Ancient Romans

Ancient Romans

3.6 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
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An account of Roman civilization which brings into view the achievements of Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Hadrian, and St. Augustineshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 147.32 x 226.06 x 22.86mm | 476.27g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Ill.(some col.).M.
  • 0195014553
  • 9780195014556

Review Text

Another retrospective on the grandeur that was Rome. Neither original nor exhaustive, it's a competent introduction by a reputable scholar who seems to have pieced together his notes for the freshman survey course. Starr goes from the early Republic to the decline and fall pretty much sticking to the classical great-men-and-great-deeds format. Four figures - Hannibal, Caesar, Hadrian and St. Augustine - are chosen as representatives of the gemeinschaft of their centuries; Roman character is presented in uninflected stereo-type - e.g. "solid, hard-headed men. who were weak in forming abstract theories but strong in practical skills."; and the cultural achievements of the Augustan Age are characterized as fundamentally derivative from Greek models. Starr eschews controversy and admires the artistic as well as political middle-of-the-roaders. Cicero - virtuous but dull - is baldly heralded as "the most important single figure in the 100 years of Roman Culture." The adaptive flexibility of Roman political institutions is the leitmotif of the narrative and Rome's collapse is blamed on the ossification, corruption, and bureaucratization of the over-extended administration. Readable, but in view of the abundance of such text-bookish sunimaries, - e.g. Boak, Hamilton, Rostovtzeff - this is redundant. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

33 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 15% (5)
4 39% (13)
3 39% (13)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
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