Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Jordan: Past & Present

Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Jordan: Past & Present

Article excerpt

E. Borgia, Jordan: Past & Present. Trans. A. Potter. Rome: Vision, 2001.

Jordan: Past & Present is a book similar to Israel: Past & Present, providing engaging encyclopedic type entries, photographs and maps of several notable ancient sites in Jordan. The three main sites covered are Petra, Jerash, and Amman.

The opening pages provide a historical overview of the major periods of history from the dawn of civilization in the Jordan region down to the modern day. The book is artfully designed with compelling text and photographs. Like the book Israel: Past & Present, the unique feature of this book is the artistic overlay upon the modern background of what an ancient site may have looked like. However, as was seen with the book Israel: Past & Present, due to the advent of the Internet and smart devices, a book like this is essentially superfluous. These two books are likely created for the tourist market and I wouldn't be surprised to find copies available at any of the locations depicted herein.

For each of the sites covered, the book provides the basic outlines of human history at the site, a variety of color pictures and orienting maps. Though this information only conveys the barest of details, one can quickly discern the sweep of human activity and civilization at these intriguing sites. The text provides the context for why the sites developed as they did and why they are in their current state of repair or disrepair.


Highlighted features of Petra include an overview of the city plan, the Theater, the Colonnaded Street, the Nymphaeum, the Témenos Gate, the Qasr el-Bint (or Castle of the Pharaoh's daughter), and the famous funerary architecture, with specific attention given to the Obelisk Tomb, the Palace Tomb, and the Sextius Florentinus Tomb. …

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