10 books like Dawn of Empire

By Sam Barone,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Dawn of Empire. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Kingdom of the Hittites

By Trevor Bryce,

Book cover of The Kingdom of the Hittites

Every historical period needs a seminal work to set the scene and give a solid grounding in the era. Bryce's 'The Kingdom of the Hittites' does that and manages to entertain along the way, with stories of outlandish Hittite customs - such as spitting in a sheep's mouth to cure marital strife! - adding colour and character to the foundational principles of their ancient societal system.

The Kingdom of the Hittites

By Trevor Bryce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kingdom of the Hittites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 14th century BC the Hittites became the supreme political and military power in the Near East. How did they achieve their supremacy? How successful were they in maintaining it? What brought about their collapse and disappearance? This comprehensive history of the Hittite kingdom seeks to answer these questions. It takes account of important recent advances in Hittite scholarship, including some major archaeological discoveries made in the last few years. It
also features numerous translations from the original texts, so that on many issues the ancient Hittites are given the opportunity to speak to the modern reader for themselves.…


Ancient Turkey

By Seton Lloyd,

Book cover of Ancient Turkey: A Traveller's History

This is the vicarious traveler’s delight. ‘Sensory’ doesn’t quite cover the delightful descriptives in Lloyd’s ‘Ancient Turkey’. He takes you on a journey across the varied and beautiful landscape of Anatolia and though time as well - from prehistory through the Bronze Age when the Hittite Empire dominated and the legend of Troy was born, on to the time of King Midas and right up to the Greek and Roman periods.

Ancient Turkey

By Seton Lloyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ancient Turkey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An elegantly written account of Turkey's history by one of the greatest living authorities on the subject. . . . The historically minded visitor would be well advised to pack this beguiling book."―British Archaeological News

Seton Lloyd's lively account of Turkey's early history is for the increasing number of people visiting the ancient sites of this fabled land. Written by an archaeologist who spent much of his life in the Near East, the book is not a conventional "guide" to the antiquities of Anatolia. It is instead Lloyd's attempt to share his profound interest in an antique land, its inhabitants,…


1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed

By Eric Cline,

Book cover of 1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed

The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age. What caused this epochal shift? Eric Cline outlines just how cataclysmic the 12th and 13th centuries BC really were. Be prepared for fire, earthquakes, and a tide of war!

1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed

By Eric Cline,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bold reassessment of what caused the Late Bronze Age collapse

In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the…


Troy

By David Gemmell,

Book cover of Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow

No list of mine would be complete without a title from my favourite author; but the Troy trilogy is a bittersweet masterpieceGemmell died before it was completed. Thankfully, his wife took up the work from his extensive notes and it’s graciously unclear as to where in the final book the transition is made. She captured his voice tremendously.

As a lover of the Classics, it didn’t take long for me to get fully immersed in this reimagining of Homer’s Iliad, with the excellent characterisation and worldbuilding you’d expect from Gemmell. It also incorporates echoes of the author’s love of biblical stories (playing on the claims to a potential overlap in the chronology) and ancient Roman literatureespecially the Aeneid (Virgil’s attempt to appropriate for Rome the legacy of Troy). If you enjoy epic historical fiction/fantasy, this is an absolute must-read. The research is clear, the passion for…

Troy

By David Gemmell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Troy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three lives will change the destiny of nations. Hellkaon, the young prince of Dardania, haunted by a scarred and traumatic childhood. The priestess Andromache, whose fiery spirit and fierce Independence threatens the might of kings. And the legendary warrior Argurios, cloaked in loneliness and driven only by thoughts of revenge. In Troy they find a city torn apart by destructive rivalries - a maelstrom of jealousy, deceit and murderous treachery. And beyond its fabled walls blood-hungry enemies eye its riches and plot its downfall. It is a time of bravery and betrayal; a time of bloodshed and fear. A time…


Wrath Goddess Sing

By Maya Deane,

Book cover of Wrath Goddess Sing

Wrath Goddess Sing reimagines Achilles as a trans woman and rewrites her journey through the myths of the Iliad. It’s the debut novel of trans author Maya Deane.

Achilles takes several lovers, but this book is not an Achilles/Patroclus shipping vehicle, so don’t go in with that expectation. She’s delightfully complicated: brave, of course, and passionate, but also prickly at times, and hard to love. Her story casts Helen in a villainous, active role for once, and also considers how the gods function beyond Greek society; it feels extremely dense and well-researched, with a diverse cast of characters. There’s some controversy about the book, but I urge you to make up your own mind, and to reflect on the historical context that Deane is drawing upon.

Wrath Goddess Sing

By Maya Deane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wrath Goddess Sing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Deane's tour de force debut ...brings the familiar story to fresh, vivid, and unforgettable new life." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Drawing on ancient texts and modern archeology to reveal the trans woman's story hidden underneath the well-known myths of The Iliad, Maya Deane's Wrath Goddess Sing weaves a compelling, pitilessly beautiful vision of Achilles' vanished world, perfect for fans of Song of Achilles, The Witch's Heart, and the Inheritance trilogy.

The gods wanted blood. She fought for love.

