The Triumph of Empire

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The first through fourth centuries in Rome were filled with drama and intrigue. Sixty-one different emperors (not to mention various usurpers and rival claimants who were never fully and officially acknowledged) held power, some for only a few months. The bitter rivalries and seemingly never-ending wars reshaped the Roman government in ways that had a lasting impact on both the politics and culture of the entire Western world.

This book addresses Rome’s story with adept analysis of the historical narrative, even when that narrative is sketchy or unreliable. The writing is brisk, and the story moves quickly, even though it is impossible to keep straight the warring factions and the endless parade of supporting characters (some of whom eventually become emperor). The author acknowledges this difficulty and deals with it with humor and tolerance while writing a gripping tale that drives inexorably forward over the four centuries. There is much to cover, and it is covered in great detail, but the personalities are vivified through tight anecdotes and biographies. For anyone interested in the development of the Roman empire, this is an excellent, recommended, highly readable resource.

Reviewed By:

Author Michael Kulikowski
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Harvard University Press
Publish Date 2016-Nov-28
ISBN 9780674659612 Buy this Book
Issue June 2017
Category History


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