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Robin Lane Fox is Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford, and was until 2014 Reader in Ancient History in Oxford University. He is the author of Pagans and Christians (1986), The Unauthorised Version (1992) and many books on classical history, including Alexander the Great (1973), The Classical World (2005) and Travelling Heroes (2008), all of which have been widely translated. He has been the gardening correspondent of the Financial Times since 1970.
This book offers a major new interpretation of how one of the great figures of Christian history came to write the greatest of all autobiographies. Augustine is the person from the ancient world about whom we know most. He is the author of an intimate masterpiece, the Confessions, which continues to delight its many admirers. In it he writes about his infancy and his schooling in the classics in late Roman North Africa, his remarkable mother, his sexual sins ('Give me chastity, but not yet,' he famously prayed), his time in an outlawed heretical sect, his worldly career and friendships and his gradual return to God. His account of his own eventual conversion is a classic study of anguish, hesitation and what he believes to be God's intervention. It has inspired philosophers, Christian thinkers and monastic followers, but it still leaves readers wondering why exactly Augustine chose to compose a work like none before it. Augustine's heretical years as a Manichaean, his relation to non-Christian philosophy, his mystical aspirations and the nature of his conversion are among the aspects of his life which stand out in a sharper light. For the first time Lane Fox compares him with two contemporaries, an older pagan and a younger Christian, each of whom also wrote about themselves and who illumine Augustine's life and writings by their different choices. More than a decade passed between Augustine's conversion and his beginning the Confessions. Lane Fox argues that the Confessions and their thinking were the results of a long gestation over these years, not a sudden change of perspective, but that they were then written as a single swift composition and that its final books are a coherent consummation of its scriptural meditation and personal biography. This exceptional study reminds us why we are so excited and so moved by Augustine's story.
Medicine is one of the great fields of achievement of the Ancient Greeks. Hippocrates is celebrated worldwide as the father of medicine and the Hippocratic Oath is admired throughout the medical profession as a founding statement of ethics and ideals. In the fifth century BC, Greeks even wrote of medicine as a newly discovered craft they had invented. Robin Lane Fox's remarkable book puts their invention of medicine in a wider context, from the epic poems of Homer to the first doctors known to have been active in the Greek world. He examines what we do and do not know about Hippocrates and his Oath and the many writings that survive under his name. He then focuses on seven core texts which give the case histories of named individuals, showing that books 1 and 3 belong far earlier than previously recognised. Their re-dating has important consequences for the medical awareness of the great Greek dramatists and the historians Herodotus and Thucydides. Robin Lane Fox pieces together the doctor's thinking from his terse observations and relates it in a new way to the history of Greek prose and ideas. This original and compelling book opens windows onto many other aspects of the classical world, from women's medicine to street-life, empire, art, sport, sex and even botany. It fills a dark decade in a new way and carries readers along an extraordinary journey form Homer's epics to the grateful heirs of the Greek case histories, first in the Islamic world and then in early modern Europe.
