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Francis Xavier
Co_Founder of the Jesuit Order and Missionary to Japan
Mission to Japan

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Oleg Stavrowsky
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Early America
Images of Early America
Images by Leo Bryant

Chief's Pride
A Collaboration

Sukashi Tsuba

Alonzo Clemons
Savant Syndrome

Savant Artist
Alonzo Clemons

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Sir Edmund Hillary

Earl Waggoner
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Article: Nubia
Land Of Gold

Bill Tyree

History of Golf
Mary Queen of Scots


Ancient Ships: The Ships of Antiquity

Recommended Reading List Page 1

The Greek Epic Poems and Histories

History Books                       Bargain Books:


The Odyssey
Fagles Translation
Publisher: Penguin USA                                     
Pub. Date: November  1997

Average Rating Five Stars: *****

The reviews by readers speak for themselves  

From the Publisher:

By its evocation of a real or imaged heroic age, its contrasts of character and its variety of adventure, above all by its sheer narrative power, the Odyssey has won and preserved its place among the greatest tales in the world. It tells of Odysseus' adventurous wanderings as he returns from the long war at Troy to his home in the Greek island of Ithaca, where his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus have been waiting for him for twenty years. He meets a one-eyed giant, Polyphemus the Cyclops; he visits the underworld; he faces the terrible monsters Scylla and Charybdis; he extricates himself from the charms of Circe and Calypso. After these and numerous other legendary encounters he finally reaches home, where, disguised as a beggar, he begins to plan revenge on the suitors who have for years been besieging Penelope and feasting on his own meat and wine with insolent impunity.

The Iliad of Homer 
by Homer, Richmond Lattimore    
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Date of Publication: 1961


One of the greatest stories ever told, Iliad has survived for thousands of years because of its insightful portrayal of man and its epic story of war, duty, honor, and revenge.  

While Iliad recounts the war between the Trojans and Achaeans, it also is the tragic story of the fiery-tempered Achilles. Insulted by his king, the proud Achilles decides to stand by as his comrades are annihilated, but circumstances finally spur the warrior to wreak savage retribution upon Troy.

The battle between the Trojans and Achaeans stirs ancient passions and vendettas among the gods of Olympus. While the two armies of mortals confront each other, the gods fly to earth to aid their allies and confound their enemies. Soon, they too enter the fray alongside the men, which leads to an attempt to betray Zeus himself, the supreme king of Olympus.

Woven among the battle scenes are the stories of the men and women caught in the war: the Trojan prince Hector, who is torn between duty and love for his wife and young son; Helen, who is the most beautiful woman in the world, but who comes to regret being born; and Priam, the king of Troy, who is too old to battle, but has the strength for one final act of courage .  

The War at Troy:
What Homer Didn't Tell

Quintus of Smyrna  
Frederick M. Combellack (Translator)

Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books

From Barnes & Noble:

Although it deals in part with the Trojan War, Homer''s Iliad ends with Achilles still alive and Troy uncaptured; on the opposite end of the spectrum, his Odyssey begins with the Greeks leaving Troy. Since everyone in Homer''s time was familiar with the story, the omission of the events in the middle caused no problem. However, as centuries passed and details faded, something was needed to fill the gap. And so, in the third century A.D. Quintus of Smyrna wrote his chronicle--a connected account of the events of the Trojan War occurring between the death of Hector and the departure of the Greeks--including such important incidents as the death of Achilles; the contest between Odysseus and Ajax for the armor of Achilles; the death of Paris; the wooden horse; and the capture and sack of Troy. This lively prose translation by Frederick M. Combellack includes notes & an introduction.  



In Search of the Trojan War

Michael Woods

Publisher: University of California Press  Pub. Date: May  1998

From the Publisher:

For 3,000 years, tales of Troy and its heroes - Achilles and Hector, Paris and the legendary beauty Helen - have fired the human imagination. In Search of the Trojan War, by  Michael Wood brings to life the legend and lore of the Heroic Age in an archaeological adventure that sifts through the myths and speculation to provide a privileged view of the riches and the reality of ancient Troy. Includes dramatic new developments in the search for Troy with the rediscovery, in Moscow, of the so-called Jewels of Helen and the re-excavation of the site of Troy which began in 1988 and is yielding new evidence about the historical city..

The Argonautika:
The Story of Jason and the Quest
for the Golden Fleece
By Dilwym Jones

Publisher: University of California Press; September 1, 1997

From the Publisher:

Jason and the Argonauts' quest for the Golden Fleece is probably the oldest extant Greek myth. Homer referred to it as something "familiar to all." At one  lev el this story is a classic fairy tale: The young prince is sent on a perilous expedition and triumphs over the obstacles put in his path - from clashing rocks to fire-breathing bulls - to win not only the Fleece but also the hand of the Medeia, the daughter of King Aietes, who rules over Kolchis.

