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Publisher's Summary

Long sources of mystery, imagination, and inspiration, the myths and history of the ancient Mediterranean have given rise to artistic, religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions that span the centuries. In this unique and comprehensive introduction to the region's three major civilizations, Egypt, Greece, and Rome draws a fascinating picture of the deep links between the cultures across the Mediterranean and explores the ways in which these civilizations continue to be influential to this day.

Beginning with the emergence of the earliest Egyptian civilization around 3500 BC, Charles Freeman follows the history of the Mediterranean over a span of four millennia to AD 600, beyond the fall of the Roman empire in the west to the emergence of the Byzantine empire in the east. In addition to the three great civilizations, the peoples of the Ancient Near East and other lesser-known cultures such as the Etruscans, Celts, Persians, and Phoenicians are explored. The author examines the art, architecture, philosophy, literature, and religious practices of each culture, set against its social, political, and economic background. More than an overview of the primary political or military events, Egypt, Greece, and Rome pays particular attention to the actual lives of both the everyday person and the aristocracy: Here is history brought to life. Especially striking are the readable and stimulating profiles of key individuals throughout the ancient world, covering persons from Homer to Horace, the Pharaoh Akhenaten to the emperor Augustus, Alexander the Great to Julius Caesar, Jesus to Justinian, and Aristotle to Augustine.

Generously illustrated in both color and black-and-white, and drawing on the most up-to-date scholarship, Egypt, Greece, and Rome is a superb introduction for anyone seeking a better understanding of the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean and their legacy to the West.

©2004 Charles Freeman (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

A well done academic intro done in audio

This book was well written and performed. I'm a very slow reader and I'm a much more audio oriented person anyway as opposed to visual.

But, unfortunately, there aren't a ton of widely available academic audio books in the way of history, or that many academic texts in general in an audio format anyway.

So, when I find books like this that are available as an audiobook I'm always really excited!

This book was read and produced well and the author did a very, very good job covering and illustrating his subjects!

The scholarship was solid and open ended and approached the material from several angles. I also appreciated his bent towards leaning towards the populares.

Overall, I'm really glad I read this and that it was available!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fact After Fact After Fact

Any additional comments?

This is a high quality recording of a textbook being read aloud. There were no ums, ahs or annoying & distracting noises, but neither was there any enthusiasm from a monotonous narrator. Both the data and presentation style are traditionally objective and the tone seems slightly removed from the subject matter. Facts about people and events are mentioned in passing without any indication from the author that they are links in a chain to future things. I felt it was organized as things just happen, one after another. It is 32 hours of who, what, where and how, but rarely any why. There was no indication that the author felt that any fact was more important than or related to any other, so it was difficult for me to place the facts into a comprehensive historical narrative. There wasn’t enough thematic structure for me and all the information ran together to become an unappealing and overwhelming fact blob. <br/><br/>If you want to learn more about Egypt, Greece and Rome, I recommend that you use your credits to purchase 32 hours of the many other excellent ancient history books or courses available on audible. Audible has so many better choices!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Nice reading, except for the pronunciation

What did you love best about Egypt, Greece, and Rome?

A nice synoptic overview. It is read in a thoughtful and unpretentious manner, too.

What didn’t you like about Jim Meskimen’s performance?

While I like his reading style, the pronunciation is pretty abysmal.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

That's an idiotic idea.

Any additional comments?

This review form is silly

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Great story, mediocre reading

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The panoramic subject is treated monumentally and was all I could wish.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite characters are those whose names we will never know but who did all the work of the societies that provide the book's subject matter.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jim Meskimen?

Several from the Library of Congress talking book program. Robert Blumenfeld, who has done some work for Audible, comes to mind. Meskimen would be better if he would pronounce foreign proper names, in which this book abounds, with greater consistency, i.e., any consistency at all. Audible needs to adopt and enforce more specific pronunciation guidelines, such as the Library of Congress program has.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

How fiction-skewed these questions are! If this were a movie, it would have to be longer than the longest boring school film you ever sat through.

Any additional comments?

Audible should devise separate questionnaires for its fiction and nonfiction offerings.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Best to listen chapter by chapter.

Amazing book and very comprehensive. Only issue I had is I got lost when they were in certain chapters. They spoke of one empirical rule. That person passes away and talks about another. Two chapters later they bring another concept of the ruler that you heard died 2 hours ago.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Valiosa introducción a estas civilizaciones

Siendo un neófito en estos temas debo reconocer que no pensé que disfrutaría tanto este libro. Bastante profundidad especialmente en Roma y Grecia. Cubre los aspectos básicos de cómo se vivía en esa época. Altamente recomendado, imprescindible para entender toda la cultura y filosofía de occidente. Muy satisfecho de haberme iniciado en el tema.

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Well rounded approach

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The audiobook covers a large spectrum of topics from the beginning of modern civilization. The book is very thorough, but tangible enough to listen to for hours on end.

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciated the author's approach during his chapters on Greece and early Rome.

Have you listened to any of Jim Meskimen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to this reader before, but he did quite well. His pronunciation of specific greek words was often amiss, but I was able to catch on through out the entire book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Thorough history of ancient world, slanted religious take.

Any additional comments?

I felt the latter Roman history became too rushed and convoluted with author's religious take on history. The author's bias against movements of faith seems evident through the whole book, which is unfortunate. This begins with the first Ancient Near-East settlements and goes through the end of the Byzantine Empire. It is difficult to understand the ancient history approach to their own beliefs due to this overarching theme.

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  • Harriet
  • Boca Raton, FL, United States
  • 10-11-14

An History of Early Europe:HowWe Became Us

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would only recommend this book to someone who already has a good understanding of the histories of Egypt, Greece and Rome.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The writing of history has always been contentious at best. We all wear our own glasses. I read this as an antidote to Susan Bauer's history, and it seemed a reasonable correction at the beginning. While the author cited the translators he consulted sometimes, that did not seem to be applied with consistency.

How could the performance have been better?

I'm an art historian in my mid-60's, and have always continued learning in many ways. I deplore the reader's idiosyncratic and beleagured pronunciation of unfamiliar names and places.I began wincing every time he said "Pliny" or "Galla Placidia".

Did Egypt, Greece, and Rome inspire you to do anything?

We read histories for many, varied reasons. The civilizations treated in this history are remote in time and place, and seem on the surface not to matter too much these days. Alexander did not inspire me to go out and conquer the world. But I see his place in that one.

Any additional comments?

It would be instructive if your readers had speech coaching before attempting the unfamiliar. The readers you have had from Britain seem way more educated.

4 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-05-15

Ambitious yet highly accessible history

This is an ambitious yet accessible and entertaining history of the classical worlds for the general reader. It will make you want to read and learn even more about the great civilisations of antiquity.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Reluctant Shopper
  • 09-20-16

Content fab, shame about the speaker

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It's a heavy subject and needs time, but the lecturer (yes I mean lecturer) has a droning voice making it harder to engage. It's a shame really

What was one of the most memorable moments of Egypt, Greece and Rome?

Not got far enough to comment - see above

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Yes. He did not bring the history alive. He could have demonstrated enthusiasm when speaking

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

0 of 2 people found this review helpful