Kiftsgate Court, perched on the northern edge of the Cotswolds Hills in Gloucestershire, is a garden composed of many different scenes. Some elements - the bluebell wood, the clipped hedging and the rose border, with its famously huge Kiftsgate rose - are traditionally English, but there are also areas of Italianate planting and terracing, and others where a mixture of perennials, roses and rare and exotic shrubs thrive side by side. Equally remarkable is the fine balance between continuity and gentle evolution that the visitor finds at Kiftsgate. This is largely because the garden has belonged to the same family since its creation 100 years ago. Three women have tended Kiftsgate, each one its driving force for a third of a century, and each building on the legacy of the previous generation. In 1919 Heather Muir and her husband, Jack, bought the house, which stands on a relatively narrow plateau from which a bank plunges 100 feet. Heather gave Kiftsgate its structure, laying out the semi-formal gardens by the house, planting the tapestry hedge and rose garden, and terracing the banks. In 1954 Heather was succeeded by her daughter, Diany Binny, who extended and developed her mother's planting, made more borders and paths, and refashioned the White Sunk Garden. Since the late 1980s Diany's daughter, Anne Chambers, has been at the helm, further modernizing the garden and its planting, creating new areas of interest, and opening more often to the public. As Robin Lane Fox, who has written the foreword, comments: `There is nowhere else in Britain that has such a family tradition of planting and dedication ... It is intimate but many-sided, evolving but with roots in a remarkable past.' This beautiful new book - the first dedicated to Kiftsgate - is structured in two main parts. For the first, `The History', Vanessa Berridge has had exclusive access to the Kiftsgate archive, which contains not only family photographs but also letters from their gardening friends, helping us to understand why and how Heather, Diany and Anne have gardened. Among the circle of friends and acquaintances who feature are Lawrence Johnston of Hidcote Manor (Kiftsgate's neighbour); Vita Sackville-West, the creator of Sissinghurst Castle Garden; and the horticulturalist Graham Stuart Thomas, gardens adviser to the National Trust. The second part of the book takes the reader on an extended tour of the garden, illustrated by the glorious photography of Sabina Ruber. The tour concludes with notes on Kiftsgate's signature plants and Anne Chambers's personal reflections on this, one of the great gardens of England.
Mit Esprit, Witz und Weisheit entfaltet der passionierte Gartner und beruhmte langjahrige Gartenkolumnist der "e;Financial Times"e; sein einzigartiges Wissen um Pflanzen, beruhmte Garten und die erfullende Tatigkeit des Gartners. Dieses Buch ist weit mehr als ein Ratgeber: ein fantastisches tiefgrundiges Lesevergnugen fur nachdenkliche Gartner. Robin Lane Fox, passionierter Grtner und berhmter Gartenschriftsteller, lsst uns Leser eintauchen in britische Gartentradition, vergessenes Wissen ber Pflanzen und geniale Grtner. Anschaulich, elegant und sachkundig beschreibt er die Grten, die er weltweit besucht hat, von der Normandie bis in die Ukraine, und lsst uns teilhaben an einer unvergleichlichen grtnerischen Neugier und Weisheit. Denn fr den Autor sind Grten menschliche Schpfungen, die vom persnlichen Charakter der Grtner ebenso geprgt sind wie von Kunst, Geschichte, Politik und Wissenschaft. Wie so viele kluge Grtner bekennt er sich nachdrcklich zu einem "e;gedankenvollen, aufmerksamen"e; Grtnern. Er kennt die Ursprnge der einzelnen Pflanzen und pflanzt sie an Orten, die ihren eigenen Bedrfnissen und denen der Menschen entsprechen. Und zugleich erinnert er daran, wie machtvoll Literatur und Kunst unsere Wahrnehmung und Erfahrungen in unseren eigenen Grten vertiefen knnen. Eine abwechslungsreiche, hchst unterhaltsam-kultivierte Reise durch das Gartenjahr. "e;Robin Lane Fox ist einer der besten Gartenschriftsteller."e;Telegraph"e;Dies ist Gartenliteratur vom Feinsten."e;Gregory Long, Prsident des New York Botanical Garden
Mit groer Sprachkunst erzahlt und deutet Robin Lane Fox die entscheidenden Lebensphasen des heiligen Augustinus. Einfuhlsam portratiert er den Menschen und genialen Denker, der Meisterwerke der Weltliteratur schuf. Zugleich lasst er die faszinierende geistige Welt der Spatantike lebendig werden. Augustinus von Hippo (354-430 n. Chr.), Redner, Philosoph und Kirchenlehrer, ist bis heute eine geistige Macht geblieben. Die Burde des Schicksals und die Erfahrung der Freiheit, die Endlichkeit des Menschen und die Unendlichkeit Gottes - zwischen diesen Polen bewegt sich sein Leben. Robin Lane Fox zeigt ihn als einen Mann des spaten romischen Reiches, dessen Denken von Anfang an von den intellektuellen Debatten seiner Zeit tief gepragt war und der sich standig neu erfand. Mit groem Einfuhlungsvermogen und Scharfsinn erzahlt er die packende Geschichte Augustinus' vielfaltiger Wandlungen. Anhand der "e;Bekenntnisse"e;, eines der groten autobiographischen Meisterwerke aller Zeiten, schildert der Historiker Leben, Charakter und Temperament einer ebenso leidenschaftlichen wie komplexen Personlichkeit.
