Some new books which I ordered recently have just arrived. All Classics-related, obviously (otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging them!). Written below are my reasons for buying them and first impressions – please bear in mind that I haven’t started reading any of them yet!
Firstly, the Loeb Classical Library bilingual edition of Xenophon’s Anabasis, in hardback.
The Loeb Classical Library (part of Harvard University Press) is an excellent source of texts in the original ancient Greek and Latin. And it’s worth getting them in hardback, since you’ll want them to last for a long time.
Next up: The Twelve Caesars, by Matthew Dennison
Again, a very nice hardback. It was reviewed very favourably by The Spectator. This review focused on the horrifyingly depraved actions and habits of the Roman emperors from Julius Caesar to Domitian; however, the synopsis of The Twelve Caesars suggests it does more than that. “As well as vividly recreating the lives, loves and vices of this motley crew…he paints a portrait of an era of political and social revolution…” Naturally, I will reserve judgement on the book until I have actually read it – but this sounds as though it will make excellent light reading over the summer!
Thirdly: Superstition in Roman Society, by Samuel Dill
Admittedly I took a punt on this purchase – I couldn’t find any reviews. But I think this book will be useful: I have been doing some research recently on Roman superstition (looking at both literature and artefacts such as curse tablets), and this short book should supplement that.
And finally: You Talkin’ To Me?, by Sam Leith
The cover of this book informs us that it deals with “Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama” and a brief glance suggests that it does exactly what it says on the tin. As well as informing the reader about the theoretical aspects of rhetoric, the book deals with several “Champions of Rhetoric” from across the ages: these include Abraham Lincoln, Marcus Tullius Cicero, and even “Satan – The Original Silver-tongued Devil”. This much can, of course, be gleaned simply by looking at the chapter headings in the contents page; but this book will certainly receive some of my time over the summer.
If anyone has read any of these books, do share your views with a comment on this post.
Next up in the blog: a visit to the British Museum. Stay tuned, readers…