History Of Rome by Michael GrantHistory Of Rome by Michael Grant

History Of Rome

byMichael Grant

Paperback | January 2, 1979

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From a small Iron Age settlement on the banks of the Tiber, Rome grew to become the centre of an Empire that dominated the Western world. Powerful in war, Rome was magnificent in peace, so that even today her poets, artists, philosophers and historians exert their influence over Western thought and civilisation.

Michael Grant, the renowned classical historian, recreates the evolution of this astonishing city and community. He describes the individuals and events that made Rome a political and cultural conqueror, and defines the dramatic circumstances of her eventual decline and fall.

Michael Grant (1914-2004) was a historian whose over forty publications on ancient Rome and Greece popularised the classical and early Christian world. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, served in intelligence and as a diplomat during the Second World War, and afterwards became deputy director of the British Council's European d...
Title:History Of RomeFormat:PaperbackPublished:January 2, 1979Publisher:Faber & Faber Agency

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:057111461X

ISBN - 13:9780571114610

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb Piece of Work; Great Single Reference on All Things Roman This is an excellent piece of work, the most all-encompassing single volume on ancient Rome that I’ve run across. Grant is particularly good in the earliest eras of the Roman world. It is very apparent that the greatest strengths of the polity were there almost from the start—the rule of law, the voracious absorption of territory and the clemency with which its conquered peoples received in the interest of expanding the Roman population, as well as the patron/client structure of social relations. Rome’s leaders were incredibly wise and forward thinking, all things considered. The rock-solid sociopolitical structure lasted in incredibly stable form, although constantly evolving and morphing to meet new challenges, from inception to the Augustan period of the first century AD, whereafter it started to fall apart slowly and inexorably. Grant’s description of the Italian peninsula starting from a collection of primitive Iron Age settlements to Roman hegemony is compelling—too bad we lack the detailed names and biographies that were to only emerge from the earliest surviving historical texts around the 3rd century BC. So much is lost. Appius Claudius (politician, lawmaker and builder) and Camillus (heroic general) are a couple of the first giant figures to emerge from the historical blankness. The one thing that Grant makes so striking about ancient Rome is its absolutely ruthless efficiency and iron will, nowhere better exemplified in the total destruction of its main foes around 200 BC, Carthage and Corinth. Both were world powers in their own right, but stood no chance against the Roman machine. I don’t subscribe to the popular notion, which Grant does, that the Romans were more cruel, imperialistic or even evil than any of the other major players of their time—I believe they were just so much better at imposing their will. They were unparalleled at any time before or since to the current day. The book takes a different tack after the reign of Augustus, becoming very a high level summary rather than a detailed discussion. For example, the reigns of Claudius and Caligula are dealt with in a couple of sentences rather than entire chapters, which is unfortunate. The discourse stays at this high level essentially for the remainder of the book. Grant does an excellent job of periodically highlighting different facets of Roman life outside the military and political, such as its great poetry, sculpture and portraiture art, and authors and legal philosophers. His synopses of the leading players are excellent and edifying. One difficulty with a book such as this that tries to cover a period of over a millennium, at times it becomes a bit overwhelming in the breadth of people, events and places that stream through in high volumes. But overall, this is a superb book and exceedingly well-done and readable. It is in my mind the best single reference to ancient Rome that I have come across and a truly worthy read. He ends the book with a summary of the key reasons for the ultimate fall of the Western Roman empire in 476. It is a pretty exhaustive and insightful list, though nothing too earth shattering, unanticipated or shocking. In the back, the book also has a very intriguing catalog of the ancient sources which really clarifies exactly what material all modern historians have to base their works and conjecture on. All in all, a very worthy and entertaining read. Cheers.
Date published: 2009-05-08