A work of reference which takes a fresh approach by treating the classical era of the Old World as a whole. The key events of Greece, Rome, Persia, India and China have been encompassed in a single volume, despite the fact that their civilizations had much in common and laid the foundations of present-day Europe and Asia. Cotterell asserts that for too long, Greece and Rome have been regarded as the classical world, and that its study has been isolated from even the major powers that confronted the Greeks and Romans in Iran and India. Today we are more aware of the complex interrelations that once existed between the Greeks and the Persians, the macedonians and the Indians, the Romans and both the Parthians and the Sassanians. The persistent isolation of China, on the other hand, cut off by mountains and deserts from India, makes the classical experience there so useful for comparison and contrast. The virtual absence of slavery in China is but one of its startling features.
Arthur Cotterell now combines a career in education and training after school with an extensive interest in other civilizations. His previous books include The Minoan World, A Dictionary of World Mythology, The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, The First Emperor of China, China- A History, East Asia- From Chinese Predominance to the Rise of the Pacific Rim, Origins of European Civilization and The Penguin Encyclopedia of Classical Civilizations.