Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now
Profile for Gaius Demetrius > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Gaius Demetrius
Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,379,000
Helpful Votes: 58

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Gaius Demetrius "support your local poet" (Saughall Massie)

Page: 1
The Time Machine (Penguin Classics)
The Time Machine (Penguin Classics)
by H.G. Wells
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Warning?, 29 July 2007
In 1895, when Wells wrote the Time Machine, Britain was the greatest super power the world had ever seen. However, despite this, the poorer working classes were some of the most poverty stricken and desperate in all of Europe. The Time Traveller believes he has stumbled upon a world where the consequences of the growing gap between the rich and the poor can be seen. The poor people have evolved into the Morlocks and the rich people have evolved into the Eloi.
The brilliance of the narrative comes from how it blends a social commentary with Darwinism. It must be noted however, that the Time Traveller only ever says this is his theory about the origins of the Eloi and the Morlocks, he can never actually say it with any positivity.
The book ends beautifully with a touching moment in the Epilogue about what it truly means to be a human being and I allowed myself a soft smile when I read it. It is one of Wells early works but it does have a claim to be his most imaginative.
Wells was really the first British writer of scientific romances and this tale leaves a lot more questions than answers, which doubtlessly Wells intended.

Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce AD 300-900
Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce AD 300-900
by Michael McCormick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £99.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Book by a Brilliant man, 25 Nov. 2006
McCormick, Michael, Origins of the European Econmy: AD 300-900

The economic machinery of Europe during the Early Middle Ages is a topic that on the surface at least, has left very little evidence for us to be able to deduce any conclusions from. While politically, there was undoubtedly great change in Western Europe, particularly with the rise of the Carolingians and the expansion of Frankish power into Spain, Germany and Italy. However, the economic development that was happening during the years from 700-900 AD have never really been explored in the depth with which McCormick approaches them.

McCormick's brilliant book changes all this. The brilliance of the study comes from the way it re-interprets old pieces of evidence as well as uncovering new material. MCormick asks serious questions on a consistent basis of lots of old evidence. Items such as hagiographical novels and even works of fiction suddenly begin to have whole new meanings and much deeper historical resonance.

McCormick is far too good a historian to allow his new, re-interpreted evidence to stand alone. In the pages of his book we also see the correlating patterns between his own, largely textual research and the findings of archaeology. The results are surprising.

We find an Italy in the 8th century, where a Pope is using coins inscribed with the Arabic for 'there is no God but Allah'. We also find a harrowing scene where Christians are herded down onto beaches by other Christians to be sold into slavery in Arabic lands of North Africa and the Middle East. The overwhelming picture MCormick tries to paint is that far from being isolated, Europe, and especially Italy, was involved in heavy economic interaction with the Arab world by the 8th century.

In the world McCormick uncovers we also find a quite intricate system of toll stations (telonea) that had been established around the frontiers of the Carolingian Empire. This is indicative of movement and probable economic activity.

There is also a trail established in search of the mysterious Radhanites, a Jewish group of merchants (mercatores/negotiatorum) mentioned as trading between China and France in the 9th century by Ibn Khurradadbih. The trail leads us to the Frankish court of Charlemagne himself, where Jewish merchants are present and also to the market of St Denis, where an item called 'cofa' (Malaysian kapu) is on sale.

While McCormick maybe doesn't quite emphasise enough how small scale this trade was in comparison to what was to come in later years, his book is still illuminating. He paints the picture of the early slave trade that one day would grow into the atrocities that occurred in fifteenth century Africa. McCormick also discusses how the development of Latin language and changing meanings of words have contributed to a lack of knowledge on the slave trade. The old Latin word 'servus' is used less and less and increasingly the word for captive (captivus) becomes interchangeable with the word for a slave. We also witness the early and meeoric rise of Venice and see how pioneering and crucial she was in forging links between Europe and the rest of the world.

To add furhter gloss to this book, it is also hugely entertaining. McCormick's conclusions aside, we follow the stories of wonderful characters such as Pope Martin I, St Elias the Younger and Saint Willibald, an Englishman who traversed Europe to do pilgrimage at Jerusalem in the early 8th century. McCormick is a witty writer and at times deploys a dry, underlying humour to his work that makes the characters we come across seem even more human. Such is the case with a a pair of Cremonese shipowners who attempt to evade tolls on the grounds their fathers never did so, despite the fact their fathers never owned a ship. This is a super book and for in moments of profoundity, just as McCormick would have wanted, we do begin to see the pulse of a lost economy.

Boudica: Dreaming The Eagle: Boudica 1
Boudica: Dreaming The Eagle: Boudica 1
by Manda Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction. A must for all lovers of the genre, 16 Mar. 2006
Dreaming the Eagle gives a fantastic account that is heavily felt of the oppression Britain was subjected to under the Roman Empire. I think it is easy to just look at what the Romans did for Britain on terms of road networks and trade, and then forget the brutality they subjected native Britons to, particularly in the early years under Suetonius Paulinus.
This book does not leave that aspect of Roman rule untouched and actually highlights the situation. If historical fiction is your thing I would also recommend Ascent of an Eagle by Gaius Demetrius. This book is wonderfully crafted and compels the reader into the realities of a very grim political situation, set against deep personal struggles.

Collins Modern Classics - The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit - Boxed Set of Four Books in Slip-case: AND The Hobbit
Collins Modern Classics - The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit - Boxed Set of Four Books in Slip-case: AND The Hobbit
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is nothing that compares to this!, 25 Oct. 2004
The perfect and flawless book may be something that is completely unattainable but The Lord Of The Rings of every book I have had the pleasure or misfortune to read is as close as mankind will ever get to that perfection. The entire story ebbs and flows through mysterious fantastical creatures and onwards through barren wastelands and bountiful forests and Tolkien's unmatched narrative always gives the reader the impression he is there. You can almost imagine sitting quietly in Bag End sipping tea while Gandalf and Frodo discuss the fate of the One ring and your heart begins to jump with panic whenever the Nazgul are around. Nothing does or ever will compare to this masterpiece which was inspired by a love of heroism coupled with Tolkien's almost exact knowledge of all Medieval customs and societies which shines through with the romantic idea of a lost King and the Rohirrim riders, similar to war like Medieval warriors who grew up being taught to ride a horse. That is what makes The Lord of the Rings such a magical book. It is not just a beautiful story in its own right, it transcends historical races and different periods into one cohesive and deeply moving story. It really does have everything and everyone, be they young or old, male or female will appreciate its sheer and undeniable magnificence.

Septuagint with Apocrypha
Septuagint with Apocrypha
by L. C. L. Brenton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.39

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most insightful read, 25 Oct. 2004
The Septuagint is one of the most influential books known to human history and there are very few other texts that have effected human society, particularly in Europe so dramatically. The original translations carried out in Alexandria from the time of the third century BC became the foundation for the Old Testament of the Greek Orthodox Church and contains all the books that would later be found in the Protestant King James bible and the Roman Catholic Scriptures with a couple of extra additions neglected by the Western Churches. To read this translation is a must for every one who has an interest in Christianity and the way it has effected European life. We see in the texts how the idea of divinely appointed rulers came to dominate politics across Europe right up until only a couple of centuries ago. There are many other examples of the Septuagint has effected Western Europe and this book must be read for an understanding of how European institutions developed into the political structures we see today such as the Church of England and the Bishop of Rome. The translation is eloquent and manages to retain some of the original beauty of the Greek version without losing too much meaning. For any aspiring student of Christianity, this is possibly the most insightful and profoundly effecting version of the bible available today.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2010 9:58 PM BST

Page: 1