Achilles has fled her home and her vicious Myrmidon clan to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses…


Encyclopaedia Biblica

By Thomas Kelly Cheyne, John Sutherland Black,

Book cover of Encyclopaedia Biblica

The official title of the book is ‘Encyclopedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary of the Literary, Political and Religious History, the Archaeology, Geography, and Natural History of the Bible.' This work was produced by various professors of Oxford University and was a continual work from 1899-1903. It seems to be rarely mentioned by historians and Biblical scholars today, and I am recommending this work because there is a considerable wealth of information in it, and any student of history would find it incredibly useful. The Oxford professors critically examined ancient folklore and legends, without being swayed by traditional opinions of the time. For example, the origins of the people of Israel, and Egyptian and Hittite history are thoroughly examined, as is the Biblical literature. Interestingly, in this work, the professors doubted the existence of Nazareth, stating: ‘Was Nazareth originally the name of a town (or village) at all? There…

Encyclopaedia Biblica

By Thomas Kelly Cheyne, John Sutherland Black,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Encyclopaedia Biblica as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and…


From the Mari Archives

By Jack M. Sasson,

Book cover of From the Mari Archives: An Anthology of Old Babylonian Letters

Now I realize that this isn’t a narrative history, but I think you will find it fascinating. It’s a big compendium of excerpts from more than 750 letters that were found in the archives of the ancient palace of Mari, organized by topics such as “Dynastic Marriages,” “Crime,” “Caring for the Gods,” “Death and Burial,” and many, many more. It’s a book to dip into rather than to read from beginning to end, and it’ll help you get a sense of the vast amount of detail about real people that is to be found on Mesopotamian clay tablets (especially ancient letters). Jack Sasson’s enthusiasm and deep knowledge of the subject is palpable in his many explanatory paragraphs and long footnotes.

From the Mari Archives

By Jack M. Sasson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From the Mari Archives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For over 40 years, Jack M. Sasson has been studying and commenting on the cuneiform archives from Mari on the Euphrates River, especially those from the age of Hammurabi of Babylon. Among Mari's wealth of documents, some of the most interesting are letters from and to kings, their advisers and functionaries, their wives and daughters, their scribes and messengers, and a variety of military personnel. The letters are revealing and often poignant. Sasson selects more than 700 letters as well as several excerpts from administrative documents, translating them and providing them with illuminating comments. In distilling a lifetime of study…


Mari and Karana

By Stephanie Dalley,

Book cover of Mari and Karana: Two Old Babylonian Cities

When this book first came out, I was just beginning work on my Ph.D. dissertation and it had a big influence on me. Stephanie Dalley writes in a wonderfully accessible style for general readers about the people of the 18th century BCE cities of Mari and Tell al Rimah, and throughout the book she quotes from the personal letters found there. She overcomes a common perception that the ancient world can seem removed and remote, by letting the ancient people speak directly to the reader. All the while, she also makes fascinating observations about what the documents reveal, and also includes discussions of archaeological evidence (such as culinary molds that were used to make fish-shaped bread, in the section on food preparation!).

Mari and Karana

By Stephanie Dalley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mari and Karana as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A study on all the social and historical aspects of Mari and Karana, this book provides an account of life in the nineteenth century BCE. Illustrations with photographs and drawings of objects uncovered during excavations provide a lively counterpart to the texts themselves, many of which are quoted in translation.


Women at the Dawn of History

By Agnete W. Lassen (editor), Klaus Wagensonner (editor),

Book cover of Women at the Dawn of History

Women were integral to everything in Mesopotamia—politics, religion, economy, society, you name it—for the entire multi-millennium lifetime of the culture. I find this book, which is the catalogue of an exhibit for the Yale Babylonian Collection, to be a particularly interesting study, and it has gorgeous illustrations. The six chapters include two that focus on prominent women, the priestess Enheduanna and Queen Sammu-ramat (Semiramis), as well as discussions of many women who were not well known. The objects that were displayed in the exhibit are illustrated in the second half of the book, each described with a paragraph or two. These really give you a sense of how archaeologists and historians draw their conclusions from ancient evidence, and how individual lives can be reconstructed from objects and texts.

Women at the Dawn of History

By Agnete W. Lassen (editor), Klaus Wagensonner (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women at the Dawn of History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the patriarchal world of ancient Mesopotamia, women were often represented in their relation to men - as mothers, daughters, or wives - giving the impression that a woman's place was in the home. But, as this volume explores, they were also authors and scholars, astute business-women, sources of expressions of eroticism, priestesses with access to major gods and goddesses, and regents who exercised power on behalf of kingdoms, states, and empires. Illustrated in colour and black & white throughout.


Myths from Mesopotamia

By Stephanie Dalley,

Book cover of Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others

Stephanie Dalley is another one of those Oxford scholars upon whose shoulders the rest of us Assyriologists stand. Her translations are eminently readable and enjoyable, and her focus on certain selected works of the later Akkadian language period sets her apart from the Sumerian specialist mentioned above. This fascinating era provides us with some of the most compelling stories, including the Atrahasis Epic and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Myths from Mesopotamia

By Stephanie Dalley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Myths from Mesopotamia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ancient civilization of Mesopotamia thrived between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates over 4,000 years ago. The myths collected here, originally written in cuneiform on clay tablets, include parallels with the biblical stories of the Creation and the Flood, and the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, the tale of a man of great strength, whose heroic quest for immortality is dashed through one moment of weakness. Recent developments in Akkadian grammar and lexicography mean that this new translation, complete with notes, a glossary of deities, place-names, and key terms, and illustrations of the mythical monsters featured in the text, will replace…


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Interested in the Hittites, Mesopotamia, and barbarians?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Hittites, Mesopotamia, and barbarians.

The Hittites Explore 7 books about the Hittites
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