"e;This narrative of the first half of Augustine's life conjures the intellectual and social milieu of the late Roman Empire with a Proustian relish for detail."e; --New York TimesIn Augustine, celebrated historian Robin Lane Fox follows Augustine of Hippo on his journey to the writing of his Confessions. Unbaptized, Augustine indulged in a life of lust before finally confessing and converting. Lane Fox recounts Augustine's sexual sins, his time in an outlawed heretical sect, and his gradual return to spirituality. Magisterial and beautifully written, Augustine is the authoritative portrait of this colossal figure at his most thoughtful, vulnerable, and profound.
Thoughtful Gardening is based on Robin Lane Fox's own selection from his widely admired FT column, which he has rewritten and amplified with new chapters to take readers on a highly enjoyable journey through each season of the gardening year. It draws on his lifetime of practical gardening, including his years as Garden Master of New College, Oxford, and contains many memories of fellow gardeners, from Christopher Lloyd to Nancy Lancaster. The book is essential reading for anyone setting out on a new garden or taking stock of one. It takes a critical look at fashions of the moment and is full of advice, ranging from problems with badgers to how to take root-cuttings or choose flowering trees, as well as examples of gardens at home and abroad which Robin Lane Fox has visited over many years. Thoughtful Gardening combines a principled view of the craft of gardening with dozens of new ideas for planting and visiting, and touching reminders of the power of literature and art to deepen what we see and realize in gardens of our own.
Im Zentrum des Buches stehen die reisenden Zeitgenossen Homers: euboische Griechen des 8. Jahrhunderts, die als Seefahrer und Piraten rund um das Mittelmeer unterwegs waren, Handel trieben und neue Welten entdeckten. Fundstuck fur Fundstuck tragt der Autor zusammen, was sich uber diese fruhen Griechen herausfinden lasst. Reisende Helden, das sind auch die Figuren des Mythos, die weit herumkamen: etwa Dadalus, der sogar fliegen konnte, Herkules, der kreuz und quer im Mittelmeerraum seine Arbeiten verrichtete, oder die ungluckliche Io, die von Zeus erst verfuhrt und dann in eine Kuh verwandelt wurde. Indem Robin Lane Fox den unendlichen Schatz der griechischen Mythen mit der Sachwelt der archaologischen Funde verknupft, lasst er vor unseren Augen ein lebendiges Bild dieser Zeit entstehen. Robin Lane Fox' reisende Helden sind verwegene griechische Seefahrer aus dem 8. Jahrhundert v. Chr., die ferne Lander und Kusten entdeckten. Das Wissen und die Geschichten aus der Fremde integrierten sie in ihre Vorstellungswelt und legten so den Grundstein fur die griechische Kultur.
"e;Undoubtedly the best gardening book for the past 30 years--provocative, full of information, witty and very funny"e; --Financial TimesAn award-winning historian of antiquity, Robin Lane Fox is also one of Britain's foremost gardening experts, and in Thoughtful Gardening he takes readers on a varied and highly enjoyable journey through each season of the gardening year. From a tender eulogy for one of his landscape design mentors to a candid consideration of global warming's effects on his lupins or the perfect shrub to grow in shade along a path, Fox brings his trademark wit, wisdom, and charm to bear on the art and experience of gardening. Essential reading for anyone planting a new garden or taking stock of one after several years, this collection offers valuable critiques of horticultural trends and traditions, and essential insights into gardening practices and philosophies. Taken together these essays form-season by season-a rich reflection on the lessons, challenges, and absurdities of life with a green thumb.
