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Emperors of Rome: Imperial Rome from Julius Caesar to the Last Emperor Paperback – October 1, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'This is a useful guide to the men who were elevated to command Rome and rule the Roman Empire' Good Book Guide. Good Book Guide --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Potter is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan and the author of Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906719012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906719012
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,330,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is a shame that so few academic histories are as well written as this book. Although it is difficult to encompass all of Imperial Rome in one volume, particularly in one with the many excellent illustrations contained in this book, nonetheless David Potter succeeds as well as any author ever has. Only at the already confusing end of the empire does the book falter. However, with the beginning and middle of the empire, and delightfully with the fascinating, but relatively unknown, Aetius at the end of the empire, Potter pulls it off magnificently. It is simply, a great read about remarkable people.

While the book looks like a coffee table decoration, it reads like a novel. You get to know the characters that made, maintained and lost the greatest empire ever. You understand their motivations and their challenges: personal, institutional, and religious. After reading the book, you will surprise yourself when you encounter a situation in your own life and find you remember these circumstances, the solutions tried and found wanting by Rome, and most important what worked. It is in these explanations that Potter excels.

It was not that Rome did not know how to continue as a great empire - her leaders chose not to, and the people of Rome let them. Potter explores this in detail, with marked lessons for our own time, leaders and people.
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Format: Paperback
Though I agree with my colleague above as to his point about the readability of this book; the editing (or lack thereof) makes parts of the book downright confusing. Not only are names misspelled in places, but places and dates are wrong because of typos. At one point in the text Potter mentions that so-and-so did such-and-such in 274AD; but in the side picture comment the date is listed as 74AD. That's just bad editing.

At other times in the little side vignettes there are bas reliefs and paintings and when they mention someone to the left of so-and-so; they mean so-and-so's left not to the left from your vantage point. It's especially difficult when so many of the characters seem to have the same name or change their names that it's like watching a football game with all the players wearing only five numbers among them. The worst part is making sense of what happens after Constantine dies and is replace by his sons Constantius, Constantine and Constans. Sometimes one or the other has their son mentioned who has the same name or their grandfather's (Constantine). Can't tell the players even with a scorecard.

It becomes especially difficult at the end in the late 300 and 400's AD, when the empire has been effectively split into three empires and the children have names of their grandparents or uncles or famous cousins and they get busy marrying each others sisters. It's worse than a soap opera. (Even Susan Lucci (Erika Kane) who has been married fourteen times has nothing on these people.) In the end the Eastern Empire fell because it no longer supplied soldiers to the army but depended on mercenaries who finally said, we now own the Empire.

Zeb Kantrowitz
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a pleasure to read. It is well-written and gives a thoughtful overview of centuries of history. As a graduate student in classics, I found it a valuable way to review topics I had read about in other books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting review of the emperors of Rome. Unfortunately you can see some of the same traits in the leaders we have today.
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