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Aurelian and the Third Century (Roman Imperial Biographies) Hardcover – April 19, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0415072489 ISBN-10: 0415072484

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Product Details

  • Series: Roman Imperial Biographies
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (April 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415072484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415072489
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,292,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

It is good to have an up-to-date biography of aurelian in English, and this is a good one.
–Classical World

....the author has woven numismatic and epigraphic evidence with the more traditional literary sources to construct a fuller picture of the emperor and his world..
Ancient History Journal

This work opens with the best summary analysis of the third-century 'crisis' that this reviewer has ever come across. For this introduction alone, Watson's book is worth reading..
Ancient History Journal

A full-length monograph on Aurelian is long overdue, and Watson's will prove very useful for undergraduate and graduate level course, because it is at once very readable and well grounded in primary and secondary research..
Ancient History Journal

This is a splendid book, lucid, well-written, judicious in its interpretations, comprehensive in its use of the appallingly inadequate sources...I have not read a better, more judicious, concise account of the third-century crisis, nor a more lucid narrative of the divided empire from 248 onwards..

About the Author

Alaric Watson has a PhD from King's College London in Roman history and has taught Roman history at the University of North London and Queen Mary and Westfield College. He is now a Barrister in Lincoln's Inn.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I know that any evidence about this century is going to be thin but this is a comment that seems very tenuous even so.
Arch Stanton
Read "a phantom that derived from..." One of my pet peeves in contemporary writing and speech is the erroneous use of "agenda."
GEBIII
Overall, this is a well written book about Aurelian and his time, recommended to everybody who is interested in this time.
Marcel Dupasquier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book! I was recently in London and discovered this book in a Picadilly area bookstore. I read it when I could, finally finishing it on my flight home. The author dives into the time period and does an excellent breaking down and putting events back into order, backing everything with evidence. Aurelian the Emperor has always been a fascination of mine since childhood (along with Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Julian the Apostate, even Valentinian III; along with every detail of the Roman Empire!), and I am now 48. And to-date this is the best book of literature/ biography of what is known about that fascinating emperor, Aurelian. And one of the best about explaining the backdrop of "Political" Roma during the mid -3rd century. A must read!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Arch Stanton on March 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book contains everything that is known about Aurelian. It isn't all that much. Aurelian's reign is only documented in brief summaries of the entire empire or an inaccurate Life. Archaeology adds some information about the times he lived in, but apart from numismatics and the occasional inscription it isn't particularly helpful in dating any of his actions or campaigns. For this reason this book has a great deal of background information and textural analysis. This should not discourage anyone interested from reading it, but it does mean that the book isn't a biography in the traditional sense. For a rather less accurate but slightly more readable account of his reign see Restorer of the World.

This book begins on rather a sour note. I dislike the modern tendency to downplay the term 'crisis' in the third century. Yes many of the changes had shown up under the Antonines or sooner, and yes many of these tendencies represent the direction in which the Roman state had been going for years, but that does not lessen the significance of the changes nor does it mean that the 'crisis' had no effect on them. Certainly the crisis accelerated the policies already present at a dramatic rate. A lot of these complaints strike me as being part of the nit-picking which historians like to perform to show that they know better than their peers/predecessors. There are a significant number of scholars who argue that feudalism, for example, never existed because there was always a significant amount of cash payments and exemptions from service in kind. This is like arguing that democracy doesn't exist because there are people who don't vote.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Want to know everything really anyone could know or would need to on this 3rd century emperor? Well this is your book in that case. Everything that Aurelian achieved is in here
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By Sean Reid on November 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not for the average reader looking to learn a little about history. This book is very in depth, even though little is really known about Aurelian and his reign. The research and time it took to publish this book really shows. I have enjoyed reading through and discovering new information not only on Aurelian but on the Roman world at this time.
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