At its peak Rome's empire stretched across Europe, Africa, and
the Middle East, yet it started as a primitive encampment above a
riverside marsh. This book spans the great chronological and
geographical sweep of the Roman age and brings the reader face to
face with those who helped create the empire, from consuls and
commanders to ordinary soldiers, voters, and taxpayers.
An extraordinary range of viewpoints is explored in these
biographies. A centurion and a plasterer's wife share pages with
the orator Cicero and the scholar Pliny the Elder, while a vestal
virgin shares a chapter with Antinous, the boy-lover of Hadrian.
Augustine, the church patriarch, and Constantine, Rome's first
"Christian" emperor, rub shoulders with Julian the Apostate and
Vettius Agorius Praetextatus, leader of the pagans.
Roman women were the most liberated in the ancient world. They
could wield massive power and influence, yet are often overlooked.
Meet Servilia, Caesar's lover; Sulpicia, the teenage poet;
Amazonia, the sword-swinging gladiator; and Cloelia, the girl who
escaped captivity by swimming the Tiber.
Lavishly illustrated with magnificent works of art, including
portraits, sculptures, and Renaissance paintings of Roman scenes,
this book reveals the real-life stories behind the rise and fall of
Philip Matyszak teaches Roman History for the Institute of
Continuing Education at Cambridge. He has written extensively on
the ancient world. Joanne Berry teaches ancient history at Swansea
University and is the author of The Complete Pompeii.