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The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization (Oxford Companions) Paperback – 23 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (23 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198609582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198609582
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 3.6 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

beautifully illustrated and intelligently reader friendly (TLS)

This is a serious book as well as an attractive one (T. P. Wiseman, TLS)

a cut above (Booklist)

magnificent (Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph (reviewing OCD))

a classic...a highly readable and browseable delight...should be in every reference collection (B. Juhl, Choice (reviewing OCD))

a delight for anyone with any curiosity about the roots of our Western culture...a browser's paradise, and I would think a researcher's quick rescuer (Arthur Miller, London Review of Books (reviewing OCD))

the third edition of The Oxford Classical Dictionary should be saluted (Nigel Spivey, Guardian (reviewing OCD))

a remarkable feat...Simon Hornblower and Tony Spawforth deserve a round of applause for the spread, exactness and range of this massive overhaul (Robin Lane Fox, Observer (reviewing OCD))

offers not only that breakfast for the mind we keep hearing about, but lunch, tea, dinner, supper and non-stop snacks...offers a cornucopia of accurate and succinct knowledge that would be hard to equal ((Peter Green, Washington Times (reviewing OCD))

the ultimate useful book (Peter Jones, Sunday Telegraph (reviewing OCD))

an astonishing book (Robert Beaumont, Yorkshire Evening Press (reviewing OCD))

the book's substance speaks for itself: 364 distinguished scholars contribute scrupulously sourced intellectual meat of a texture that Socrates himself would savour (Sunday Times (reviewing OCD))

For classical scholars, the Oxford Classical Dictionary is what Wisden is for cricket fans: the one indispensable reference book...this book is more than a crossword-filler's vade mecum. In the sense of our collective intellectual domestication, it is a household object. (The Week (reviewing OCD))

About the Author

Simon Hornblower is Professor of Classics and Ancient History, University College London. He is the author and editor of many books (see books by the same author).

Antony Spawforth is Professor of Ancient History, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He is also a well-known presenter of television programmes on archaeological and classical subjects in the BBC series 'Ancient Voices'. He has written and edited many books (see books by the same author).

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Mar. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This dictionary is a must have for any classics student, or teachers for that matter! It covers a wide variety of topics from Roman empire to magic, and from literature to cookery in antiquity. It has an easy to read format, contains over two dozen maps and colour plates and many more black and white plates. It is suitable for anyone studying this subject, and I would recommend it especially to those of you who are studying at A-Level and degree (ie, 16+). The 'Companion' takes the most important entries, in full, from its sister book, the Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd ed) to create a cheaper and less weighty version, great for those who are on a budget. Topics that require a little more explainaiton are given longer articles so that this extra detail can be added. The excellent editing means that only the best information is supplied by the best authors in the business. This truely is a vital companion for anyone who about to venture classical civilization.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 30 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Admittedly there's no beating the OCD but this is a brilliant alternative. The entries come from the OCD itself but it excludes the bibliographies per subject - which frankly are out of date anyway. As the other reviewer here has mentioned, the entries are wide ranging and eclectic, but always informative, readable and stimulating. I have the hardback version (necessary for the amount of referencing it gets!) and the book itself is nicely produced with good weight paper and excellent illustrations. Whether you're a serious student or an interested amateur, this is a brilliant buy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian.S. on 17 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are always people who will express dissatisfaction with a book that attempts to cover everything on a given subject. They will then tend to disregard or fail to grasp what the proper objective of a book is. This means that experts will always find omissions, generalisations and, of course will vehemently disagree with the authors and contributors in this book.

In this instance,this book is a COMPANION to classical civilisation. It contains thousands of entries and articles relating to probably every subject pertaining to the classical world. This book is an excellent guide to the general student of the classics in that it will explain subjects to you and from there, the student can look elsewhere for more detailed elucidation.

The entries are easily understandable and there are numerous longer essays on major subjects (Socrates, Drama etc.) which makes the book even more valuable.

The book is excellent value for money bearing in mind the wealth of information contained therein. Books like these are not the be all and end all for studies, but guide you and inform. Sufficient to understand the general principles of a subject. Highly recommended.
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By Myra on 5 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finding out about this volume made me feel excited about the great amount of useful information I anticipated to find there. Now, after spending several evenings reading it, I must confess my disappointment. The book gives a good introduction to many uncontroversial subjects, like contraception, roads, famine in the ancient times etc. Quite unexpectedly, many entries plainly state that few facts are known about the subject. Well, something still must be known, if editors of the volume have included the specific entry. Otherwise I don't see a point in making an encyclopedia to say that there is no information.

Regarding major subjects like the career of Augustus only the basic and proven facts are given. I suppose that the authors tried to achieve the utmost objectivity, bet in the end this has led to making the volume too general and tedious.

To sum up, the book definitely is a must-have for anyone who is interested much or less deeply in the Ancient Civilization, but if you are already familiar with the subject, do not expect to obtain spectacular revelations about this or that matter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cinders on 9 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great alternative to the OCD, more compact yet retaining the essential facts. A must have for any classics fan!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Christopher Harris VINE VOICE on 18 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the standard companion text for anyone studying the classical period, a must-have really.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Flannel O'Bran on 7 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've come to classical civilization via the history of mathematics so my following criticism needs to be read with this in mind.

Magna Grecia produced the biggest leaps in mathematical development in the history of the subject, with Euclid's Elements never being out of print for over 2 millenia. With this is mind why are there not separate entries for the most famous geometers: Archimedes, Eudoxus, Ptolemy, Appolonius etc. No mention of the 3 classical problems of antiquity is also a shocking omission, especially as the research program around them was one of the main motors of greek mathematical development.

I fear this relegation of mathematics is due either to a belief that the readership of this book would not be interested or its a topic that the editors did not feel personally comfortable with. Plato appreciated the importance of the subject, placing an inscription over his Academy which I've twisted for the title of this review.

However, given the amount that has to be crammed into a single volume I have so far found the entries to be excellent. And, it does it's job, helping to provide information on something that might be relatively fleetingly, but intregingly, mentioned in some other book that one is reading.

For the amount I paid for my second-hand copy I feel a bit mean in only giving 4 stars.
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