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Caesar and Christ: 3 (The Story of Civilization) Hardcover – 1 Jan 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Fine Communications,US (1 Jan. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567310141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567310146
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 521,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By oamaz on 8 Sept. 2000
Format: Hardcover
One must have a talent to write about history in such vivid and colorful style, being able to give an overview of all aspects of a period - wars, heroes and politicians of the epoch, way of living, arts, medicine, customs, family etc. without becoming dry of language and just merely reciting the widely known. Even if you think you knew a lot about Romans, their origins and culture, you fill find out many new facts (besides the ones they have shown in "Gladiator :)
It is a civilization which was brought to ruins by its own thirst for power, ambitions and vice, but Christianity, to me personally, pales in comparison to its grandeur and achievements... Definitely it is not the book you will gulp overnight, but it will be bringing you many exciting hours of absorbing reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Oct. 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is the best historical work I have yet seen. Mr. Durant's blends oustanding historical analysis and perspective with literary story-telling skill as well as any other historian I have read. He covers the rise of Rome superbly, but his analysis on Christ and the rise of Christianity is a masterpiece. He approaches the controversial topic of Jesus' historicity carefully and scientifically, with insight that will leave both the discriminating scientist and the pious believer satisfied. This work is several decades old, but it far surpasses the sensationalist, "revisionist" works of today. This is the greatest volume of Durant's excellent series on the history of civilization.
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Format: Hardcover
Seeing that we are tied to the same primary sources as historians living 50 years ago, we may as well go for the best prose writer.

Durant's Caesar and Christ is spellbinding and reads as good as Mommsem and Gibbon. They knew the art of writing in those days.

I see that Amazon are selling this book for peanuts. Its worth more in my opinion!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
All roads lead to Rome, but this is the scenic route 19 Oct. 2003
By Rick Darby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Only 40 years ago, Will Durant (whose wife, Ariel, was co-author of the later books) was among the most celebrated popular historians for the multi-volume Story of Civilization. Today, he is all but obscure. (I "Googled" his name and found only a single web site where he is mentioned -- and that's the site of the foundation administered by his estate).
Wherefore has his reputation dimmed so suddenly? I imagine that even when he was alive and publishing, academic historians dismissed him with their favorite put-down, that he was a mere "synthesizer." As if that wasn't bad enough, he was widely read by non-historians!
In today's academic Dark Ages, he is no doubt beneath contempt, since he doesn't see history as defined by economic, class and gender issues (although in fact he has plenty to say about all those -- he just doesn't focus on them as though they are the beginning and end of what makes the past important). Moreover, Durant assumes the currently unthinkable on our politically correct campuses: that western civilization and Dead White Males actually have given us a great deal that has timeless value.
But, if you have shaken off (or not been subjected to) the ideology of the PC drones of academia, Durant is just the writer to make history what it was meant to be: colorful, literate, mind-stretching. This is no sugar-coated account; he discusses the ugly, cruel and unjust aspects of the Roman Republic and Empire, but balances that by examining what was good and enduring.

Of the Story of Civilization books, I have read completely only this volume on the Roman world (I'm currently reading the previous volume on Greece), but have no hesitation in saying that Caesar and Christ is the best piece of historical writing I have ever encountered, and I suspect that the whole series has many of its virtues. Although he may be a "synthesist," Durant has obviously read deeply in the ancient writers, and has seen and pondered the art and artifacts of the Roman era.
The result is prose that sings, and encompasses both the "big picture" and fascinating, out-of-the-way detail. Durant gives you a survey of the personalities, the politics, the social world, the ideas, the literature and the arts of this period that shaped the western world. Far from being a piece of bone-dry "historiography," Caesar and Christ is a grand essay in the great tradition of Gibbon. The elegance and wisdom of the writing are something to marvel at.
If you are interested in the Roman era, you will find Caesar and Christ to be enormously rewarding.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
A compelling history.. 12 Jan. 2002
By reason - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Will Durant's fascination with Rome was no secret, and in this, the third installment of his "Story Of Civilization" series, he captivates the reader with not only the complete history of Rome, but also its crucial link to christianity.. Durant correctly points out the fact that christianity traveled along the roads that Rome built, and that she gave her maternal blood in the organization and perpetuation of the church. Indeed, his description of christianity as the "last great creation of the ancient pagan world" is one of the outstanding insights of history, and within this context Durant develops one of the most cogent of all his many perspectives on the interactions between the state and religion.
Unlike some scholars, Durant is convinced as to the historicity, if not the divinity, of Jesus, which reflects the majority opinion of historians---that he was not the fictive product of overactive imaginations as to his having been a real human being. Additionally, he goes into detail about the apostles and how Paul's theology of grace would eventually triumph over the messages of both Peter and Christ. He thus concludes: "Protestantism was the triumph of Paul over Peter; Fundamentalism is the triumph of Paul over Christ."
Add to the above Durant's moving accounts of Rome's outstanding statesmen, generals, poets, writers and leading ladies, and you have one of the outstanding works of history written in a middle-brow fashion that makes it accessable to the general reader. Such is Durant's trademark, and it explains why his writings continue to sell in large numbers well beyond his and his wife's passing.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating and Detailed 6 Dec. 2000
By Dana Keish - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book! The history of the Roman empire has always fascinated me but I never found a good overview that was detailed enough without being boring. Finally, I found the Will Durant series and began working my way through the volumes. This has been one of the best.
It is amazing the level of detail that the author is able to incorporate into the book. You not only get a sense of the historical events but also what it was actually like to live during this time period. Literature and art are covered in detailed. The background on the founding of the Christian church was the most comprehensive and interesting that I have ever read.
I strongly recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand the early beginnings of the Christian church within the context of the time. I look forward to reading the future volumes.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding work of history 16 Oct. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the best historical work I have yet seen. Mr. Durant's blends oustanding historical analysis and perspective with literary story-telling skill as well as any other historian I have read. He covers the rise of Rome superbly, but his analysis on Christ and the rise of Christianity is a masterpiece. He approaches the controversial topic of Jesus' historicity carefully and scientifically, with insight that will leave both the discriminating scientist and the pious believer satisfied. This work is several decades old, but it far surpasses the sensationalist, "revisionist" works of today. This is the greatest volume of Durant's excellent series on the history of civilization.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An excellent, comprehensive study of Roman Empire. 2 Jun. 1999
By sschopp@mail.coin.missouri.edu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For most of us, this very readable and comprehensive history of Rome will not only fill in copious gaps in our knowledge but a create a desire for more. The many accomplishments of the Roman Republic and Empire are even more impressive in this detailed analysis. Especially interesting is Durant's view of historical customs on the Christian Church. Begin with this book, if you want to know a lot more about ancient Rome.
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