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The Empire Stops Here: A Journey along the Frontiers of the Roman World Hardcover – 4 Jun 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (4 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224077880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224077880
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'I couldn't stop reading' --The Scotsman

Review

“Whether he is considering Antony and Cleopatra, Queen Zenobia starting her own great eastern Empire from Syria or the significance of Hadrian’s Wall, Philip Parker is the perfect combination of compelling narrative historian and observant travel writer. This is one of the liveliest works of ancient history I’ve ever read.”
Reader’s Digest

“This is a labour of love, clearly the work of long years…”
Telegraph Review

“The Empire Stops Here is not only a history. It is also an engaging modern travelogue with observations on how the archaeology of the Roman empire is preserved and presented in these 22 modern countries.”
Financial Times

“The patience, effort, and research that have gone into The Empire Stops Here are awe-inspiring.”
The Scotsman

"…his book is far from being a conventional travelogue… Neither a work of history, nor a scholarly gazetteer, nor a guide, but rather a blend of all three, The Empire Stops Here is a book in which weather-beaten masonry serves to crowd out human beings, and in which the people who most truly come alive are those who have been dead for 2,000-odd years. …a quite breathtaking and eccentric edifice of scholarship. Parker's true models, it turns out, are not the modern generation of travel writers at all, but rather the ancient geographers, scholars such as Strabo and Diodorus Siculus, who thought nothing of using their travels as pegs on which to hang entire histories of the world. Unlike Shelley's traveller from an antique land, Parker does not write in scorn of the colossal wreck that he has witnessed, but rather in praise of it. His travels, he confesses, prompted in him two emotions: "wonder that after close to 2,000 years so much can survive, and sadness that for all our sophistication, we are unlikely ever again to create something so enduring." At least he can console himself with the reflection that, with this extraordinary book, he has raised a monument all of his own.”
The Guardian

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Written in a captivating style, exhaustively researched and backed up with a very impressive and thorough grasp of the history of the time, this is an extraordinarily well written academic book which can also act as a travel guide.

Philip Parker has managed to fuse contextual depth and scholarly rigour to a travel book, and to make an academic tome of ancient history jump to life.

If you are interested in Roman history, this is a terrific book to further your knowledge, written by an expert on the subject, but it also serves as an unrivalled and invaluable guide to take with you and to read, perhaps piecemeal, during a trip to a ruined temple on a dusty desert plain, a hilltop fort or ancient villa, or any other Roman remain or town that one might visit in Syria, Morocco, Egypt, Spain, Britain, Eastern Europe, or any of the far flung fringes of the Roman empire.

Definitely worth getting - this might be a model for how all history books will be written in the future.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wrestled with this book, both figuratively and literally. More of this, later.

This is a review of the 2010 paperback edition. It has an introduction, eleven chapters, and a conclusion. It was bought because of a good review by Tom Holland in The Guardian. Ultimately, it is for me a disappointing book, hence the three stars.

In his introduction, Philip Parker writes, "It is here, along the vast length of its frontier that I have chosen to investigate the complex entity that was Rome. I have concentrated deliberately on the edge of the Roman world, on the lands that promised victory, booty and glory, and yet so often left the bitter taste of compromise or defeat instead." Parker goes on to ask, "How did Rome come to conquer such an enormous territory, and where and why did its expansion halt and fold in upon itself to leave a joint legacy for the citizens of more than thirty modern countries?" Parker promises, therefore, a great deal. I'm not sure that he fulfils his obligations; and if he does, it is done in such a convoluted and unhelpful manner.

But first, what portions of the Roman world does he cover, since its frontier was different from one decade to the next? Parker answers, "In general I have chosen the maximum extension of the Empire ... as long as the occupation was more than ephemeral." Thus the Scottish lowlands are included but not the transient occupation of Assyria. Parker makes the point that the area today would comprise the world's seventh largest country in terms of area, the size of an Australia or Brazil.

So having defined his structure, what about the content?
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By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can understand why this book might divide opinion a little. It could be seen as somewhat desultory in its style, as Philip Parker's tour round the boundaries of the Roman Empire flits between physical description of the locations as they were back then, some 'travelogue' style ramblings of what he sees there today and discourses on historical events during the Roman Empire (including in the East and Africa, events right up to the Arab invasions of the 7th-8th centuries and sometimes even beyond) directly or loosely related to these locations. It can be a little hard going at times, and a reader may not get a coherent narrative history of Empire from this, but that is not the purpose of this book. The reader will however via this journey round the frontiers gain a flavour of the Empire in its broad variety both in time and space, and it is to be recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting book, but I doubt if many people will read it from cover to cover. It's an academic tome.
Good and informative , but a heavy read. Good to dip into if you are visiting any of the places on the old Roman frontier.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is known as one of the best for people interested in the knowledge of the Roman Empire.
My husband and I are satisfied to own it, as we also visited several Roman cities in North Africa. We would like to recommend it to all sharing our passion for ancient history.
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