Mercury's Wings

Mercury's Wings : Exploring Modes of Communication in the Ancient World

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Mercury's Wings: Exploring Modes of Communication in the Ancient World is the first-ever volume of essays devoted to ancient communications. Comparable previous work has been mainly confined to articles on aspects of communication in the Roman empire. This set of 18 essays with an introduction by the co-editors marks a milestone, therefore, that demonstrates the importance and rich further potential of the topic.

The authors, who include art historians, Assyriologists, Classicists and Egyptologists, take the broad view of communications as a vehicle not just for the transmission of information, but also for the conduct of religion, commerce, and culture. Encompassed within this scope are varied purposes of communication such as propaganda and celebration, as well as profit and administration. Each essay deals with a communications network, or with a means or type of communication, or with the special
features of religious communication or communication in and among large empires.

The spatial, temporal, and cultural boundaries of the volume take in the Near East as well as Greece and Rome, and cover a period of some 2,000 years beginning in the second millennium BCE and ending with the spread of Christianity during the last centuries of the Roman Empire in the West. In all, about one quarter of the essays deal with the Near East, one quarter with Greece, one quarter with Greece and Rome together, and one quarter with the Roman empire and its Persian and Indian rivals.
Some essays concern topics in cultural history, such as Greek music and Roman art; some concern economic history in both Mesopotamia and Rome; and some concern traditional historical topics such as diplomacy and war in the Mediterranean world. Each essay draws on recent work in the theory of
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Product details

  • Hardback | 456 pages
  • 166 x 246 x 31mm | 776g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195386841
  • 9780195386844
  • 1,235,899

Table of contents

Figures, Maps, and Tables
Introduction, by F. S. Naiden and Richard Talbert

Part I Networks
1 Environmental Perspectives on Ancient Communication, by Grant Parker
2 Libraries and Communication in the Ancient World, by Matthew Nicholls
3 Communication and Roman Long-distance Trade, by Taco Terpstra
4 Military Communication: The Example of the Classical Battlefield, by F. S. Naiden

Part II Modes
5 Monuments of the Hittite and Neo-Assyrian Empires during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, by James F. Osborne
6 Communicating with Images in the Roman Empire, by Jennifer Trimble
7 Musical Persuasion in Early Greece, by Timothy Power
8 Gesture in the Ancient Mediterranean World, by Gregory S. Aldrete
9 Exercising Sympathy in Mesopotamian Letters, by Seth Richardson

Part III Divinities
10 Messages and the Mesopotamian Gods: Signals and Systematics, by Seth Richardson
11 Pilgrimage and Communication, by Ian Rutherford
12 The Inspired Voice: Enigmatic Oracular Communication, by Julia Kindt
13 Christianity, by Michael Kulikowski

Part IV Engagements
14 Cross-cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean and Western and South Asia, by Matthew Canepa
15 Cross-cultural Communication in Egypt, by J. G. Manning
16 Diplomatic Communication in the Ancient Mediterranean, by Sheila L. Ager
17 Coinage and the Roman Economy, by Kenneth W. Harl
18 Communicating through Maps: The Roman Case, by Richard Talbert

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Review quote

The individual essays are clear, informative, and (in the areas in which I am competent to judge) convincing in their particulars, and the editors have gathered an impressively rich and wide body of work. Anyone interested in the 'classical' world or the neighboring civilizations stands to learn a great deal from the collection, and I expect it will serve its inspirational purpose well. * Classical World * The editors of Mercury's Wings were intent on offering a 'broader and more rewarding canvas' than just depictions of the values of straight roads and shipping lanes. In that they have certprainly succeeded. * Paul Chrystal, Classics For All *
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About Richard J. A. Talbert

Richard J. A. Talbert is William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Ancient History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His many books include The Senate of Imperial Rome, the collaborative Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, and Rome's World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered.

Fred S. Naiden is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Trained in Classical Philology at Harvard, Prof. Naiden studies Greek law, religion, and warfare, with attention to Near Eastern comparanda, especially Israelite, Phoenician, and Mesopotamian.
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