by Christian Marek, with Peter Frei, translated by Steven Rendall
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018. Pp. xxii, 800.
Illus., maps, plans, stemma, tables, appends., notes, biblio., indices. $35.00 paper. ISBN: 0691182906
Unravelling the History of Ancient Anatolia
Anatolia, today the larger portion of Turkey, in Asia, is a region rich in history, the home of many now nearly forgotten cultures and peoples. In preparing this translation of the 2010 second German edition of his history of ancient Anatolia, Prof. Marck (Emeritus Zurich) made some revisions to the text to reflect recent trends in scholarship.
Despite its heft and impressive scope – from the Neolithic through the Roman ascendancy in the Third Century BC – the book is very well written, and quite readable, even for the layman. Marck touches upon a broad range of subjects, linguistics, personalities, migrations, wars, trade, religion, mythology, archaeology, and more.
Where evidence is contradictory or unclear or even lacking, he is careful to point out various interpretations of events – a method that may frustrate those looking for certainty but which is clearly the best course. Marck is particularly good on the early history of the region, when many cultures rose and fell, often leaving little evidence of their existence, beyond hints in the literature or mythology of other societies and some archaeological remains. He’s also adept at showing how the various cultures and cultural trends affected each other and the world beyond Asia Minor, which in turn affected the region.
In the Land of a Thousand Gods is a good read for those interested in ancient history, and particularly ancient Anatolia, a region so rich in cultures it was called by one scholar several generations ago, the ‘Loom of History”.
Note: In the Land of a Thousand Gods is also available in hardcover.
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