A sweeping cultural history of the Near East, from the birth of civilization to the present day.
The Near East was the cradle of civilization: the Sumerians invented urban living and writing here, and monotheism was born and spread across the globe. Arthur Cotterell vividly sketches the extraordinary cultures that have left their mark on the region, from their early myths, deities and rituals of worship to their pioneering political systems and military conquests. Charting the rise and fall of Assyria and Babylon, the world’s first great powers, then exploring the long eras of Persian, Byzantine, Arab and Ottoman rule, The Near East traces the legacy of this rich past through the destabilization of Western imperialism, and beyond.
This enthralling narrative shows how history has shaped the beliefs, traditions and politics of the Near East, one of the world’s most creative, diverse and yet troubled regions.
Arthur Cotterell is a prolific historian and author. His previous books include the Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, the Penguin Encyclopedia of Classical Civilizations and Chariot: The Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine.