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History of Rome [Paperback]

Michael Grant
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1978 0965035670 978-0023456107 0
From a small Iron-Age settlement on the banks of the Tiber, Rome grew to become the centre of an empire that dominated what was then known of the western world. This book recreates the evolution of that city, describing the individuals and events that made Rome a political and cultural conqueror. The book portrays not only the cynosures of the Roman world, but also lesser known figures, reassessing their impact upon both the character of Roman society and the development of the Empire. Rome's artistic achievements, especially in literature, architecture, sculpture and painting, are scrutinized, and the economic and social conditions of life for ordinary people are examined. Finally, the changing relationships between Rome and the peoples of its provinces, and the reasons for the ultimate disintegration, or transformation, of the western empire are closely examined.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Previously published by Macmillan.

About the Author

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 division, when he also published his first book. He later returned to academia, teaching at Cambridge and Edinburgh, and serving as Vice Chancellor at the University of Khartoum and at Queen's University, Belfast. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 537 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965035670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0023456107
  • ASIN: 0023456108
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tour de Force in Roman History October 14, 2000
I think this book is brilliant. Michael Grant does not leave the reader wondering "What happened in Rome?" All the basic historical information that a beginner, or even someone more sophisticated, may want to know about Rome is here in this book. This is not as much a textbook, as a sophisticated popular history of Rome, which in my opinion is the strength, and not a weakness, of this volume. It's easy to see throughout the book where the facts are narrated and where their interpretation begins and ends. I do not agree with all of Grant's interpretations. For example, he occasionally induldges in amature psychology, i.e., attributing to the Romans a sadistic side to their national character. I do not think this has anything to do with "national character," but rather it is more likey to be, at least latently, present in the human character in general. I also disagree with his assessment of Cato the Elder and his argument that Carthage was destroyed primarily out of revenge that was fueled by Cato's personal enmity to Carthage and by the scars left by Hannibal in Rome.
Overall, the book is an easy and entertaining read, covering military, political, artistic, and religious sides of Rome. Although I have a Ph.D. in a social science, I have refreshed my knowledge about Rome in this book and learned a number of new, interesting facts. Definitely recommednded for anyone who wants to know more about Rome.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview of Roman History May 19, 2003
Before exploring the depths of Roman history it's important to grasp the sheer breadth of it. As one of the few one volume histories of Rome this book is a great starting point for the study of Roman history. Obviously, detail has to be sacrificed in an overview (which is really what this book is). But, Grant sneaks a surprising amount of details into this one. Due to the structure of the book and the reader friendly narrative style he employs it's easy to miss many details. He often mentions a battle in a single sentence (just date, location, victor). But, such a clipped pace is required when writing a history of this magnitude. Of course, I have a few qualms. Like most historians, Grant can't help but pass judgement on the Romans for their brutality. He would have been better off including a few lines describing a particular incident of brutality, instead of moralizing. Also, he falls into another common trap, near the conclusion losing the narrative thread, and focusing more on the reasons for Rome's fall. Lastly, the book includes a mix of narration and analysis. Grant's narration is some of the best writing in a history of Rome. However, his analysis stands in stark contrast. He's at his best when he weaves (social) analysis in with straight narration. Early on he does this. Later, he slips up a bit. While the majority of the book has a definite cinematic feel, the last quarter or so is rather choppy and (on occasion) dry. Despite its faults, this is by far the best book covering the whole of Roman history. Buy this book before you buy any other history of Rome. Then, use it to find the periods you'd like to explore in depth. From there, you can choose from many modern and classical sources. But, without first reading through a history of Rome from founding to fall, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the many histories out there. Grant's book is the perfect introduction to Roman history. Nothing more. Nothing less.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Survey of Ancient Rome June 13, 2003
This book is very accessible for someone with a strong interest in Roman history, but little background in the subject (like myself). Like the other reviewers, I agree that "History of Rome" is more of a primer to Ancient Rome than a detailed scholarly analysis.
But, as primers go, it is very thorough. Grant discusses the political, economical, and military aspects of Roman life relatively equally. His timeline encompasses the entire span of Roman history (a breathtaking era).
Furthermore, unlike many historians, Grant includes the cultural side of Roman life. He gives almost equal weight to Vergil, Horace and Ovid as to many political/military figures. This gives a more human aspect to ancient Rome, which, though like modern society in many ways, still seems so remote to us.
Grant's writing style can get a bit dull, but the book flows well
and is hard to put down. History may be more exciting than drama at times, but telling it is often more difficult. Grant can hardly be blamed for not keeping the reader at the edge of his seat all the time.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid reference to history of Rome in Antiquity March 19, 2007
I bought this book, out of all places, at the bookstore in Ara Pacis. I thought to myself, "heck, I am now living in Rome. I should learn some of its history."

At that time I was ignorant and unconcerned with the history of Rome, and its impact on civilisation as we know it to-day. This book changed my views of the city completely. Grant presented all events, documented and conjactured, very much in detail. Yet, he managed to present almost 1300 years of Roman history (it covered the period of roughly the formation of the Roman Kingdom 800 BC to the "fall" of the Western Roman Empire AD 476), in less than 500 pages. Not a single word was wasted, and because of that, he was able to keep my concentration. The maps were quite useful, and had just enough information without being totally cluttered and unreadible.

The only complaint I have, was that in many occasions, he assumed a basic knowledge on Roman social structure and major and minor historical events. But this did not make the book too difficult to follow. Aside from that, I enjoyed reading the book, over and over again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers a Huge Topic Thoroughly in One Volume
You're not going to learn everything about the history of Rome in one just one book but this book does a really good job of hitting the highlights. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Jokah Macpherson
5.0 out of 5 stars To read or not to read
If you're into History, this book so far is extremely discriptive. I personally hate reading but this is one that i find very interesting and don't want to put down. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Taylor wachtel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great study of Ancient Rome
As a fan of Michael Grant, I had long wanted this in hardback. Didn't disappoint. If you love history and you like Grant, go for it.
Published 5 months ago by Bruce A. Fichelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Walk Among the Ruins and Appreciate Them Even More After Reading this...
Prior to visiting Rome, I decided to read a little about it's history which is extremely rich. This book is outstanding and gives a person quite a wonderful experience as one... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gregory W. Gillespie
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be the standard introduction to Ancient Rome
"History of Rome" is likely historian Michael Grant's most well-known work and rightfully so. It is a well-written, detailed, and thorough survey of Roman history from the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars An Endlessly Fascinating Saga
The History of Rome is an endlessly fascinating saga overflowing with personalities and incidents that have intrigued and captivated millions of people over the ages. Read more
Published on February 17, 2012 by Charles T. Bauer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction to the Full Breath of Roman History
This is a very good book. It is an excellent first book for someone curious about Roman history. It offers a perceptive overview of Roman history from the 8th c. B.C. to the 6th c. Read more
Published on August 5, 2010 by Peter Ramming
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry, and it only skims the surface!
Customer Video Review
Length: 1:18 Mins
Published on May 22, 2010 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid but Unexciting History of Rome
Michael Grant's "History of Rome" is a solid but unexciting history of political Rome from the Etruscans through the fall of Rome in the fifth century. Read more
Published on November 6, 2008 by A. Courie
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly as good as the Cary-&-Scullard, and a bit shorter
Furthermore ...

-Cary and Scullard are Empire apologists, claiming that Rome stumbled into possession of an empire it never wanted, while those authors are still good... Read more
Published on April 28, 2008 by Ravanagh Allan
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