advice on books on Roman, Greek, and Persian History

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,723
Portugal
#11
There is already here a big list, although mixing primary and secondary sources.

I think that all depends of the aim. If you aim for an introduction, a good generic history book from a good historian from the 20th/21st century is a good option, otherwise if you are going to a full study of the theme, the primary sources are fundamental, as well as the knowledge of the historiography, and in this last case reading Gibbon is a good way to know what people from the late 18th and 19th century thought about Rome, and history in general, and to know how our knowledge about Rome evolved.
 
Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#12
As to the library of Alexandria Gibbon is not very credulous about the stories of the Khalif saying "if they agree with the prophet then we know it already otherwise it deserves to burn". If you actually read Gibbon carefully he says most of the knowledge in the library was already lost centuries before the invasion...


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I was talking about the alleged event under Theophilus around year 390.

The legend that Caliph Umar around year 650 ordered the destruction of the library is unlikely because the firsthand sources pops up about 500-600 years later after that alleged event and thus is not quite convincing. Any idiot who had basic lessons about source criticism would have realized it easily as it is a very basic tenets of source criticism. So Gibbon did that easy job correct, and acquitted Caliph Umar. Had that ungroomed prick of Gibbon stopped right here instead of forging a new myth the things may have ended well. But he did not:

The Mysterious Fate of the Great Library of Alexandria

Armarium Magnum: "Agora" and Hypatia - Hollywood Strikes Again
 

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