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Robin Waterfield - Author

About the Author

Robin Waterfield is an internationally acclaimed scholar and author, whose publications range from abstruse academic articles to children's fiction. He has worked as a lecturer, editor and publisher before taking up writing full time. He has about forty books to his credit, with most of his later work cantering on academic works aimed at intelligent lay readers. His most recent books are Xenophon's Retreat: Greece, Persia and the End of the Golden Age (Faber; Harvard) and Why Socrates Died (Faber; Norton; McLeland & Stewart).

Featured books by Robin Waterfield

The Greek Myths Stories of the Greek Gods and Heroes Vividly Retold

The Greek Myths Stories of the Greek Gods and Heroes Vividly Retold

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/01/2012

From Achilles rampant on the fields of Troy, to the gods at sport on Mount Olympus; from Icarus flying too close to the sun, to the superhuman feats of Heracles, Theseus, and the wily Odysseus, these timeless tales exert an eternal fascination and inspiration that have endured for millennia and influenced cultures from ancient to modern. Beginning at the dawn of human civilization, when the Titan Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and offered mankind hope, the reader is immediately immersed in the majestic, magical, and mythical world of the Greek gods and heroes. As the tales unfold, renowned classicist Robin Waterfield, joined by his wife, writer Kathryn Waterfield, creates a sweeping panorama of the romance, intrigues, heroism, humour, sensuality, and brutality of the Greek myths and legends. The terrible curse that plagued the royal houses of Mycenae and Thebes, Jason and the golden fleece, Perseus and the dread Gorgon, the wooden horse and the sack of Troy - these amazing stories have influenced art and literature from the Iron Age to the present day. 

Other books by Robin Waterfield

Olympia The Story of the Ancient Olympic Games

Olympia The Story of the Ancient Olympic Games

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2018

In the northwestern corner of the great peninsula of the Peloponnese, close to the meeting point of the Cladeus and Alpheus rivers, lies a peaceful river valley overlooked by the steep-sided Hill of Cronus. Here, between the eighth century BCE and the fourth century CE, rival athletes competed for glory in the ancient Olympic Games. Every four years, and from every corner of the Mediterranean world - from Samos to Syracuse and from Sparta to Smyrna - they descended on this quiet corner of southern Greece sacred to Zeus, seeking to excel in disciplines as diverse as sprinting, boxing, wrestling, trumpet blowing and chariot and mulecart racing. The victors of these ancient games may have been awarded crowns of olive leaves in recognition of their achievements, but these original Olympics were no idealistic celebration of the classical aesthetic of grace and beauty shared by all of the participating Greek city-states, but often a bitterly contested struggle between political rivals. Robin Waterfield paints a vivid picture of the reality of the ancient Olympic Games; describes the events in which competitors took part; explores their purpose, rituals and politics; and charts the vicissitudes of their remarkable thousand-year history.

Hidden Depths

Hidden Depths

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/11/2016

With wit and verve Robin Waterfield brings the bizarre story of hypnotism to life. A lively mixture of popular history, science and psychology, Hidden Depths is the definitive work on hypnosis. From its origins as animal magnetism, as practised by Franz Anton Mesmer, to its modern day use as a health cure and a form of entertainment, hypnosis encompasses many different facets of humanity. Always controversial, the outlandish claims that its zealous believers make are only matched in intensity by the howls of derision that they provoke from sceptics. Hypnotism exists on the periphery of the scientific community, much as it has since its inception, and Robin Waterfield approaches the issues with an open mind, carefully stripping the fact from the fancy and the truth from the myth. Vividly written, compellingly readable, this is a fascinating insight into one of the more esoteric branches of science. `Hidden Depths is a highly readable, wide-ranging and informative account of a fascinating topic' Observer 'Fascinating' Daily Telegraph

