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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'A Classical Education' by Caroline Taggart
This book is part of an extensive series from Michael O'Mara Books Ltd. on subjects that are - or used to be - taught at school; mathematics, English Grammar, History, etc., presented in an enjoyable, readable style.
This volume is an introduction for the general reader to the world of Ancient Greece and Rome.
The first first chapter deals with language - the...
Published on 15 Nov 2009 by Paul Hankinson

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218 of 240 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gives Popular History a Bad Name
As a lecturer in ancient history I have - contrary, perhaps, to the assumptions of other reviewers of this book - no quibble with the popularisation of the subject: on the contrary I wish there were many more accessible and funny books on the subject, for ancient history is packed with opportunities for good gags. However, a popular style is no excuse for poor...
Published on 20 Jan 2010 by Aspasia


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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'A Classical Education' by Caroline Taggart, 15 Nov 2009
By 
Paul Hankinson (Alsager, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This book is part of an extensive series from Michael O'Mara Books Ltd. on subjects that are - or used to be - taught at school; mathematics, English Grammar, History, etc., presented in an enjoyable, readable style.
This volume is an introduction for the general reader to the world of Ancient Greece and Rome.
The first first chapter deals with language - the Greek alphabet, Latin words and phrases used in English (ad nauseam, de facto,modus operandi, etc.) and Greek and Latin plural forms.
The second is about religion and mythology; the principal gods, the underworld, the labours of Hercules, the Fates, Muses and Furies, the Judgement of Paris,etc.
At 26 pages this chapter is essentially a summary, though very useful to anyone whose knowledge of these things is a little vague.
The rest of the book follows this format, with chapters on Greek and Roman History; Classical literature; (mainly Homer,and including short biographies of the foremost dramatists, and writers - Aesop, Euripides, Sappho, Cicero,Virgil, etc. - and chapters on art and architecture (the Seven Wonders of the World, the Pantheon, the Colosseum,etc.); mathematics, science, inventions, medicine and philosophy - the thought of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Sophists, Epicureans, Seneca the Younger and Marcus Aurelius. Finally, the last chapter, of just four pages covers the ancient Olympic Games and Roman arena.
This book is intended for anyone whose acquaintance with the Classical world is limited, and would like to learn more; it commendably fulfils this requirement.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy but educational read, 6 Sep 2009
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Mr. B. M. Taylor (England UK) - See all my reviews
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Having studied some of the classics, out of interest as distinct from academic pressure, I found this book extremely interesting and easy to read, in fact I could hardly put it down. Although I had come across practically everything in this book, the book itself is a wonderful summary, both for the beginner and the well versed. For the price of a couple of pints it is well worth it if only to gain an introduction to th classics. BUY IT and you will not be disappointed.
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218 of 240 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gives Popular History a Bad Name, 20 Jan 2010
As a lecturer in ancient history I have - contrary, perhaps, to the assumptions of other reviewers of this book - no quibble with the popularisation of the subject: on the contrary I wish there were many more accessible and funny books on the subject, for ancient history is packed with opportunities for good gags. However, a popular style is no excuse for poor scholarship, and Ms Taggart has some real howlers: she claims that Homer lived and composed in the 9th century BC: although precise dating is impossible it is generally agreed that Homer (whoever he was) was a product of the 8th century BC. Any edition of his works, any textbook, any reliable reference book will tell you that. So what? It was a long time ago. But a 100 years is not an inconsiderable period of time. How would you feel about a popular history book that claimed WWII took place between 1839 and 1845? You would think the author was an idiot, and you would be right. What's more Athens did NOT have an empire before the Persian Wars - that came later, and for very good reason - and no, Herodotus does NOT claim there is no evidence for Pheidippides' run to Athens from Marathon: in fact he makes no reference to it at all. Oh, and by the way, modern scholarship now agrees the runner was actually called 'Philippides': up-to-date translations have this version. Has she read one? There's more, but I'm sure you get the drift. Ms Taggart suggests you can show off at dinner parties with the material she provides, but do so with caution - you might find yourself sitting next to one of my first-year undergraduates, all of whom have a better grasp of the subject than the author of this book. And what's more, the jokes, on the whole, are pretty feeble. The word 'shagging' is not, in itself (or per se, if you prefer)witty. It really isn't. Caveat emptor.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plugs the Gaps!, 18 July 2009
By 
USB "Max" (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
If you have an interest in Classics, this is an entertaining book to read. My experiences as school were either neutral or a bit on the wearisome side when it came to Latin/Greek and the related poetry but it was fascinating to read about topics that I had forgotten or barely knew. It also brought back some long lost memories and filled in one or two (well quite a few actually) missing links. Things I didn't know included the origin of the word 'Pygmalion'.

