriors feel inadequate. 'The Persian Expedition' or 'The March of the Ten Thousand' or 'Anabasis' (all depending on your version or translation) relates the story told by Xenophon of his experiences fighting with and leading the 10,000 Hellene mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger and the army's 3000+ mile march into Persian.

    This experience, which Will Durrant once called "one of the great adventures in human history," can be read as history, adventure story, leadership manual, or a real-life application of Socratic philosophy.

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    The March of the Ten Thousand

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Xenophon
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (280)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (105)

    Translated by W. E. D. Rouse, The March of the Ten Thousand is one of the most admired and widely read pieces of ancient literature to come down to us. Xenophon employs a very simple, straightforward style to describe what is probably the most exciting military adventure ever undertaken. It is an epic of courage, faith and democratic principle.

    Benedict says: "An intelligent leader"
  • "An Amazing Piece of History"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There was some drudgery with the minor, post Constantine emperors. I was also not as excited by the HRE sections as I was by the sections on the Rise of Islam, the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and the Crusades. Those sections alone are why I rated the second half 5 stars and not 4. Anyway, a fantastic read. Ironic to finish it right after S&P lowers our national credit rating and our senators again fail to do anything productive. Thrilled that so much effort was put into making this available in Audio format.

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    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 3

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Edward Gibbon
    • Narrated By Bernard Mayes
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (48)

    This third volume of Gibbon's masterpiece covers the years A.D. 1185 to A.D. 1453 and explores the rise of Islam, the Crusades, the invention of gunpowder, Genghis Khan and the Mongol invasions, the Turkish conquests, and the beginning of the Renaissance.

    Darwin8u says: "An Amazing Piece of History"
  1. The Poison King: The Life...
  2. The March of the Ten Thou...
  3. The Decline and Fall of t...
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Timothy

Timothy Huntersville, NC, United States 10-08-13
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  • "Interesting, but not conclusive"

    11 of 15 helpful votes
    What did you like best about The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon? What did you like least?

    I liked the historical context of the lectures and how they detailed the writing of the books in the New Testament.

    What I didn't like was that there seemed to be an undertone of doubt about the validity of any of the books. Prof. Ehrman began the lectures by stating that any two texts that were virtually identical in subject, writing style, or account could almost certainly be considered copies of eachother. (he went into a very convincing example in his lecture) He references several corresponding accounts in the gospels that he supposes had to be copied from other resources. Later, though, Ehrman references discrepancies in accounts of the same events in different gospels and uses this as reason to doubt the validity of scripture. I think a reasonable doubt is healthy when digesting any information, but you can't have it both ways. Ehrman is suggesting that similarities in scripture are reason to doubt their validity, and again later suggesting that discrepancies are reason to discredit.

    These lectures are written from a historical perspective, not a theologic one. That said, it still seems that the goal of the lectures isn't only to educate about the writing, assembly, and preservation of the New Testament.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    Possibly


    What three words best describe Professor Bart D. Ehrman’s performance?

    Knowledgable, Informative, Biased


    Do you think The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I would like to see a point by point rebuttal from a biblical historical perspective. After independently researching many points made in the lectures and finding that they weren't entirely based in fact, I would love to listen to lectures that are based on biblical explanations.


    More

    The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bart D. Ehrman
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
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    What different kinds of books are in the New Testament? When, how, and why were they written? And why did some books, and not others, come to be collected into what Christians came to consider the canon of scripture that would define their belief for all time? With these 12 lectures, get a fast-moving yet thorough introduction to these and other key issues in the development of Christianity.

    eric says: "Very informative"

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    Performance
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    Titus Pullus, the hero of the 10th Legion and the Marching With Caesar series, tells his story from the very beginning of his life, starting with his relationship with his father, how his friendship with Vibius Domitius began, and how their burning ambition to join the Legions was helped by a veteran nicknamed Cyclops. Enlisting in the 10th Legion, raised in 61 B.C. by Gaius Julius Caesar, Birth of the 10th Legion recounts the first campaign ever conducted by Julius Caesar as a commander...

  • The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire (






UNABRIDGED) by Susan P. Mattern Narrated by James Patrick Cronin

    The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Susan P. Mattern
    • Narrated By James Patrick Cronin
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Galen of Pergamum (A.D. 129-ca. 216) began his remarkable career tending to wounded gladiators in provincial Asia Minor. Later in life he achieved great distinction as one of a small circle of court physicians to the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the very heart of Roman society. Susan Mattern's The Prince of Medicine offers the first authoritative biography in English of this brilliant, audacious, and profoundly influential figure.

    Jean says: "history of medicine"
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