• The Iliad, Homer's epic tale of the abduction of Helen and the decade-long Trojan War, has fascinated mankind for millennia. Even today, the war inspires countless articles and books, extensive archaeological excavations, movies, television documentaries, even souvenirs and collectibles. But while the ancients themselves believed that the Trojan War took place, scholars of the modern era have sometimes derided it as a piece of fiction.
    Combining archaeological data and textual analysis of ancient documents, this Very Short Introduction considers whether or not the war actually took place and whether archaeologists have really discovered the site of ancient Troy. To answer these questions, archaeologist and ancient historian Eric H. Cline examines various written sources, including the works of Homer, the Epic Cycle (fragments from other, now-lost Greek epics), classical plays, and Virgil's Aeneid. Throughout, the author tests the literary claims against the best modern archaeological evidence, showing for instance that Homer, who lived in the Iron Age, for the most part depicted Bronze Age warfare with accuracy. Cline also tells the engaging story of the archaeologists--Heinrich Schliemann and his successors Wilhelm Dorpfeld, Carl Blegen, and Manfred Korfmann--who found the long-vanished site of Troy through excavations at Hisarlik, Turkey.
    Drawing on evidence found at Hisarlik and elsewhere, Cline concludes that a war or wars in the vicinity of Troy probably did take place during the Late Bronze Age, forming the nucleus of a story that was handed down orally for centuries until put into final form by Homer. But Cline suggests that, even allowing that a Trojan War took place, it probably was not fought because of Helen's abduction, though such an incident may have provided the justification for a war actually fought for more compelling economic and political motives.
    About the Series:
    Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

  • The Greek Bronze Age, roughly 3000 to 1000 BCE, witnessed the flourishing of the Minoan and Mycenean civilizations, the earliest expansion of trade in the Aegean and wider Mediterranean Sea, the development of artistic techniques in a variety of media, and the evolution of early Greek religious practices and mythology. The period also witnessed a violent conflict in Asia Minor between warring peoples in the region, a conflict commonly believed to be the historical basis for Homers Trojan War. The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean provides a detailed survey of these fascinating aspects of the period, and many others, in sixty-six newly commissioned articles. Divided into four sections, the handbook begins with Background and Definitions, which contains articles establishing the discipline in its historical, geographical, and chronological settings and in its relation to other disciplines. The second section, Chronology and Geography, contains articles examining the Bronze Age Aegean by chronological period (Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age). Each of the periods are further subdivided geographically, so that individual articles are concerned with Mainland Greece during the Early Bronze Age, Crete during the Early Bronze Age, the Cycladic Islands during the Early Bronze Age, and the same for the Middle Bronze Age, followed by the Late Bronze Age. The third section, Thematic and Specific Topics, includes articles examining thematic topics that cannot be done justice in a strictly chronological/geographical treatment, including religion, state and society, trade, warfare, pottery, writing, and burial customs, as well as specific events, such as the eruption of Santorini and the Trojan War. The fourth section, Specific Sites and Areas, contains articles examining the most important regions and sites in the Bronze Age Aegean, including Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Knossos, Kommos, Rhodes, the northern Aegean, and the Uluburun shipwreck, as well as adjacent areas such as the Levant, Egypt, and the western Mediterranean. Containing new work by an international team of experts, The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean represents the most comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date single-volume survey of the field. It will be indispensable for scholars and advanced students alike.

  • Public interest in biblical archaeology is at an all-time high, as television documentaries pull in millions of viewers to watch shows on the Exodus, the Ark of the Covenant, and the so-called Lost Tomb of Jesus. Important discoveries with relevance to the Bible are made virtually every year--during 2007 and 2008 alone researchers announced at least seven major discoveries in Israel, five of them in or near Jerusalem. Biblical Archaeology offers a passport into this fascinating realm, where ancient religion and modern science meet, and where tomorrow's discovery may answer a riddle that has lasted a thousand years.
    Archaeologist Eric H. Cline here offers a complete overview of this exciting field. He discusses the early pioneers, such as Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie and William Foxwell Albright, the origins of biblical archaeology as a discipline, and the major controversies that first prompted explorers to go in search of objects and sites that would "prove" the Bible. He then surveys some of the most well-known biblical archaeologists, including Kathleen Kenyon and Yigael Yadin, the sites that are essential sources of knowledge for biblical archaeology, such as Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Lachish, Masada, and Jerusalem, and some of the most important discoveries that have been made, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mesha Inscription, and the Tel Dan Stele. Subsequent chapters examine additional archaeological finds that shed further light on the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, the issue of potential frauds and forgeries, including the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Tablet, and future prospects of the field.
    Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction captures the sense of excitement and importance that surrounds not only the past history of the field but also the present and the future, with fascinating new discoveries made each and every season.

  • The Student Study Guides are important and unique components that are available for each of the books in The World in Ancient Times series. Each of the Student Study Guides is designed to be used with the main text at school or sent home for homework assignments. The activities in the Student Study guide will help students get the most out of their history books. Each student study guide includes a chapter-by-chapter two-page lesson that uses a variety of interesting activities to help a student master history and develop important reading and study skills.

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