Rome: An Empires Story

Rome: An Empires Story

Hardback

By (author) Greg Woolf

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Format: Hardback | 366 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 30mm | 771g
  • Publication date: 10 July 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 019977529X
  • ISBN 13: 9780199775293
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps, figures
  • Sales rank: 456,084

Product description

The very idea of empire was created in ancient Rome and even today traces of its monuments, literature, and institutions can be found across Europe, the Near East, and North Africa--and sometimes even further afield. In Rome, historian Greg Woolf expertly recounts how this mammoth empire was created, how it was sustained in crisis, and how it shaped the world of its rulers and subjects--a story spanning a millennium and a half of history. The personalities and events of Roman history have become part of the West's cultural lexicon, and Woolf provides brilliant retellings of each of these, from the war with Carthage to Octavian's victory over Cleopatra, from the height of territorial expansion under the emperors Trajan and Hadrian to the founding of Constantinople and the barbarian invasions which resulted in Rome's ultimate collapse. Throughout, Woolf carefully considers the conditions that made Rome's success possible and so durable, covering topics as diverse as ecology, slavery, and religion. Woolf also compares Rome to other ancient empires and to its many later imitators, bringing into vivid relief the Empire's most distinctive and enduring features. As Woolf demonstrates, nobody ever planned to create a state that would last more than a millennium and a half, yet Rome was able, in the end, to survive barbarian migrations, economic collapse and even the conflicts between a series of world religions that had grown up within its borders, in the process generating an image and a myth of empire that is apparently indestructible. Based on new research and compellingly told, this sweeping account promises to eclipse all previously published histories of the empire.

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Author information

Greg Woolf is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of Et Tu, Brute?: A Short History of Political Murder and editor of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Roman World.

Review quote

"In this passionately told exploration of the history of Rome, Woolf peers closely at what enabled Rome to resist defeats and capitalize on victories, and how it evolved to face new needs and new threats. With dazzling detail, Woolf retells the long story from Rome's birth in 753 B.C.E. to the republic, the empire, and the empire's fall"--Publishers Weekly "Excellent...Understanding the history of Rome is not a simple task...for those already with such an interest, Woolf's book will be a joy to read. For those not yet intrigued by Rome, it may well set them on that path."--Adrian Goldsworthy, The National Interest "Exceptionally interesting and provocative reading."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post "Could [this] be the best single-volume introduction to the history of ancient Rome? It is conceptual yet avoids the pitfalls of overgeneralizing, a difficult balance to strike. It also has a superb (useful rather than exhaustive) bibliography. A good measure of books such as this is whether they induce you to read or order other books on the same topic and this one did. A sure thing to make my 'Best Books of 2012' list."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution "This is a marvellous book. Woolf provides a sweeping history of Rome's rise and fall, and asks the big questions of why and how this happened. Better yet, he offers no simple or simplistic answers, but instead well considered discussion of the evidence and how we try to understand it."--Adrian Goldsworthy, author of How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower and Caesar: Life of a Colossus "Explanations for how Rome came to bestride the Mediterranean world puzzled ancient no less than modern historians, and Woolf's attention to enduring preoccupations, as with the fall of the republic and its succession by the emperors, endows his treatment with debate-like liveliness...a fine foundation for further learning about the Roman Empire."--Booklist "How a single-volume history of Rom