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Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome (The Chronicles Series) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: The Chronicles Series
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (October 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500050775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500050774
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From Augustus to Romulus Augustulus, this colorful album astutely surveys 500 years of contesting and holding the imperial purple. Scarre directs the story along two main routes: the surviving annals of classical historians like Tacitus, Suetonius, or Eusebius, and photographic features of the outstanding buildings put up by the emperors, such as Vespasian's Colosseum. The result is a text winding around many interesting sidebars, maps, and busts of emperors, rendering an effect attractive both to those who know the Roman saga by heart and to those whose ideas of it came from the I, Claudius TV series. The temptation to classify the rulers as good or bad, to which the TV show succumbed, is one Scarre successfully resists by pointing out the senatorial or Christian biases of the contemporary historians. In any event, the job of First Citizen, whether capably or incompetently discharged, came with a high mortality rate, which Scarre delineates, as numerous ignominious endings mark civil wars and dynastic successions. With its accent on visuals and well-paced prose, this tome is well tuned to public library needs. Gilbert Taylor

Review

Use this as a companion for history classes: the reign-by-reign record the rulers of Rome creates a detailed account of the rise and fall of emperors, providing both a historical timeline and biographical portraits of each. A coin portrait accompanies each outline of major events and emperor influences. -- Midwest Book Review

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I consider this to be an essential book to anyone interested in the history of the Roman Empire.
Joe Owen
This is a book that is well worth having, not only for its reference capabilities but also it is a good read in its own right.
J. Chippindale
The pictures, maps, and graphs throughout the book are incredible and complement the text very well.
ewomack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jaundiced Eye on November 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Chris Scarre's Chronicle is a very good overview of the Roman emperors, and helps to place their often confused regnal periods into a proper perspective.
What I found most useful about the book was its chronological grouping of emperors (no more having to look in four different places for four "emperors" who reigned simultaneously -- until one defeated the other or they all fell).
A second useful feature is its thumbnail summary of each "emperor's" birth, death, and regnal periods, his family, and his titles. The titles are often a good guide to the character of the emperors, with stay-at-Rome sybarites with titles such as "Gothicus" and "Germanicus" revealed as vainglorious, while warrior emperors with the same titles are revealed as true veterans prepared to fight for the imperial purple. One helpful feature is an explanation of the significance of the titles. The actual word designating an emperor, for instance, was NOT "Imperator," which was a military honor which could be won by any very succesful general, but "Augustus," with "Caesar" gradually acquiring the meaning of "heir apparent," with many a war fought over who should have which title. (As an interesting historical aside, you may want to note that while "Augustus" eventually became a personal name, "Caesar" became an imperial title in later kingdoms: both "Tsar" and "Kaisar" are actually derived from the name of the last dictator of the Republic, Gaius Julius Caesar, adoptive father of Octavian, who became the first "Augustus" and is usually designated by that title as if it were his proper name.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I got this book at the library and I was very pleased with its contents. Though I am only in 8th grade, this subject very much interests me but so far I haven't been able to find a book that suits what I want to know. Until now, I am very pleased with this book. It was very well put together and easy to read for even someone of my age. Mr. Scarre did a very good job with this and I hope every one will have the chance to read this.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the best, single history of the Roman emperors that I have come across. It used to seem to me that they were disembodied names, unrelated to events and time. This work puts the emperors in the context of their times and shows how they succeeded one another and how the social fabric of the empire evolved and disintegrated. The portrait busts add a level of humanity to what would otherwise be a dry and dusty name list. But for the grace of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, there go we.....
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Treu on August 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The publishers, Thames and Hudson, have produced a fine example of the bookmaker's art. A clean, crisp reference work loaded with names, dates, places, and 328 illustrations including color-coded maps, depicting imperial Rome and its emperors.
Each of the 80 emperors who ruled Rome, from Augustus (31 BC-96 AD) to the abdication of 16-year-old Romulus Augustulus, in 476 AD, is described and depicted.
Each section begins with a medalian containing a drawing of the subject emperor based upon his surviving coin portraits. In addition, there are many photograhps of statues and busts, to give the reader a good look at the men who ruled Rome. Women who supported and in some cases ruled them, are also included.
There is a ton of information in this book.
The pleasurable tactile sensations associated with holding and maniplulating a finely wrought tome are an integral part of reading a book -- as opposed to reading a computer screen or skywriting, which are devoid of tactile pleasures -- and this book rests comfortably in the hands.
Sturdy, navy blue cloth cover-boards, with a gold publisher's logo on the front cover, and gold lettering on the spine, all wrapped up in an attractive dust jacket, make this book a treat to the eyes, as well as to the touch. And, as befits a reference book intended for much using and perusing, the pages are made of thich, smooth, sturdy, stock.
All in all, an afternoon spent in the company of this book could surely be a positive experience for anyone; in fact, lessons could be learned if one isn't careful.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book demonstrates that being a Roman Emporer was not necessarily something to envy. Once proclaimed, the emporer had to delicately balance happiness between the public at large, the senate, and - most importantly - the praetorian guard (basically the emporer's bodyguards). There are many examples in this book of emporers upsetting one of these groups too much and ending up with their heads on pikes. It seems to have been a shaky, difficult office to maintain. Very few emporers ended their days in peace, and many were brutally murdered (I cringed more than once while reading this book). One big lesson that too many emporers learned the hard way: do not mess with the praetorian guard.
This book begins with a brief summary of the city of Rome: how it grew from a monarchy to a Republic and how Octavian secured absolute power from the Senate and became Augustus, marking the beginning of Imperial Rome, which was to be the Western empire's final phase. The book has three sections: The First Emporers (from Augustus to Domitian); The High Point of Empire (Nerva to Alexander Severus); Crisis and Renewal (Maximinus Thrax to Constantine & Licinius); The Last Emporers (Constantine II to Romulus Augustulus). The book also has a continous timeline that runs through sections of the book for an at-a-glance history.
It's important to note that this is not a history of the Roman Empire; it's a history of the Roman Emporers. Events not directly (or somewhat) tied to an emporer are not covered. You won't learn about the daily life of a Roman, for example. Still, through the lineage of emporers a history of the empire in general can be extracted.
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