Taken at the Flood The Roman Conquest of Greece

Taken at the Flood The Roman Conquest of Greece

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/11/2016

The Romans first set military foot on Greek soil in 229 BCE; only sixty or so years later it was all over, and shortly thereafter Greece became one of the first provinces of the emerging Roman Empire. It was an incredible journey - a swift, brutal, and determined conquest of the land to whose art, philosophy, and culture the Romans owed so much. Rome found the eastern Mediterranean divided, in an unstable balance of power, between three great kingdoms - the three Hellenistic kingdoms that had survived and flourished after the wars of Alexander the Great's Successors: Macedon, Egypt, and Syria. Internal troubles took Egypt more or less out of the picture, but the other two were reduced by Rome. Having established itself, by its defeat of Carthage, as the sole superpower in the western Mediterranean, Rome then systematically went about doing the same in the east, until the entire Mediterranean was under her control. Apart from the thrilling military action, the story of the Roman conquest of Greece is central to the story of Rome itself and the empire it created. As Robin Waterfield shows, the Romans developed a highly sophisticated method of dominance by remote control over the Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean - the cheap option of using authority and diplomacy to keep order rather than standing armies. And it is a story that raises a number of fascinating questions about Rome, her empire, and her civilization. For instance, to what extent was the Roman conquest a planned and deliberate policy? What was it about Roman culture that gave it such a will for conquest? And what was the effect on Roman intellectual and artistic culture, on their very identity, of their entanglement with an older Greek civilization, which the Romans themselves recognized as supreme?

Prophet

Prophet

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: eBook Release Date: 08/09/2015

Born in the mountains of northern Lebanon, Kahlil Girbran (1883-1931) - mystic, society philosopher, author of one of the most enduring works of the 20th century, The Prophet - immigrated to the United States in 1895. A gifted artist, who specialized in painting for some years before he turned to writing, Gibran - although initially spurned by those whose approval he sought - was in time beloved by a number of prominent avant-gardists and hobnobbed with the rich anbd famous of Henry James's turn-of-the-century Boston. He then set his sights on the bohemian world of Greenwich Village in its early heyday before World War I.Gibran is known for the peace and optimism that permeates his work. Paradoxically, however, his life was littered with personal tragedies, conflicted sexuality, and deep heartache. Robin Waterfield skillfully traces Gibran's development from wounded Romantic and angry young man to his final metamorphosis as the Prophet of New York and shows what influences- psychological, social, and literary - led to these various phases. In fact, the road to the extraordinary success of The Prophet was not smooth or peaceful and tragically, Gibran himself di not live to see the phenomenal sales the book subsequently achieved. A complete reappraisal of all the remaining primary sources on Gibran's life and character, PROPHET is a brilliant work that reveals this Svengali-like guru of the New Age as a deeply unhappy, even tortured man.

Taken at the Flood The Roman Conquest of Greece

Taken at the Flood The Roman Conquest of Greece

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/04/2014

The Romans first set military foot on Greek soil in 229 BCE; only sixty or so years later it was all over, and shortly thereafter Greece became one of the first provinces of the emerging Roman Empire. It was an incredible journey - a swift, brutal, and determined conquest of the land to whose art, philosophy, and culture the Romans owed so much. Rome found the eastern Mediterranean divided, in an unstable balance of power, between three great kingdoms - the three Hellenistic kingdoms that had survived and flourished after the wars of Alexander the Great's Successors: Macedon, Egypt, and Syria. Internal troubles took Egypt more or less out of the picture, but the other two were reduced by Rome. Having established itself, by its defeat of Carthage, as the sole superpower in the western Mediterranean, Rome then systematically went about doing the same in the east, until the entire Mediterranean was under her control. Apart from the thrilling military action, the story of the Roman conquest of Greece is central to the story of Rome itself and the empire it created. As Robin Waterfield shows, the Romans developed a highly sophisticated method of dominance by remote control over the Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean - the cheap option of using authority and diplomacy to keep order rather than standing armies. And it is a story that raises a number of fascinating questions about Rome, her empire, and her civilization. For instance, to what extent was the Roman conquest a planned and deliberate policy? What was it about Roman culture that gave it such a will for conquest? And what was the effect on Roman intellectual and artistic culture, on their very identity, of their entanglement with an older Greek civilization, which the Romans themselves recognized as supreme?

