I said I was going to start reading comic books to make my quota this year. Almost. This is a book of maps and is a just a couple crayons short of being a coloring book.
The maps center on the Mediterranean and each map depicts, in chronological order, different elements and aspects of history, such as the extent of empires and whatnot. It’s a good reference to how the Assyrians rubbed against the Babylonians and whatnot. Emphasis is given to Greek and Roman historical concerns, so you get to see different parts of those periods, including things like where the mints where, what regions produced different products, and what part of the world select individuals hailed from. It’s interesting to me how many of the major writers and thinkers actually hailed from the region we now call Spain.
The other thing that struck me was how small the world was then, at least this portion of them. You know about the Greek city states kinda in your mind, but they’re just names and whatnot until you see them (again) on a map and realize that Athens and Sparta were about 100 miles apart, about the distance between Springfield, Missouri, and Rolla, Missouri, and that Athens and Thebes is half that. Fascinating. Sure, you can say, “Duh!” But it’s there in black and white which is a stark reminder of common knowledge you sometimes don’t acutely know.
So it’s a good reference book to have on my shelves for when I’m doing deep studies of history instead of ceaselessly scanning the Internet headlines for something to blog about. And something quick and easy to look at to make your quota.