A Labyrinth of Kingdoms [Audiobook]
20 November 2014, 05:48
2013 | MP3 VBR ~ 80 kbps | 14 hrs 51 mins | 532.75MB
A true story that rivals the travels of Burton or Stanley for excitement, and surpasses them in scientific achievements.
In 1849 Heinrich Barth joined a small British expedition into unexplored regions of Islamic North and Central Africa. One by one his companions died, but he carried on alone, eventually reaching the fabled city of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half-year, 10,000-mile adventure ranks among the greatest journeys in the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are considered indispensable by modern scholars of Africa.
Yet because of shifting politics, European preconceptions about Africa, and his own thorny personality, Barth has been almost forgotten. The general public has never heard of him, his epic journey, or his still-pertinent observations about Africa and Islam; and his monumental five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa is rare even in libraries. Though he made his journey for the British government, he has never had a biography in English. Barth and his achievements have fallen through a crack in history.
Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History [Audiobook]
17 November 2014, 10:05
2011 | M4B + EPUB | 11 hrs 36 mins | 179.38MB
From Robert Hughes, one of the greatest art and cultural critics of our time, comes a sprawling, comprehensive, and deeply personal history of Rome—as city, as empire, and, crucially, as an origin of Western art and civilization, two subjects about which Hughes has spent his life writing and thinking.
Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From that exhilarating portrait, he takes us back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries.
From the beginning, Rome was a hotbed of power, overweening ambition, desire, political genius, and corruption. Hughes details the turbulent years that saw the formation of empire and the establishment of the sociopolitical system, along the way providing colorful portraits of all the major figures, both political (Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula) and cultural (Cicero, Martial, Virgil), to name just a few. For almost a thousand years, Rome would remain the most politically important, richest, and largest city in the Western world.
From the formation of empire, Hughes moves on to the rise of early Christianity, his own antipathy toward religion providing rich and lively context for the brutality of the early Church, and eventually the Crusades. The brutality had the desired effect—the Church consolidated and outlasted the power of empire, and Rome would be the capital of the Papal States until its annexation into the newly united kingdom of Italy in 1870.
As one would expect, Hughes lavishes plenty of critical attention on the Renaissance, providing a full survey of the architecture, painting, and sculpture that blossomed in Rome over the course of the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, and shedding new light on old masters in the process. Having established itself as the artistic and spiritual center of the world, Rome in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries saw artists (and, eventually, wealthy tourists) from all over Europe converging on the bustling city, even while it was caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the Italian independence struggle and war against France.
Hughes keeps the momentum going right into the twentieth century, when Rome witnessed the rise and fall of Italian Fascism and Mussolini, and took on yet another identity in the postwar years as the fashionable city of "La Dolce Vita." This is the Rome Hughes himself first encountered, and it's one he contends, perhaps controversially, has been lost in the half century since, as the cult of mass tourism has slowly ruined the dazzling city he loved so much. Equal parts idolizing, blasphemous, outraged, and awestruck, Rome is a portrait of the Eternal City as only Robert Hughes could paint it.
Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean [Audiobook]
17 November 2014, 07:36
2013 | MP3@32 kbps + PDF | 32 hrs 3 mins | 441.03MB
Long sources of mystery, imagination, and inspiration, the myths and history of the ancient Mediterranean have given rise to artistic, religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions that span the centuries. In this unique and comprehensive introduction to the region's three major civilizations, Egypt, Greece, and Rome draws a fascinating picture of the deep links between the cultures across the Mediterranean and explores the ways in which these civilizations continue to be influential to this day.
Beginning with the emergence of the earliest Egyptian civilization around 3500 BC, Charles Freeman follows the history of the Mediterranean over a span of four millennia to AD 600, beyond the fall of the Roman empire in the west to the emergence of the Byzantine empire in the east. In addition to the three great civilizations, the peoples of the Ancient Near East and other lesser-known cultures such as the Etruscans, Celts, Persians, and Phoenicians are explored. The author examines the art, architecture, philosophy, literature, and religious practices of each culture, set against its social, political, and economic background. More than an overview of the primary political or military events, Egypt, Greece, and Rome pays particular attention to the actual lives of both the everyday person and the aristocracy: Here is history brought to life. Especially striking are the readable and stimulating profiles of key individuals throughout the ancient world, covering persons from Homer to Horace, the Pharaoh Akhenaten to the emperor Augustus, Alexander the Great to Julius Caesar, Jesus to Justinian, and Aristotle to Augustine.
Generously illustrated in both color and black-and-white, and drawing on the most up-to-date scholarship, Egypt, Greece, and Rome is a superb introduction for anyone seeking a better understanding of the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean and their legacy to the West.