Cities of the Classical World

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More About This Title Cities of the Classical World


From Alexandria to York, this unique illustrated guide allows us to see the great centers of classical civilization afresh. The key feature of Cities of the Classical World is 120 specially drawn maps tracing each city's thoroughfares and defenses, monuments, and places of worship. Every map is to the same scale, allowing readers for the first time to appreciate visually the relative sizes of Babylon and Paris, London, and Constantinople. There is also a clear, incisive commentary on each city's development, strategic importance, rulers, and ordinary inhabitants. This compelling and elegant atlas opens a new window on to the ancient world, and will transform the way we see it.


Colin McEvedy (1930-2005) was a psychiatrist, historian, and demographer. His many books included the Penguin atlases of African History, Ancient History, The Atlas of World Population History (written with Richard Jones), The Atlas of World History (written with Sarah McEvedy), Medieval History, and Modern History.


"Colin McEvedy was a polymath. If you wanted to know something, Google had failed you and the British Library seemed too far away, the obvious move was to ask McEvedy."  —Independent

"What distinguishes his atlas histories is a talent for compressing vast amounts of information. . . The research is meticulous; the style is witty and breezily undeferential."  —The Times

"A beautifully produced and completely wacky testimony to the life and scholarship of a passionate private historian."  —The Times Higher Education Supplement

"By all accounts a remarkable man. . . McEvedy Senior died in 2005 but left behind this banquet of a book. . . Whether in York or Alexandria, Cordoba or Rhodes, Tripoli or Cirencester, Cities of the Classical World supplies a brisk, learned but often engagingly quirky essay alongside one of McEvedy's imagination-stretching maps. In the buzzing hubs of ancient commerce and culture or the loneliest border settlements, McEvedy will tell you who lived there, in what numbers, and their fate over the centuries. . . As well as laying bare the ancient townscapes buried under today's urban bustle, McEvedy guides us with crisp expertise around ancient destinations that still convey their grandeur above ground, such as Pompeii, Ephesus, Jerusalem or Rome itself."  —Independent

"[Will] delight any historian. . . a superb gazetteer of 120 centres of ancient civilisation from Alexandria to York. . . full of terrific nuggets."  —Telegraph Gift Books of the Year