Robin Lane Fox's Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer proposes a new way of thinking about ancient Greeks, showing how real-life journeys shaped their mythical tales. The tales of the ancient Greeks have inspired us for thousands of years. But where did they originate? Esteemed classicist Robin Lane Fox draws on a lifetime's knowledge of the ancient world, and on his own travels, to open up the age of Homer. His acclaimed history explores how the intrepid seafarers of eighth-century Greece sailed around the Mediterranean, encountering strange new sights - volcanic mountains, vaporous springs, huge prehistoric bones - and weaving them into the myths of gods, monsters and heroes that would become the cornerstone of Western civilization: the Odyssey and the Iliad. 'A beautiful evocation of a tantalizing world ... Travelling Heroes is a tour de force' Rowland Smith, Literary Review 'Lyrical, passionate ... his great gift is to make this long-ago world a vivid, extraordinary and sometimes frightening place ... a wonderful story' Elizabeth Speller, Sunday Times 'Original, daring and arguably life-enhancing ... produced with a sweeping narrative flourish worthy of a cinematographer or screenwriter' Paul Cartledge, Independent 'Lane Fox argues his case with tremendous style and verve ... learned, and always lively' Mary Beard, Financial Times Robin Lane Fox (b. 1946) is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, and a University Reader in Ancient History. His other books include The Classical World, Alexander the Great, Pagans and Christians and The Unauthorized Version. He was historical advisor to Oliver Stone on the making of Stone's film Alexander, for which he waived all his fees on condition that he could take part in the cavalry charge against elephants which Stone staged in the Moroccan desert.
The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome once dominated the world, and they continue to fascinate and inspire us. Classical art and architecture, drama and epic, philosophy and politics-these are the foundations of Western civilization. In The Classical World, eminent classicist Robin Lane Fox brilliantly chronicles this vast sweep of history from Homer to the reign of Hadrian. From the Peloponnesian War through the creation of Athenian democracy, from the turbulent empire of Alexander the Great to the creation of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Christianity, Fox serves as our witty and trenchant guide. He introduces us to extraordinary heroes and horrific villains, great thinkers and blood-thirsty tyrants. Throughout this vivid tour of two of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known, we remain in the hands of a great master.
Robin Lane Fox's The Classical World: An Epic History of Greece and Rome is a comprehensive and enthralling introduction to Ancient civilization. The classical civilizations of Greece and Rome dominated the world for centuries and continue to intrigue and enlighten us with their inventions, whether philosophy, politics, theatre, athletics, celebrity, science or the pleasures of horse racing. Robin Lane Fox's spellbinding history, spans almost a thousand years of change from the foundation of the world's first democracy in Athens to the Roman Republic and the Empire under Hadrian. Bringing great figures such as Homer, Socrates, Cicero, Alexander, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Augustus and the first Christian martyrs to life, exploring freedom, justice and luxury, this wonderfully exciting tour brings the turbulent histories of Greece and Rome together in a masterly study. 'Epic in the true sense' The Times Books of the Year 'He writes supremely well ... a keen eye for the telling detail and powerful example ... the humanity of the exercise shines through ... compulsory, and compulsive, reading' Peter Jones, Sunday Telegraph Robin Lane Fox is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, and a University Reader in Ancient History. His other books include Alexander the Great, Pagans and Christians and The Unauthorized Version. He was historical advisor to Oliver Stone on the making of Stone's film Alexander, for which he waived all his fees on condition that he could take part in the cavalry charge against elephants which Stone staged in the Moroccan desert.
From the second century AD to the conversion of the first Christian emperor, Constantine, Robin Lane Fox's Pagans and Christians in the Mediterranean World gives a fascinating new perspective on an extraordinary era. The transition from pagan to Christian in the ancient Mediterranean world was a process whose effects we still live with today. How did this monumental conversion come about? How did Christianity compare and compete with the pagan gods in the Roman Empire? This scholarly work, from award-winning historian Robin Lane Fox, places Christians and pagans side by side in the context of civic life and contrasts their religious experiences, visions, cults and oracles. Leading up to the time of the first Christian emperor, Constantine, the book aims to enlarge and confirm the value of contemporary evidence, some of which has only recently been discovered. 'This brilliant book is a wholly unexpected and central contribution to its subject. What is more it is readable and rereadable, even gripping' Peter Levi, Spectator 'Important and learned' Financial Times 'A massive and humane study...On my shelf it will rest with pride between Edward Gibbon and Peter Brown' Telegraph 'On the one hand a magisterial analysis and reconstruction of an apparently remote and alien society, on the other a detailed study of the single most significant process in our history' The Times Robin Lane Fox (b. 1946) is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, and a University Reader in Ancient History. His other books include The Classical World, Alexander the Great, Pagans and Christians and The Unauthorized Version. He was historical advisor to Oliver Stone on the making of Stone's film Alexander, for which he waived all his fees on condition that he could take part in the cavalry charge against elephants which Stone staged in the Moroccan desert.