In addition to telling of the prince's quest, the myth also hints at accounts of early exploration and colonizing ventures, since the Argonauts returned home via Italy and Sicily after navigating several of Europe's great rivers, including the Po and the Rhone. Although the myth is old, the poem's treatment of it is Hellenistic - in effect, modern. Jason emerges as an all-too-human Everyman with the one real talent of being able to make women fall in love with him. Medeia becomes a major character: a virgin sorceress whose magic yields Jason's triumph yet cannot save her from her own infatuation. The supporting cast of manipulative goddesses behave uncommonly like middle-class Hellenistic ladies. Together, the combination of age-old myth and modern treatment produces a gripping and unforgettable narrative.

Peter Green has translated this renowned poem with skill and wit, offering a refreshing interpretation of a timeless story. His commentary - the first on all four books since Mooney's in 1912 - both sheds light in dark places and takes account of the recent upsurge of scholarly interest in Apollonios.


The Portable Greek Historians
The Essence of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius

Moses I. Finley

Publisher: Viking Penguin

Selections from Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Polybius provide an introduction to the first historians



The Herodotus Histories
by Herodotus, et al

Father of history; father of lies--Herodotus has both reputations. The new translation upholds the reputation of this bestiary of ancient customs, which becomes a history of Greek resistance to the invasion of the Persian king Xerxes in 480 BC


This Book captures for the first time the peculiar quality of Herodotus, the father of history. Here is the historian, investigating and judging what he has seen, heard, and read, and seeking out the true causes and consequences of the great deeds of the past.


"Herodotus, while distinguishing his history from epic poetry . . . nonetheless drew upon folklore and myth. . . . In his History, the war between the Greeks and Persians, the origins of their enmity, and . . . the more general features of the civilizations of the world of his day are seen as a unity and expressed as the vision of one man who as a child lived through the last of the great acts in this universal drama."

Piracy In the Ancient World 

Henry A. Ormerod

Published by Johns Hopkins University Press paperback 

From the Publisher:

Available again in paperback, Henry Ormerod's classic Piracy in the Ancient World brings the treachery of the ancient high seas alive. Drawing on the works of Homer and Thucydides and the historical records that have survived from ancient Greece and Rome, Ormerod reconstructs the dangers of coastal living and seafaring and the attempts of ancient society to protect itself against the threat of invasion from the seas. He describes the general nature of early piracy, ancient navigation, and the pirate's routines and tactics.

Model Boats from the Tomb of Tutankhamun (Tutankhamun's Tomb Series, Vol 9) 

by Dilwyn Jones 
Publisher: David Brown Bk.Co.
Pub. Date: January  1990

Review  In modern archeology no other discovery has created as much interest in Egyptology as the discoveries of Howard carter. The Egyptian artisans had the habit of recording every aspect of their culture in paintings and sculpture. We are fortunate to have models from antiquity illustrating nearly every aspect of Egyptian daily life. The boat models in Tutankhamum's tomb are symbolic and ceremonial and hardly compare to the Ship of Cheops found at the Great Pyramid. However these models give a keen insight into some of the watercraft in use in Egypt in 1450 BCE.  


Ships and Sea-Power Before the Great Persian War: The Ancestry of the Ancient Trireme

H.T.  Wallinga                          

Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Incorporated

Review: From Chester G. Starr - The American Historical Review

Wallinga is endowed with sober perspicacity, although in the case of this book he also possesses a willingness to engage in bold speculation... The evidence is limited, but he feels able to present convincing solutions supporting his thesis that the main area of advance {in naval strength} was not in the small Greek states but in the Near Eastern kingdoms of Egypt and Persia... {Wallinga} concludes from the depiction of ships on Geometric vases that all vessels at this time were rowed; is there any justification for this inference? Chapter 4 is the most convincing part of the book. Wallinga places the origin of the trireme in the rivalry of Egypt and Persia.... Bibliography and two indexes (sources cited and general topics, one of the best I have seen) complete this provocative book, not one to be set before the neophyte.

Book Review - H. T. Wallinga, Ships and Sea-Power before the Great Persian War: The Ancestry of the Ancient Trireme
  By: Antony Graham Keen Department of History, University of Manchester, Manchester



The Greco-Persian Wars
The Year of Salamis, 480-479 B.C.

Publisher: University of California Press; Pub. Date: May 1996    

From the Publisher

Peter Green brilliantly evokes the whole dramatic sweep of events set in motion by the Persian offensive. He takes us to the evacuation of Attica, the preliminary and inconclusive battles at Thermopylae and Artemisium, the establishment of the Greek fleet at Salamis, the advance of the barbarians, the intricacies of the dramatic battle itself, and the ignominious retreat of Xerxes and his troops. The Persian Wars continue to arouse discussion and controversy among historians.

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