The style of writing is not only informative, but amusing. It is not a heavy text and skims the surface of ancient history, literature and mythology - but that is to the good. If it triggers an interest in the classical world, then so much the better. This is the sort of book that can be dipped into and dipped into again (and again). Many an otherwise idle moment I have spent reading this book and the fascination has not diminished.

Excellent buy, recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!, 6 July 2009
By 
R. B. Talbot "Rogerthefish" (S.W.Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is truly unputdownable. Be warned if you enjoy reading about the Ancient Greeks and Romans you'll be reading this at the dinnertable at bedtime and at every opportunity. I love the style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greek Mythology made easy, 6 Feb 2010
A Classical Education: The Stuff You Wish You'd Been Taught at School

I bought this book as I had forgotten much of what I learned at school and thought this would be a refresher. It is very well written in short chapters which suit me as it holds my attention and it is amusingly written with little current day sayings and phrases scattered about.

I like to read it before going to sleep and the book is small enough to hold and not too thick (these are considerations if you want to 'drop off' after a chapter or so and you don't want to wake the household with the crash of a large tome hitting the floor!). It also has a Roman/Latin section and a section on the meaning and origins of words which you may well be already aware of but I liked that touch.

To my surprise I spent a lunch break discussing some of the characters with a friend who watches films on the subject. In my opinion this was one of my better buys.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars historia vitae magistra......, 20 Sep 2009
Taggart should be a teacher of teachers , as with her style the Classics would surely become fashionable again.

Whether you want a refresher course or wish to have a general knowledge of the Classics, this is a great book written with humour (some LOL stuff) and it covers all the main points.

Better still if you can drag offspring away from the Playstation to read this and learn about history that reflects on today.

An highly enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Title is spot on, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: A Classical Education: The Stuff You Wish You'd Been Taught At School (Kindle Edition)
I have just reached my 65th birthday and on a whim selected this book hoping to fill in a few gaps in my education.

Turned out to be a great decision. The style in which the book is written brings life and humour to a subject which can be very daunting. I particularly liked the way in which the author brought together the characters in Greek and Roman mythology in an easy and understandable way. I often finished reading a paragraph feeling better informed but also with a smile on my face.

How many Authors of books on Classics can claim to have achieved this? Not many I would guess
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light-hearted look at a stuffy subject, 2 Jan 2012
By 
G. Heywood (Northamptonshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Classical Education: The Stuff You Wish You'd Been Taught At School (Kindle Edition)
Being born in the 70's and attending secondary school in a country that didn't formally exist as a colony until 1840, almost all of the ancient history in this book was, to me, entirely new.

The book starts with the Greek alphabet, moves into an explanation of how Greek and Latin influence our language, then moves on to Greek and Roman mythology, before moving into history, then the arts, and science.

As such, I found it incredibly interesting, which a fair few "ahhh, that is where it comes from" moments (or even "eureka" moments perhaps). The book is a great mixture of education and entertainment and while it might not make you an expert, it will hopefully at least be a start.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only school had been like this, 20 Aug 2009
By 
Iain S. Palin (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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An excellent and entertaining round-up of the key elements of our classical heritage, what we gained from and owe to the Greeks and the Romans. It's informative, very readable, and surprisingly light of touch. It carried me back to the parts of school classics I actually enjoyed. If you want the same to happen to you - or if you just want a "Dummies' Guide" to the classical world (I mean that as a compliment, the Dummies' Guides are a great success for a reason) then this is the book for you. And it's a hardback (none of this modern flimsy paperback stuff for the classics!) and very reasonably priced.
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