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A Short History of Ancient Times

  Title: A Short History of Ancient Times, Revised edition, originally published in 1922 by Ginn and Company

Author: Philip Van Ness Myers
Paperback: 354 pages
Images: 11 color maps, 6 black & white maps, 85 black & white images, many of which are reproductions of photographs
Publisher: Fingerhut Press (reprinted 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-9826859-0-7
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches (216 mm x 140 mm x 20 mm)
Weight: 15 ounces (430 grams)

Order a copy

One copy of the book is $16.00 US plus $3.00 shipping and handling within the continental USA.  You can order and pay via a PayPal or a major credit card by clicking below.  For destinations outside the continental USA, we have created alternate "Buy Now" buttons here.

Click to order a paperback copy of the book shipped to you in the continental USA:

A new option we are offering is the ability to download an Adobe Acrobat version of the book as a file on your computer (also known as a "PDF" file).  The images look just like the pages of the paper book.  In addition to reading it on your computer screen or printing out any portion of the book you want, you can search for words in the book and be taken directly to the page or pages where those words occur.  This has been tested with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program available at Adobe's web site, and also with the program Preview that comes pre-installed with all Macs.  Windows Desktop Search and Mac Spotlight also index the words in the book, so searching your entire computer for "Pompey", for example, will find this file on your computer's hard drive.  Note: In our testing it appears that Google Desktop Search only indexes part of PDF files, not their entire contents, so if you use that program to search your computer, only words near the beginning of the book will be found.

This version of the book is $7.00 US with no shipping cost.  We have not automated the complete process, so if you order this, there will be a delay after you order until we create and email you a link so that you may download the PDF file.  This should take no more than 2 days after your order.  Also note that if you order this, you will NOT receive a paper copy of the book -- only a link where you can download the file to your computer.

Click to order a downloadable Adobe Acrobat computer file of the book, with all figures and maps, and searchable text.  This does not include a copy of the physical book.  NOTE: It will take up to 1-2 days after you pay before you receive a link in email to download the file:

Write a review

This edition of the book is also listed on Amazon here.  If you have an Amazon account and wish to write a review for the book there, please do so.

The new preface by Scott Powell


Preface to the HistoryAtOurHouse Edition for Homeschoolers and Lifelong Learners

     Anyone wishing to learn history in America today faces an almost insurmountable challenge.  Modern history texts – even those intended for children – impede the reader with vast quantities of non-essential information.  They abound with biased content (religious, multicultural, politicized, or otherwise subjective) while omitting, or at least deemphasizing, many of the most indispensable facts that render the story of the past intelligible.  Consequently, students find themselves unable to grasp the “big picture” when it comes to human history, and thus lack the foundational awareness required to appreciate the deeper meaning and relevance of its component narratives.
     The tragic result for American culture is widespread and growing historical ignorance, and even disdain for history.
     An explanation of the causes of the current debacle in historical pedagogy is beyond the scope of this preface.  It is enough for the reader to know that A Short History of Ancient Times is different.
     This book was written in a time when historians still believed that the average educated person could and should learn the basic outline of history, and that learning that outline was a necessary step in becoming a “historically-minded” adult.  To facilitate the learning process, historians wrote short, accessible narratives, whose greatest virtue was that they stripped away all the minutiae and interpretive controversies that cloud the story of the past to reveal its straightforward, causal, fundamental progression of events.
     I can honestly say that I could not have grasped the basic outline of history without the help of P.V.N. Myers.   I am thrilled that homeschoolers will have this resource at their disposal to help them salvage history education in America.

Scott Powell
Creator and Teacher, www.HistoryAtOurHouse.com

Table of Contents

  List of Maps
 I   General Introduction: Prehistoric Times 1
                Division I.  The Eastern Nations
 Races and Groups of Peoples 12
 Ancient Egypt 15
 Babylonia and Assyria 24

 The Hebrews 35
 The Phoenicians 39
 The Persian Empire (558-330 B.C.) 42
 The East Asian Peoples
                Dvision II. Greece
 The Land and the People 52

