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This text provides an illustrated study of the influence of Near Eastern culture on the Roman world, which argues against received wisdom about Rome as the bastion of European culture. In this controversial and provocative study Warwick Ball presents the story of Rome in the light of Rome's fascination with the East. He explains Rome's obsession with the Eastern World as a fascination of the new world for the old, of the mundane for the exotic, a love affair with the East that even took literal form with the story of Anthony and Cleopatra. From Rome's legendary foundation as the New Troy by Aeneas and the Trojan heroes, through installing Arabs as Roman emperors, to the eventual foundation of the new Rome by a latter day Aeneas at Constantinople, the East took over Rome - and Rome ultimately ditched Europe to the Barbarians. Through this obsession, Near Eastern civilization - most of all, Christianity - went west to transform Europe. Warwick Ball argues that the story of Rome is the story of the East, more than the story of the West.
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