on 18 June 2008
This book is meant to be a short introduction to the society of Rome during the late Republic for A-level and first year university students. As such I expected it to be a rather dry and academic work, considering I've never done a course on the Classics.
Instead I found this book to be lively, readable and interesting look at the social trends taking place within the Roman Republic from the days of Tiberius Gracchus to those of Octavian.
It covers subjects such as religion, political institutions, politics, the aristocracy and Roman imperialism in a few short chunks.
Mary Beard is an expert on this period, and she's a great writer to boot. Michael Crawford also lends his expertise to the title, presenting some rather complex ideas in a digestible and easy to understand manner.
Too bad they didn't include any photographs or illustrations, but I suppose they'd have to increase the price if they did so.
If you are a Classics or Ancient History student then this book is a must. Interested amateurs like myself will also find this book a useful guide to the period.
on 13 April 2010
This book I found very useful for the period concerned. In my second year of Classical studies it provided an accessible introduction to the late republic and a look ahead to the early empire.
It is a short book and the beauty of it is it's concise narrative. It is not a chronological history but a thematic history covering topics such as the Social Order, Religious interests, Political Institutions, and the Working of Politics. It also has a chapter on the provinces.
If you are looking for a comprehensive study of every single thing of the late empire this is not you're book. But as I said it is a light and clear introduction, indicating the fundamental issues and prompting where an enthusiast should search for information with an impressive and extensive Bibliography of both ancient and modern sources.
on 6 August 2011
My wife has this book, as part of a collection of set books, that she requires, for her Open University module A219 Exploring the Classical world. She has found it informative and well written, in language that even a complete novice, like herself, can understand. Unfortunately she has been told, that it only has a small amount of usable information, that is relevant to her module, but nevertheless,she said it's still a good read.