The Antonines: Roman Empire in Transition

The Antonines: Roman Empire in Transition

Hardback

By (author) Michael Grant

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Paperback $40.49
  • Publisher: ROUTLEDGE
  • Format: Hardback | 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 234mm x 22mm | 699g
  • Publication date: 1 December 1994
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415107547
  • ISBN 13: 9780415107549
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: illustrations, chronological table, abbreviations, notes, bibliography

Product description

The Antonines - Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and Commodus - played a crucial part in the development of the Roman empire, controlling its huge machine for half a century of its most testing period. Edward Gibbon observed that the epoch of the Antonines, the 2nd century A.D., was the happiest period the world had ever known. In this lucid, authoritative survey, Michael Grant re-examines Gibbon's statement, and gives his own magisterial account of how the lives of the emperors and the art, literature, architecture and overall social condition under the Antonines represented an 'age of transition'. The Antonines is essential reading for anyone who is interested in ancient history, as well as for all students and teachers of the subject.

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Review quote

"Michael Grant is one of a few historians who keeps the flame of ancient history alive. Grant's books on the Greek and Romans are partly narrative, yet strong with insight, written in a style that has a grandeur to it worthy of the important events described. In this fine new book, he concentrates on the later Roman emperors known as the Antonines, who reigned in the 2nd century after Christ--and he eloquently fixes what was important in the period."-"Newark Star-Ledger "The prolific Grant, from whom last issued "Constantine the Great, here summarizes the careers of three mid-second century emperors and the surviving works of a dozen contemporary writers. Coming after the active reigns of Trajan and Hadrian, who brought the Roman Empire to its greatest territorial extent and left walls and columns testifying to the apogee of expansion, the Antonines--Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus--projected a policy of stability."-"Booklist "The distinguished, prolific, classical historian ("Constantine the Great, p.681, etc.) here critically examines the reigns of the Roman Empire's three Antonine emporers (A.D. 138-192)...With characteristic lucidity, Grant shows that Rome during its vaunted "golden age" contained seeds of its future collapse and of the Europe to come."-"Kirkus Reviews "This book will be of greatest value for advanced undergraduates who need a trustworthy guide to a complex range of information. Grant provides a highly selective chronological table of important events, five pages of useful maps, and a separate discussion of several historical sources of the late second and third centuries whose work sheds light on the Antonine Age. Abibliography of more than five pages lists important modern sources in four languages."-"The Historian "This book will be of greatest value for advanced undergraduates who need a trustworthy guide to a complex range of information. Grant provides a highly selective chronological table of important events, five pages of useful maps, and a separate discussion of several historical sources of the late second and third centuries whose work sheds light on the Antonine Age. A bibliography of more than five pages lists important modern sources in four languages."-"The Historian

Editorial reviews

The distinguished, prolific classical historian (Constantine the Great, p. 681, etc.) here critically examines the reigns of the Roman Empire's three Antonine emperors (A.D. 138-192). Eighteenth-century historian Edward Gibbon considered the reigns of Antoninus Plus (A.D. 138-161) and Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180) the period "during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous." Grant looks carefully at this traditional view of the Antonine Pax Romana and points out that during Antoninus Pius's long rule there were disturbances in Greece, Britain, Dacia, Judaea, and Africa; he also criticizes Pius's administration as static, backward-looking, and uncreative, though competent enough. At his death, in a decision that presaged the disastrous power-sharing arrangements of the later empire, Antoninus Plus bequeathed a shared authority to Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (who died a natural death in A.D. 169). Aurelius, author of the Stoic classic Meditations, ruled successfully during a turbulent period; he had to stave off challenges to Roman role in Britain and Gaul, fight wars against the Parthians and on the Danube frontier, and govern an empire riven by a grave pestilence. Weakened by "incessant winter campaigning," he died on the Danube frontier in A.D. 180, leaving the empire in the hands of his son, the cruel megalomaniac Commodus (A.D. 180-192), whose reign is noteworthy mainly for its absolutism and arbitrary violence. Grant reviews Antonine art, architecture, literature, and rhetoric, arguing that thematically (the rejection even by pagan writers of classical paganism) and in style and form (the works of Apuleius presage the modern novel) Antonine culture marks a transition from the ancient to the early medieval world. With characteristic lucidity, Grant shows that Rome during its vaunted "golden age" contained seeds of its future collapse and of the Europe to come. (Kirkus Reviews)

Table of contents

Introduction Part I: The Emperors 1. Antoninus Pius 2. Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus 3. Marcus Aurelius 4. Marcus Aurelius and Commodus 5. Commodus Part II: The Roman World 6. Antonine Speaking and Writing 7. Antonine Architecture and Visual Art 8. The Antonine Age Chronological Table References Abbreviations Notes Some Books about the Antonine Period