Free history Kindle books for 07 Oct 18

Thoth: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian God Who Maintains the Universe

by Charles River Editors

*Includes pictures
*Includes ancient accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

“Thus says Thoth, judge of truth, to the Great Ennead which is in the presence of Osiris: Hear this word of very truth. I have judged the heart of the deceased and his soul stands as a witness for him. His deeds are righteous in the great balance, and no sin has been found in himâ?¦”

Africa may have given rise to the first human beings, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world’s first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it’s no wonder that today’s world has so many Egyptologists.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of ancient Egyptian civilization was its inception from the ground up, as the ancient Egyptians had no prior civilization which they could use as a template. In fact, ancient Egypt itself became a template for the civilizations that followed. The Greeks and the Romans were so impressed with Egyptian culture that they often attributed many attributes of their own culture – usually erroneously – to the Egyptians.

To the ancient Egyptians, as was the case with any society made up of inquiring humans, the world was a confusing and often terrifying place of destruction, death and unexplained phenomena. In order to make sense of such an existence, they resorted to teleological stories. Giving a phenomenon a story made it less horrifying, and it also helped them make sense of the world around them. Unsurprisingly, then, the ancient Egyptian gods permeated every aspect of existence.

Baboons held a prestigious place in Egyptian religion. They were kept as sacred animals in many temples because contemporary Egyptians considered them the original religious observers, particularly with respect to the sun god Re. Ancient Egyptians took the wild baboons stretching on their hind legs, forelegs raised to the sky, to be an oration to the sun god at dawn. Furthermore, these ancient ancestors of the land of Egypt were greeted at dawn by the concatenations of the baboons nattering, which the religious-minded took to be an early-morning devotion and even believed that the baboons spoke the original language of religion, and a claim they could understand baboons was often one asserted by certain members of the priestly class.

However, it is his association with the ibis that most defines Thoth’s visual imagery. Since the ancient Egyptians believed that the universe arose from the swamp-like waters of Nun, it was the water bird that garnered the most prestigious veneration. Birds like geese, herons and the ibises were associated with this period of creation, and, according to some beliefs, the world came about thanks to the great “honk” of a primordial goose, whose eggshell was said to be preserved in the temple of Thoth. It was believed that Re created Thoth’s baboon form to be that of his “shining moon,” but his ibis form was that of a messenger between heaven and earth (although he was much more than this).

Thoth: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian God Who Maintains the Universe looks at the mythology surrounding one of antiquity’s most famous deities. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about Thoth like never before.



Claudius: The Life and Legacy of the Emperor Who Stabilized the Ancient Roman Empire after Caligula

by Charles River Editors

*Includes pictures
*Includes ancient accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

Throughout the history of the Roman Empire, many rulers held the reins of ultimate power. Some of them, like Octavian, Trajan, Hadrian, Constantine, and Marcus Aurelius, are still celebrated and considered among antiquity’s great statesmen, generals and thinkers. But the Roman Empire also had its fair share of notorious villains, from the sadistic Nero to the debauched Commodus. And yet, all of Rome’s poor rulers pale in comparison to the record and legacy of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, a young man remembered by posterity as Caligula. Given how bad some of Rome’s emperors were, it’s a testament to just how insane and reviled Caligula was that he is still remembered nearly 2,000 years later as the epitome of everything that could be wrong with a tyrant. The Romans had high hopes for him after he succeeded Tiberius in 37 CE, and by all accounts he was a noble and just ruler during his first few months in power. But after that, he suffered some sort of mysterious illness that apparently rendered him insane, and the list of Caligula’s strange actions became quite lengthy in almost no time at all. Among other things, Caligula began appearing in public dressed as gods and goddesses, and his incest, sexual perversion, and thirst for blood were legendary at the time, difficult accomplishments considering Roman society was fairly accustomed to and tolerant of such things.

Caligula has always fascinated people, and people have speculated for centuries whether the stories about his misdeeds are true, but what is clear is that the Romans had more than enough by 41 CE, when the Praetorian Guard turned on the young emperor and assassinated him. Caligula’s reign was so traumatic to the Romans that they even considered restoring the Republic, but military officials ultimately installed Claudius, the only male left in the Julian family line, as emperor.

Today, Claudius is particularly remembered for the conquest of Britain, as Roman power there had weakened since Julius Caesar had invaded nearly a century before. Beyond this, he established Roman colonies on the frontiers of the empire, annexed several territories in North Africa (including Thrace and Mauritania), and made Judea a province. Claudius’s rule stands out in other aspects as well. He paid great attention to Rome’s judicial system and religious policy, and the Empire’s infrastructure was improved during his reign, with the construction of new roads and aqueducts, as well as a new harbor at Ostia. Efforts were also made to import grain as a reliable food source for Italy.

Claudius also made significant changes to the government’s administrative system, increasing the emperor’s control and using freedmen as the heads of several divisions of administration, such as the treasury. Additionally, he realized the importance of the provinces and worked to incorporate them into the empire fully.

What makes Claudius such a surprisingly effective emperor, aside from his strange route to power, was that he was considered physically and mentally incompetent for political life. At the same time, Claudius managed to take the throne against the will of the Senate thanks to the support of the Praetorian Guard, and despite his efforts to work with the Senate, the relationship would always be troublesome. Under Claudius, the Senate lost power, which is partially why some of the most important sources on Claudius’s life and reign are openly hostile toward him. The Apocolocyntosis divi Claudii, written by Seneca (who had been exiled at the beginning of Claudius’s reign), ridicules the emperor’s physical difficulties and judicial decisions. Later writers, such as Tacitus, Cassius Dio, and Suetonius, echo what Seneca wrote, claiming that Claudius was controlled by his wives and the freedmen he’d made a part of his government.



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