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Ancient Iraq Hardcover – Dec 1964


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 431 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin; 1st edition (Dec. 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0049560042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0049560048
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 15 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,849,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Nowhere, perhaps, is the influence of geography upon history as clearly demonstrated as in the group of countries which extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Iranian plateau and form what we call the Near East. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 117 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
Georges Roux, who died recently at a good old age, was a remarkable man. He was an Anglophile French doctor who worked in Iraq many years ago for an international oil company. While in Iraq and later, he was fascinated by the epic history of the Mesopotamian civilizations that succeeded one another over three thousand years. As a non-specialist, he appreciates the difficulties of the ordinary reader when confronted with a subject whose ancient history, languages, literature and archaeology are all difficult, specialist fields. He wrote the book for Penguin Books in English from the outset, and since it sold very well Penguin came back to him for revised editions. He had a great range of contacts, and his revisions were first-class. The last revised edition is up to date to the time of the Gulf War, since when there has been no further archaeological work in Iraq. I read this book when it first came out. I teach the subject at university level, and I have always recommended it as an excellent and thorough introduction. It reads very well, and contains a wealth of information that is put over with great clarity. People to whom I have recommended it have come back and told me how good a book they think it is.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
Now in its 3rd edition, Ancient Iraq remains the most complete and readable overview of the history of this cradle of civilization. Interestingly, the word Iraq comes from the name of the Sumerian city state Uruk. There is now a village called Warka near the ruins of the ancient city.
The introductory chapters explore the geographical setting, archaeological research and the paleo-, meso- and neolithic periods. Following on, the author discusses the Hassuna, Samarra, Halat, Ubaid, Uruk and Jemdat timeframes, and the ancient trade routes.
Next up is the Sumerian civilization, with a study of its origin, religion, history and mythology. The story of Gilgamesh is covered here. There was a Semitic interlude and a final Sumerian renaissance before the torch of history passed to the Semites in the form of the Akkadians and later the Assyrians and Babylonians. The statesman and lawgiver Hammurabbi is thoroughly dealt with.
But other peoples played a part too, like the Hurrians, Mitannians and Kassites. Insofar as they impacted upon the history of the area, empires like the Hittite and the Egyptian are also considered. There are detailed narratives on the Assyrian empire, the Chaldean kings and the fall of Nineveh and later of Babylon. After this event, Mesopotamia ceased to be a seat of empire and passed from the Persians to the Greeks, the Parthians, the Sassanids and ultimately to the Arabs.
In the Epilogue, we learn of the heritage of this civilization, such as enduring religious symbols like the Maltese cross, the tree of life an the crescent. Some words have come down to us, like "alcohol" (guhlu in Akkadian), "myrrh" (murru) and "naphta" (naptu), "abyss" (abzu in Sumerian).
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the marvellous books written by someone who knows so much that he makes it sound all too easy; Christopher Duffy has a similar style and Bindhoff's Tudor England is another such joy.

One feels Roux grasps how these ancient cultures actually worked as functioning societies rather than as quaint historical constructs. One sees how the strange factory cultures of Sumer (everyone working for the globalised gods) clashed with the free-booting Semitic and then Hurrian peoples of the periphery resulting in respectively Sargon and Assyria. Here is a people simple enough to be owned by their gods and yet already engaging in complex commercial structures and bureaucratic management never mind their scientific achievements.

Each chapter is just enough to flesh out a culture and then on to the next. Each makes one to think of a real society with rational aims and goals. Each chapter is also well paced enough for you to retain your understanding until you can link to the next piece of the historical chain.

I would not have believed such a distant civilisation could so effortlessly been evoked; something only a great deal of knowledge can achieve.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By T. S. C. VINE VOICE on 25 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to really understand the very beginnings of settled culture and civilisations. It is a serious and academic book, but the author Georges Roux is also interested in putting across heavy and well-researched material to 'lay' people as well as more learned academics.
I am personally obsessed with early civilisations and the more I read and understand, the more I am held in awe by our ancestors. This book is a great introduction to what can be a veritable wealth and minefield of information, and is also something that would give people a taste for other branches of ancient history, such as the study of other ancient cultures, archaeology, the trade and 'intercourse' between great and ancient civilisations, and so on. All in all, a very good book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laura on 6 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as I'm interested in classics, having studied classical civilisations at A level. As such I have no depth of knowledge in this area and this book was my starting point. It really does frame the mindset of the people of Iraq beautifully, outlining the importance of irragation, farming, defense etc to the people of the area, the author expands upon the ancient cities from the stone age right up to describing the recent digs the international archaeologits have done which really puts whole aspects of little known knowledge into perfect context. The volume and scope of material covered is immense and accompanied not only by plain ink diagrams embedded in the text throughout the book but also several pages of glossy photos of seals, tablets, cities etc which all contribute to giving the reader a sense of real progress in this area of little known history. I have also bought other books on the subject but this book is my favorite. Also I would say that although you do need to concentrate on the information you are taking in, because it is so new, when other reviewers have said the book id dense it is not difficult to understand or written in overly complicated language but it contains a lot of information, so avoid distractions when reading!

I don't know how I lived without it! Buy it!
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