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The Might and Glory of Rome

  • Jun 5, 2013
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Roman Empire is one of the most iconic, powerful, and influential empires in history. Its immediate influence on the course of European and Mediterranean history is self evident, but it's the influence that it exerts on the politics and culture to this day that makes it remarkable, and almost unique, in the World history.

This short introduction is in a way a companion to the Roman Republic volume in this OUP series. Unlike that book, this one is decidedly less chronological in its treatment. It focuses more on certain themes that have been prevalent throughout the course of Roman Empire - the overwhelming and brutal power of the state, the rise of Christianity, the Gladiatorial games, the life in the Roman world, etc. In that regard this is not your typical history book. This approach has certain virtues, and after reading this book I am certainly appreciating certain aspects of the Roman Empire more than I did before. For instance, the sheer scale of the battle violence that the Roman troops engaged in was something entirely new to me. The number of battle deaths was not again "achieved" until the World War I. This is remarkable since, unlike WWI, the deaths in these battles were all hand-to-hand combat with "cold" weapons.

In the end, however, I feel that this "disjointed" approach to the historical narrative leaves the reader without the sense for the "big picture." Many of the trends that this book covers did not develop irrespective of each other, but were rather intertwined in myriad ways. And this is something that only a chronologically written book can fully account for.

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Bojan Tunguz ()
Ranked #50
I am a benevolent rascal. I love lounging in bed on a Sunday morning. Rainy days make me melancholy, but in a good kind of way. I am an incorrigible chocoholic. I hate Mondays, but I get over it by Wednesday. … more
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This mervellous little book...succeeds in sketching the remarkable way in which the Roman Empire spread across Europe... Barbara Finney, The Journal of Classics Teaching "...the author has succeeded admirably. This is no cop out - themes are chosen sensibly and well presented. This book does what it says on the cover... This book is intellectual, yet accessible, well written, stimulating, original, and essential for those who wish to gain a rapid overview of the subject without getting bogged down." Dr Mark Merrony, Minerva
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