 Greek Legends; The Aegean Civilization 57
 The Heritage of the Historic Greeks 62
 The Growth of Sparta 69
 The Age of Colonization and of Tyrannies 73
 The History of Athens up to the Persian Wars 79
 The Persian Wars (500-479 B.C.) 85
 The Athenian Empire 92
 The Peloponnesian War; the Spartan and the Theban Supremacy 98
 Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) 109
 The Graeco-Oriental World from the Death of Alexander to the Conquest of Greece by the Romans (323-146 B.C.) 115
 Greek Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting 119
 Greek Literature 127
 Greek Philosophy and Science 134
 Social Life of the Greeks 141
                Division III.  Rome
 Italy and its Early Inhabitants 146
 Roman Institutions; Rome under the Kings 150
 The Early Republic; Plebeians become Citizens with Full Rights (509-367 B.C.) 159
 The Conquest and Unification of Italy (367-264 B.C.)
 Expansion of Rome beyond the Peninsula 172
 The Last Century of the Republic (133-31 B.C.) 181
 The Establishment of the Empire and the Principate of Augustus Caesar (31 B.C.-A.D. 14) 200
 From Tiberius to the Accession of Diocletian (A.D. 14-284) 206
 Diocletian and Constantine the Great 215
 The Last Century of the Empire in the West (A.D. 376-476) 222
 Architecture, Literature, Law, and Social Life among the Romans 233
                Division IV. The Romano-German or
                        Transition Age (A.D. 476-800)
 The Barbarian Kingdoms 245
 The Church and its Institutions 249
 The Fusion of Latin and Teuton 259
 The Roman Empire in the East 263
 The Rise of Islam 266
 Charlemagne and the Restoration of the Empire in the West
  Appendix i

Sample chapters

 You can click on one of the "View" links below to see the sample chapter in your web browser.  You can click on your browser's "back" button to return here afterwards.  You can also choose to download a file containing the sample chapter.  These files are in Adobe Acrobat format, also known as Portable Document Format, or PDF.  Try clicking on the links below to see if your computer is already set up to read them -- many are (e.g. Apple Mac computers come pre-installed with a program Preview that can display these files).  If not, you can download the free program Adobe Reader from Adobe's web site.

    Chapter 1: General Introduction: Prehistoric Times  [View]  [Download]

    Chapter 20: Greek Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting  [View]  [Download]

These sample chapters are created from the same images used to create the reprint.

Notes on the process of creating this reprint

 You may have bought a reprinted book, or more specifically an "OCR reprint", from Amazon or some other on-line book seller.  It is also possible that you were disappointed in the quality of the book you received, due to obvious errors in the text.

In reprinting Myers's book "A Short History of Ancient Times", we have gone to significant effort to ensure that you get the most complete and accurate reproduction of the original edition possible.  We are proud of the result and believe you will enjoy reading it.

Here we outline the steps we took in creating this reprint.

We bought a used copy of the book, originally published in 1922, from an on-line book seller.  Owen used a craft knife to cut out the pages from the hardcover book.  Andy scanned them on a flatbed scanner, and used an image editing program called Gimp to clean up the images.  We removed marks due to dust, blemishes, and pencil marks in the original book.  In many cases the black and white figures in the book were scanned again using a different setting to better capture different shades of gray, and those images were copied and pasted into the images containing the text.

All of these cleaned images were sent to a book printer.  It required a few tries to get them into acceptable form, and even then we printed a proof copy of two different versions of the images, since our first try produced unacceptably low quality for many of the black and white figures.  After verifying that everything looked as close to the original as we could make it, we printed 100 copies.  Owen printed the color maps on our home laser printer, trimmed them down to size, and glued them into the book by hand.  This avoided the additional cost of having this service performed by the book printer.  There may be less expensive services available, but the one book printer we found who offered to insert the color maps into the book for us charged 80 cents per page, per copy of the book, or $7.20 per book with 9 color maps.  Owen is happy to perform that task for less.

All of the pages of the original are here, on the same page numbers as in the original, including the table of contents, index, black and white figures and maps, and color maps.  There are no errors in the text due to OCR (see below if you are curious).

OCR stands for "optical character recognition".  OCR programs read in scanned images of a book's pages, which are basically photographs of the pages.  These images cannot be edited to change words the way a word processor document can be, although they can be edited using programs that can modify photographs, such as Adobe Photoshop.

OCR software attempts to find all places in an image that look like letters, numbers, and punctuation, and converts them to text -- the same kind of text you could open in a word processor document and edit to your heart's content.  This translation removes all dust, smudges, smears, and pencil marks in the original, but it tends to have errors, too, since it is difficult to write a computer program that can perfectly recognize these symbols without mistakes.  Typical error rates today are as low as 1%, unless later corrected manually by a person.  It can be very noticeable and annoying to read a book in which there is an average of one error out of every 100 words.

In addition, the resulting word processing documents then have the text in a different typeface or size, with different widths for characters, so when the word processor formats the paragraphs and the pages, many of the words end up on different page numbers than in the original.  Thus many page numbers in a table of contents or index would be incorrect, and it would take significant manual effort by a person to correct them.

But you don't have to take our word for it.  Here is a web site of a company called General Books LLC that sells many different OCR reprint books on Amazon, and their explanation for why their reprints differ from the originals.  For the number of different books they publish this way (several hundred thousand, I believe), it would be very time consuming, and thus expensive, to go through the process we did for this book.

Our goal is not to reprint such a large variety of books, but only a few that are high quality, their copyright is expired (or we can get permission from the publisher to reprint them), and it is difficult to buy used copies.