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More About George Rawlinson
George Rawlinson (1812-1902), English scholar and historian, is best known for his translations of the "History of Herodotus, The Origin of Nations, Manual of Ancient History, The History of Ancient Egypt, "and his contributions to the "Encyclopedia Britannica,"
George Rawlinson was born in 1812 and died in 1902.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World?
Solid Victorian Scholarship Sep 30, 2002
If it's information about the ancient Parthian or Sassanian kingdoms you're after, you're in luck with this pricey reprint of the 1885 original by Oxford historian George Rawlinson.
If you're looking at this book, you have a serious interest in studying the Parthians or the Sassanians; the obscurity of the subject-matter and the high sticker price will repel the casual reader. My interest was in Parthia, the power that rivalled Rome in the period 65 BC to about AD 250, and I feel Rawlinson delivered the goods in his 240 pages of coverage (the section on Sassania is slightly longer), showing his wide knowledge of both classical sources and the archaeological information available to him.
In 23 chapters he systematically describes the physical geography of the Parthian heartland (east of the Caspian Sea), the ethnicity of its people, the history of its monarchs, their style of warfare, and what is known of their customs, religion, art, and architecture. Considering how little material there is available about Parthia (or Sassania), this book is a treasure-trove, and we're lucky to have it.
A few notes of caution. It's up to you to decide whether the information is worth the price, but the buyer should be aware that this reprint edition suffers from some defects. Printed from old, perhaps original, plates, the type is broken in places and far from crisp; likewise the illustrations (mainly depictions of coins and a few bas-reliefs). Also, Rawlinson's text is sprinkled with footnote numbers, but the notes have not been printed in this volume.
If you're concerned about whether the book's Victorian origin makes it unreadable or out of date, don't be. Rawlinson's style, while showing a little Victorian turgidity, is very readable, and the quality of his scholarship is high. Indeed, could such a thorough work be produced nowadays about such relatively obscure kingdoms of the ancient world? I think it would be much smaller and less illustrated than this reprint. And I believe that whatever "Victorian" prejudices Rawlinson brings to his work (making generalizations about "Oriental" kingdoms and so on) are no worse than those brought by contemporary scholars to their work--in fact, I positively enjoyed Rawlinson's straightforward, level-headed judgment.
Congratulations to the Gorgias Press for their Reprint Series, and thanks for this still-valuable volume on ancient history.