Roman Empire Hardcover – 1 Jun 1984
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An admirable volume. -- A. T. Kraabel "Religious Studies Review"
This concise but illuminating history of a government that provided peace and prosperity longer than any other has no equal.
history, he reflects on issues independently and creatively, and he writes elegantly, and sometimes brilliantly.
When a modest, single volume on the Roman Empire proves informative, provocative, and exciting, the reader gladly acknowledges an exceptional author. Professor Colin Wells is expert in the various aspects of Roman history, he reflects on issues independently and creatively, and he writes elegantly, and sometimes brilliantly.--Eleanor G. Huzar "Classical Outlook "
This is historical writing with a bite usually missing in fast surveys...Novices and advanced students of Roman history alike will be stimulated by this book to think deeply on a grand scale about matters of great importance in ancient history.--Thomas R. Martin "History Book Club Review "
An admirable volume.--A. T. Kraabel "Religious Studies Review " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
This sweeping history of the Roman Empire from 44 BC to AD 235 has three purposes: to describe what was happening in the central administration of the Empire and in the entourage of the Emperor; to indicate how life went on in Italy and the provinces; and to show how these two different worlds impinged on each other. It comprises a vivid account of the most intriguing period in ancient history.
Designed for the general reader, the book strives for a balance between consideration of the centre and the periphery, and between narrative and discussion. To that end, the odd-numbered chapters provide a chronological account of Roman political life, from the age of Augustus to the Severans, from affairs of court to the machinery of the State. Intervening chapters discuss events and conditions in Italy and the provinces, while the author pays particular attention to what is known – from literary and archeological sources – about Roman art and architecture, religion and education, law and government. Professor Wells has absorbed all the scholarship of the last decade, and made alterations accordingly for this, the Second Edition, which also includes a comprehensive, updated bibliographical essay.
"Seldom has the government of the world been conducted for so long a term in an orderly sequence… In its sphere, which those who belonged to it were not far wrong in regarding as the world, it fostered the peace and prosperity of the many nations united under its sway longer and more completely than any other leading power has ever done."
Top customer reviews
An unexpected, but welcomed focus, was on aspects of the empire not related directly to the emperors or warfare. Things like agriculture, administration, romanization of foreign provinces, taxes, transportation,how messages and information is delivered, social and economical factors. A short overview of some of these aspect was expected, but such a good and deep focus on them was surprisingly good, again taking the books brevity into consideration. Don't worry, the Emperors and the wars get their due space and is presented objectively and vivid.
Wells gives much time to the different sources of this time and has dedicated a chapter to them, were he gives a good introduction to them and from what position they were writing their depictions of events and how this could lead to biased and subjective views, or why some eras are presented more detailed then others.
It contains a huge 'further reading' section and should prove more than helpful for those looking for more information on the Roman Empire.
The disappointing part of the book, is its horrendous printing. The text is OK for the most part, but the maps are completely useless. Be prepared to find your own maps, unless you're a expert on ancient geography, you'll probably have no idea where the different situations took place or have a clue from which directions the armies marched. This is always an important part of any history book, which I always use to get a clear picture of how wars played out.
In spite of the abysmal printing, this is a highly recommendable book for newcomers to the Roman Empire.
This is a really interesting, and well-written book; it's clear, as you read the book, that the author is particularly interested in the Roman army and its movements, and way of life. I'm guessing that this is the same writer who authored The German Policy of Augustus: an Examination of the Archaeological Evidence, which I used earlier this year as part of my research into Augustus' wars under Tiberius - a most interesting book.
This particular book is one of the series of the Fontana History of the Ancient World series - my second edition, published first in 1992, is a very accessible paperback version which fits in very well in the whole series from Fontana, which include other books on Rome, and on Ancient Greece.
This book is very readable and very well laid out - the chapters alternate between more or less chronological outlines of the rule of the various Emperors, and chapters on the social, cultural, economic and other historical aspects of the Empire at the requisite time in the book's timeline. This makes for a good way to consolidate knowledge as you go, and it also offers the opportunity to read alternate chapters if you want a stricly chronological, or strictly thematic read of the information. There is a comprehensive list of Further Reading, and primary references such as Suetonius, Dio and Tacitus are well-referenced. This is a very good book for any reader interested in learning more about the Roman Empire from the time of Augustus to Marcus Aurelius, and highly recommended.
The only negative I could think of was the convolution of some of the sections of the text and the rather unattractive layout of the text, making reading slightly tiring. The text could also be grouped into more sections to enable quicker browsing for particular material. However, both of these are only minor problems.
This is a great work on Roman history and I thoroughly recommend it to enthusiast and student alike.
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