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Ancient Iraq (Penguin History)

Ancient Iraq (Penguin History) [Kindle Edition]

Georges Roux
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Book provides an introduction to the history of ancient Mesopotamia and its civilizations, incorporating archaeological and historical finds up to 1992

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9973 KB
  • Print Length: 552 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 014012523X
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 Aug 1992)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI92AW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #180,047 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
114 of 115 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly but accessible 9 Oct 2005
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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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 'heavy' and academic too!! 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
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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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Read 10 Feb 2004
After reading many general histories of Mesopotamia, I found George Roux's Ancient Iraq the most useful and comprehensive. Rather than give an overall view of everyday life in the region (letters, city plans and religion), Roux chooses to concentrate on the spread of cultural influences, and importantly, the military victories and defeats of the kings and rulers of the city states. This may sound like a heavy read, but Roux throws in some humour ('Gungunnum', a king who Roux points out sounds like the sound of a beating battle drum). Politics is the key word here, and Roux does a superb job. Read it like a novel, and get ready for the rise and fall of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians. Even the Assyrian conquest of Egypt gets a mention. If you are after a lighter read try Gwendolyn Leick's 'Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City'.
Overall you will not find a book quite as removed from the rest than you will this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A view of a different world
This is where agriculture was created and exported to Egypt. This is where phonic writing was created. The Sumerians were wonderful people. Creative happy and loving. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rwth of Cornovii
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Excellent book, I really like the approach, the logical way in which is has been set out. I like the language; it is not patronising, and I like the the sympathetic approach.
Published 4 months ago by y
5.0 out of 5 stars Encyclopedic
Although dated in some respects, Georges Roux' book provides a scholarly overview of the development and history of early societies in Ancient Iraq. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Miriam Day
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle, anyone?
Great book, but a question for Amazon: why is the Kindle edition dearer than the paperback? Kindle pricing needs to be examined generally, but particularly for referance material.
Published 17 months ago by C
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is an excellent introduction to ancient Mesopotamia and I would highly recommend it to undergraduates and, indeed, to anyone interested in the early development of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by George's grandaughter
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't doubt buying it for a second!
I bought this book as I'm interested in classics, having studied classical civilisations at A level. Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2011 by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Oldie
Although Roux's book is a little dated, and some of the place names he uses have changed, it is still without companion as a superb introduction to the civilisations of ancient... Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2011 by Mr. M. J. Farren
2.0 out of 5 stars Really not that great
I bought this book first on the weight of the other reviews to read as a primer to the subject. Unfortunately i found the style difficult to read with a heavy reliance on terms and... Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2011 by Wakanai
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesopotamia's history well written
Simply the best book i have ever read on the subject.

Georges Roux succeeds in clearly reviewing Iraq ancient history. Read more
Published on 2 Sep 2010 by Eric le rouge
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
I wanted to learn a bit about Mesopotamia, so I chose this book because of the positite reviews. I'm glad I did! Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2008 by Mr. Graham Burns
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Popular Highlights

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Whatever man achieved in ancient Iraq, he did it at the price of a constant struggle against nature and against other men, and this struggle forms the very thread of history in that part of the world. &quote;
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users
the Mesolithic period was a time of settlement and of slow but tremendous advances in several fields. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
inescapable, conclusion to be drawn from the Eridu temples is that the same religious traditions were handed down from century to century on the same spot from about the middle of the sixth millennium B.C. until historical times, and from the relatively recent finding of two Ubaid shrines near to Anu's ‘White Temple’ at Uruk (see Chapter 5). Thus &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

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