Dividing the Spoils The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Dividing the Spoils The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/08/2012

This is the story of one of the great forgotten wars of history - which led to the division of one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen. Alexander the Great built up his huge empire in little more than a decade, stretching from Greece in the West, via Egypt, Syria, Babylonia, and Persia through to the Indian sub-continent in the East. After his death in 323 BC, it took forty years of world-changing warfare for his heirs to finish carving up these vast conquests. These years were filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women schemed from their palaces and pavilions. Dividing the Spoils revives the memory of Alexander's Successors, whose fame has been dimmed only because they stand in his enormous shadow. In fact, Alexander left things in a mess at the time of his death, with no guaranteed succession, no administration in place suitable for such an enormous realm, and huge untamed areas both bordering and within his 'empire'. The Successors consolidated the Conqueror's gains. Their competing ambitions, however, meant that consolidation inevitably led to the break-up of the empire. Astonishingly, this period of brutal, cynical warfare was also characterized by brilliant cultural developments, especially in the fields of philosophy, literature, and art. As well as an account of the military action, this is also the story of an amazing cultural flowering. In some senses, a new world emerged from the dust and haze of battle - the world of Hellenistic Greece. A surprising amount of the history of many countries, from Greece to Afghanistan, began in the hearts and minds of the Successors of Alexander the Great. As this book demonstrates, their stories deserve to be better known.

Dividing the Spoils The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Dividing the Spoils The War for Alexander the Great's Empire

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/04/2011

This is the story of one of the great forgotten wars of history - which led to the disintegration of one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen. Alexander the Great built up his huge empire in little more than a decade, stretching from Greece in the West, via Egypt, Syria, Babylonia, and Persia through to the Indian sub-continent in the East. After his death in 323 BC, it took forty years of world-changing warfare for his heirs to finish carving up these vast conquests. These years were filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women schemed from their palaces and pavilions. Dividing the Spoils revives the memory of Alexander's Successors, whose fame has been dimmed only because they stand in his enormous shadow. In fact, Alexander left things in a mess at the time of his death, with no guaranteed succession, no administration in place suitable for such an enormous realm, and huge untamed areas both bordering and within his 'empire'. The Successors consolidated the Conqueror's gains. Their competing ambitions, however, meant that consolidation inevitably led to the break-up of the empire. Astonishingly, this period of brutal, cynical warfare was also characterized by brilliant cultural developments, especially in the fields of philosophy, literature, and art. So as well as an account of the military action, this is also the story of an amazing cultural flowering. In some senses, a new world emerged from the dust and haze of battle. A surprising amount of the history of many countries, from Greece to Afghanistan, began in the hearts and minds of the Successors of Alexander the Great. As this book demonstrates, their stories deserve to be better known.

Christians in Persia Assyrians, Armenians, Roman Catholics and Protestants

Christians in Persia Assyrians, Armenians, Roman Catholics and Protestants

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/02/2011

When it was originally published this book broke new ground in presenting one continuous narrative of the history of Christians in Persia from the second century A.D to the 1970s. The material gathered here was previously only to be found in obscure books, manuscripts and foreign periodicals. Christians in Persia shows the intricate history of the period concerned; the personalities of the rulers and the ruled; the difficult task of the missionaries; their successes and failures and the consequences of their efforts. All this is related to the wider history of the country and to the expansion of Christianity in the East.

Why Socrates Died Dispelling the Myths

Why Socrates Died Dispelling the Myths

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/02/2010

Socrates' trial and death together form an iconic moment in Western civilization. The picture we have of it - created by his immediate followers and perpetuated in countless works of literature and art ever since - is that a noble man was put to death in a fit of folly by the ancient Athenian democracy. But an icon, an image, is not reality. The trial was, in part, a response to troubled times - a catastrophic war and turbulent social changes - and so provides a good lens through which to explore the history of the period; the historical facts allow us to strip away some of the veneer that has for so long denied us glimpses of the real Socrates. Written by a scholar, but not only for scholars, this is an accessible, authoritative account of one of the defining periods of Western civilization.

The First Philosophers The Presocratics and Sophists

The First Philosophers The Presocratics and Sophists

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/03/2009

The first philosophers paved the way for the work of Plato and Aristotle - and hence for the whole of Western thought. Aristotle said that philosophy begins with wonder, and the first Western philosophers developed theories of the world which express simultaneously their sense of wonder and their intuition that the world should be comprehensible. But their enterprise was by no means limited to this proto-scientific task. Through, for instance, Heraclitus' enigmatic sayings, the poetry of Parmenides and Empedocles, and Zeno's paradoxes, the Western world was introduced to metaphysics, rationalist theology, ethics, and logic, by thinkers who often seem to be mystics or shamans as much as philosophers or scientists in the modern mould. And out of the Sophists' reflections on human beings and their place in the world arose and interest in language, and in political, moral, and social philosophy. This volume contains a translation of all the most important fragments of the Presocratics and Sophists, and of the most informative testimonia from ancient sources, supplemented by lucid commentary. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Why Socrates Died Dispelling the Myths