In The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible, historian Robin Lane Fox takes an uncompromising look at the historical proof - or refutation - of biblical events. The Bible is moving, inspirational and endlessly fascinating - but is it true? Starting with Genesis and the implicit background to the birth of Christ, Robin Lane Fox sets out to discover how far biblical descriptions of people, places and events are confirmed or contradicted by external written and archaeological evidence. He turns a sharp historian's eye on when and where the individual books were composed, whether the texts as originally written exist, how the canon was assembled, and why the Gospels give varying accounts even of the trial and condemnation of Jesus. 'So clear, so lively, and, in many respects, so just' Frank Kermode, Guardian 'A marvellously absorbing book' Financial Times 'Magnificent ... Learned but never pedantic, he is unfailingly incisive, thought-provoking, human, courteous and often entertaining' Economist Robin Lane Fox is a Fellow of New College, Oxford, and a University Reader in Ancient History. His other books include Alexander the Great, Pagans and Christians and The Classical World. He was historical advisor to Oliver Stone on the making of Stone's film Alexander, for which he waived all his fees on condition that he could take part in the cavalry charge against elephants which Stone staged in the Moroccan desert.
From award-winning historian Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great searches through the mass of conflicting evidence and legend to focus on Alexander as a man of his own time. Tough, resolute, fearless, Alexander was a born warrior and ruler of passionate ambition who understood the intense adventure of conquest and of the unknown. When he died in 323 BC aged thirty-two, his vast empire comprised more than two million square miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements were unparalleled - he had excelled as leader to his men, founded eighteen new cities and stamped the face of Greek culture on the ancient East. The myth he created is as potent today as it was in the ancient world. Combining historical scholarship and acute psychological insight, Alexander the Great brings this colossal figure vividly to life. 'So enjoyable and well-written ... Fox's book became my main guide through Alexander's amazing story' Oliver Stone, director of Alexander 'I do not know which to admire most, his vast erudition or his imaginative grasp of so remote and complicated a period and such a complex personality' Cyril Connolly, Sunday Times 'An achievement of Alexandrian proportions' New Statesman Robin Lane Fox was the main historical advisor to Oliver Stone on his film Alexander, and took part in many of its most dramatic re-enactments. His books include The Classical World: An Epic History of Greece and Rome, The Unauthorised Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible, Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer and Pagans and Christians in the Mediterranean World from the Second Century AD to the Conversion of Constantine.
The March of the Ten Thousand is one of the most famous military adventures in the ancient world. Its fearless army of Greek mercenaries marched through western Asia (modern Turkey and Iraq) in 401 BC to 399 BC, their hopes and hardships recounted by Xenophon the Athenian, an admiring pupil of Socrates. Xenophon's history of the Long March, or 'Anabasis', became a classic of Greek literature. In this book, twelve leading scholars explore the 'Anabasis', a deceptively simple and profoundly rich source of social and cultural history and a unique guide to the mentality of the ancient Greek participants. The contributors explore a wide range of topics, from Xenophon's values, motives and manners as a writer, to the outlook of his companions as mercenary soldiers, from his descriptions of religion in soldiers' lives to their relations with women, boys and the many foreign peoples encountered during the march. Robin Lane Fox is Reader in Ancient History at Oxford University and a Fellow of New College. Among his books is 'Alexander the Great'.