If you want to know more about this incredible place and time for all of the above subjects as well as an interesting interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Paganism, this is a great one-stop source. I learned much about the great minds of the past and the context of their discoveries.
54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.
This is a gratifying read on a fascinating place and time. I had always wondered about the great library in Alexandria and always greatly mourned its demise. The great library's destruction is one of mankind's greatest losses! This read actually covers quite a bit on the time period putting context on this amazing city's rise and fall. An enriching read. Recommended.
This is a broad, sweeping history from the foundation of Alexandria, to the invasion of Islam. It gives a good picture of the thinking of the hellenized world. I did not realize how much like them we are.
That the ancient world could have known so much and then have it forgotton, not to be rediscovered for a thousand years, is a sad and uncomforting thought.
This book tied together lots of history for me, including how Greece, Rome and Christianity fit together. I didn't realize how much of "Greek" history was Alexandrian and I was shocked by the number of great thinkers that came through this city.
I thought I knew a little bit about Alexandria, but this book showed me how little I actually knew!
The history of this city and the people who made it what it became is well worth your credit! I had no idea how much this city and the (famous) people who lived there shaped the western world for centuries. I was so surprised by the discoveries that we had been taught only arrived in the Enlightenment that actually were "old news" in Alexandria. You'll be surprised by the familiar names of so many inventors, philosophers, rulers, and others who are wrapped up closely in the history of this city. This is not "dry" history; the authors do a good job of keeping us interested - mostly because it really was not a boring or "dry" topic! (...and besides, Simon Vance has never disappointed me.)
Side note: This city was so far ahead of it's time - if only the discoveries of this culture had not been buried for centuries... It leaves you wondering where we might be today....
I'm extremely torn on this book; probably more so than any of the dozen or so history titles I've listened to on audible so far.
On one hand, it is extremely imformative. Note that this book is really about the academics/scholars/scientists that were from Alexandria, or those who studied/lived there for a time. It's less about the city itself and it's history, although that of course works its way into Reid and Pollard's narrative...especially and the beginning and the end of the book.
There's some great stuff in here....Reid and Pollard argue that Archimedes may have lived in Alexandria; discuss the important Alexandrian Jewish community and its impact on early Christianity; flesh out the geographer Ptolemy; and discuss Celsus, an early critic of Christianity and its origins. Among other topics.
That said, I feel like this book would work better in print form, as the voiceover can drag on and there isn't the kind of narrative that makes a history book work in audio format.
This is just a terrific listen. I'm afraid I'm only echoing the earlier reviews, but that's because I agree with them totally. If all books of history were written like this kids would be lining up to read (or listen to) them. Pollard and Reid make every chapter fascinating. I cussed out loud when my iPod died in the middle of it. I recommend this to anyone who likes history. Plus, Simon Vance reads in his irresistable manner. Five starts all the way down the line. Rick
The story of Alexandria is far larger and richer than I had imagined. This book could have gone on for 22 hours and still not felt too long or too detailed. Well told, complete with the back stories and sidebars, the personalities and history.
It is interesting to hear how even in 177AD was talking about how low brow (intellectually) Christianity was. How it seemed to seek out those least disposed to reasoning, something we see today with the Republican party and the religious "Right".
If we could only learn from history, maybe we wouldn't have to destroy our country like the Romans and Christians destroyed Alexandria.
I live and work at a lighthouse in central California since '97. I have been surfing since '82 and have a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from UCSC. I was a naturalist for children from '97-03. Zen Buddhist.
I learned so much from this book then I even expected. I may listen to again several times. Well done and the narrator was perfect!
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern Mind, by Justin Pollard, Howard Reid, is a magnificently organized, conceptually presented history of Western or Mediterranean civilization between the end of Alexander the Great’s time and into the fifth century. It is a history, a listing of facts and information but presented with genius. The authors lay out their information in generally chronological order, but in separate chapters cover the political, scientific, philosophical, religious, gadgetry, art and ethnic histories of that period. They tell all about the advances and withdrawals throughout the Mediterranean during those centuries.
The particular chapters often concentrate on one to three particular individuals and the overall story, and surrounding history, is told through those individuals trials and tribulations. The main or dominant characters are the Ptolemaics and their Hellenistic kingdom based in Egypt. Yet much concentration is put upon Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and their intellectual progeny; in philosophy, medicine, arts and religion. We are introduced to the Romans, Caesar, Anthony and their relationship to Cleopatra, etc. We learn about the Alexandrian Jews, the evolution of Catholicism, and their overcoming paganism, or did they?
This is a history of a time most people do not often learn about, from 300 B.C. to 400 A.C. What happened and how it shaped who we are and what we now have. Every tale is told interestingly. I thought I knew about the Great Alexandrian Library, but in fact my knowledge was all wrong. The library came and went with very little historic trace. This book is well thought out, well presented and well read by Simon Vance. What more can be asked for?