Why Socrates Died Dispelling the Myths

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/02/2009

Socrates' trial and death together form an iconic moment in Western civilization. The picture we have of it - created by his immediate followers and perpetuated in countless works of literature and art ever since - is that a noble man was put to death in a fit of folly by the ancient Athenian democracy. But an icon, an image, is not reality. The trial was, in part, a response to troubled times - a catastrophic war and turbulent social changes - and so provides a good lens through which to explore the history of the period; the historical facts allow us to strip away some of the veneer that has for so long denied us glimpses of the real Socrates. Written by a scholar, but not only for scholars, this is an accessible, authoritative account of one of the defining periods of Western civilization.

Xenophon's Retreat Greece, Persia, and the End of the Golden Age

Xenophon's Retreat Greece, Persia, and the End of the Golden Age

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/12/2008

In The Expedition of Cyrus, the Western world's first eyewitness account of a military campaign, Xenophon told how, in 401 B.C., a band of unruly Greek mercenaries traveled east to fight for the Persian prince Cyrus the Younger in his attempt to wrest the throne of the mighty Persian empire from his brother. With this first masterpiece of Western military history forming the backbone of his book, Robin Waterfield explores what remains unsaid and assumed in Xenophon's account-much about the gruesome nature of ancient battle and logistics, the lives of Greek and Persian soldiers, and questions of historical, political, and personal context, motivation, and conflicting agendas. The result is a rounded version of the story of Cyrus's ill-fated march and the Greeks' perilous retreat--a nuanced and dramatic perspective on a critical moment in history that may tell us as much about our present-day adventures in the Middle East, site of Cyrus's debacle and the last act of the Golden Age, as it does about the great powers of antiquity in a volatile period of transition. Just as Xenophon brought the thrilling, appalling expedition to life, Waterfield evokes Xenophon himself as a man of his times-reflecting for all time invaluable truths about warfare, overweaning ambition, the pitfalls of power, and the march of history.

Xenophon's Retreat Greece, Persia and the end of the Golden Age

Xenophon's Retreat Greece, Persia and the end of the Golden Age

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/09/2007

It is 401 BC. After an epic battle in Persia, Xenophon is elected general of the defeated Greek army and must lead the men on a fraught journey back home - a journey of hundreds of miles, north from modern-day Iraq into the mountains of Kurdistan and Armenia, and down to the coast of the Black Sea, fighting all the way, harried on all sides by Persian forces, wild mountain tribesmen, and a bitter winter... A gripping adventure full of drama, human interest, strong characters, pathos, and triumph.

Xenophon's Retreat Greece, Persia and the end of the Golden Age

Xenophon's Retreat Greece, Persia and the end of the Golden Age

Author: Robin Waterfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/09/2006

This is the epic story of a band of Greek mercenaries stranded in Persia, forced to fight their way home across deadly terrain. It is 401 BC. In battle at Cunaxa on the River Euphrates, the Persian king Artaxerxes II defeats a challenge to his throne by his brother Cyrus the Younger. Among the slain Cyrus' s troops are a contingent of Greek mercenaries, known as The Ten Thousand. In the wake of the defeat, Xenophon, a former pupil of Socrates, is elected a general and must lead the men on a fraught journey back to Greece - a journey of hundreds of miles, north from modern-day Iraq into the mountains of Kurdistan and Armenia, and down to the coast of the Black Sea, fighting all the way, harried on all sides by Persian forces, wild mountain tribesmen, and a bitter winter... In Robin Wakefield's telling, this epic journey - which climaxed with a soon-to-be-legendary cry, 'The sea, the sea!' - is a gripping adventure full of drama, human interest, strong characters, pathos, and triumph. More than that, the events so described occur on the cusp of the change from the age of democracy to that of empire. For the tale begins with Aristotle and the school of Athens but ends with the invasion of Greece by Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great. Xenophon's retreat symbolises that of the Greek world, and tells us something more of the West's ceaseless preoccupation with the gulf between Europe and the Middle East.

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