Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
9
4.6 out of 5 stars


on 18 March 2015
Both very readable and useful overview of the rise and fall of the Republic. I found it helped me comprehend the events of the Punic wars and the various civil wars in the light of the profound social changes within Roman society.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 December 2015
Very informative and interesting book, gives all the essential information and basic understanding of Ancient Rome without becoming stagnant or overwhelming, with good illustrations.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 13 August 2016
Fine!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 8 January 2016
Great little book, a good foundation for someone who wants to build a good foundation of who, where, why, when, and what. I need to learn more now, and the great little bibliography is a worth the fiver alone. Good little series this, I may buy some more.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 March 2014
Having eventually finished Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, the next significant period of history I wanted to look at was that of the rise of Rome. Some of this was covered in Virgil’s Aeneid, though I confess that I had a relative ignorance of anything to do with the Roman Republic. Or at least I thought I did.

As it turns out, much of what I thought related to the time of the Roman Empire was actually from the earlier period of the Republic. Gwynn starts off by asking where Rome’s origins lie. I would imagine anyone reading this review is educated enough to be familiar with the myth of Romulus and Remus. Yet where did they come from? Was there any settlement at Rome prior to the founding of the city? Gwynn puts forward a hypothesis that those who became known as Romans were originally Etruscans, from further north. Though he acknowledges that it’s a little more complicated than that, but there is not enough room in this small volume to discuss the issue thoroughly.

In trying to look at the history of early Rome it is not as simple as one might hope to distinguish between historiography and mythology. Gwynn attempts briefly to sketch out the formation of the Republic from the early wars of Rome, though he admits he draws from a paucity of primary sources. From here, he goes on to paint a portrait of “everyday life” is such a generality can be reasonably made. Particular attention is paid the qualities of dignitas and gloria and their importance in the Roman worldview. This was a most illuminating section, as it gives a key context which so much of the rest of the history is set in.

In examining the rise and characteristics of the Republic, Gwynn also points the reader to the seeds of the Republic’s demise and its ultimate transformation into the Roman Empire. This includes the warlike mentality that was driven by the gloria concept, with a whole chapter on the wars with Carthage.

As far as meeting the brief of ‘a very short introduction’, Gwynn has done an excellent job. There are many more aspects that could be explored and unpacked, but the book certainly left this reader with a better understanding of an overview of one of the most influential periods in European history.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 November 2012
There has been a increasingly prevalent habit in history writing in recent years to over-analyse and under-inform, and this book, as with most of the Very Short Introduction series (despite their compact format), manages to refreshingly buck this trend. Interspersing an eloquently expressed outline of over 700 years of history with chapters of thematic analysis when relevant, Gwynn provides a concise and surprisingly detailed insight into the Roman republic that belies its length. An excellent addition to the series, that at least for me prompted further reading.
11 Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 13 June 2013
Much better than some of the others in this series: a narrative history (broadly) with themes and social context interspersed. Writing style is just right, too - no long waffling sentences as you get with Paul Cartledge, and not too colloquial either (though it is perhaps conversational at times.) Would recommend, even if you think you have an 'outline' of the period, as his focus on the competition between patrician families was 'new' for me at least!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 6 November 2014
a
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 26 January 2017
This is an exceptionally good guide to the foundation and development of the Roman Republic.

It does a very good job of sorting facts from myths. It also recognises that history is written by the winners and therefore takes much of the material written at the time, or shortly after, with a "pinch of salt".
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)