Dabbling in old classics

It’s not unusual that I am reading several novels at the same time. Usually it is because they are tough to read, even if they are interesting. Most common in this category are old classics. Books from before the time that reading was normal among commoners and when there was an even bigger lack of editors fixing the style of the writer.

At the moment I am reading 3 books, with the remarkable feat that for every one of them there is no clear publication year.

The first one is the Dutch translation of The Jewish War (De Bello Judaica) by Titus Flavius Josephus (c. 74). I have already read (the interesting part) of it’s prequel Antiquities of the Jews (written after this book), so I am actually reading it in the right order. I am getting near the end, although I will skip the bonus novel My life, which is a partial repeat of a part of The Jewish War. Maybe sometime later. I only bought it for the main book.

The second book I am reading is The Travels, ghostwritten for Marco Polo (c. 1300). The famous work about his journey to China and what he saw there. I am already halfway.

The third book is Fourteen Byzantine Rulers (Chronographia) by Michael Psellus (c. 1085). The book describes the rule of a set of Byzantine Emperors between 976 and 1078. The nice thing about the book is that Psellus was a contemporary of the time, being born in 1018 and living in the environment of the emperors after 1028 and playing a part in government from 1042 onwards. Maybe not always that objective, but fairly accurate.

I hope to finish them within a few weeks.

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