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The Roman Republic Hardcover – 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Cumbreland, Rhode Island, U.S.A.: Harvard Univ Pr; Second Edition edition (1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674779274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674779273
  • ASIN: B002BLGPN2
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was extremely disappointed with this book. It might just be useful as a supplemental college text, in a class in which multiple primary materials are read along with additional secondary material and which has a fine professor. Otherwise, its gaps, disjointed organization, and assumptions can be quite irritating for the reader. Don't even bother if you are not acquainted with ancient history. If you are, this book is more likely to leave you frustrated than informed. The author makes an implicit assumption that the reader is familiar with Latin (I am, but he didn't know that), and organizes the material neither chronologically nor thematically but a hybrid of each in which thematic chapters alternate with chronological ones. This would work except that the themes refer partly to the chapter before and partly to the chapter following which I found cumbersome. Major events such as the Punic Wars are handled in a cursory fashion, and little to no attention is paid to the acquisition and government of the provinces. Rome is repeatedly refered to as an oligarchy without once examining what that means. Lastly, the author covers much of the omissions with flat statements about the unreliability of existing sources (e.g. Plutarch) without discussing why, or to what extent. Instead, the reader is treated to the author's unexplained theories, and much rectitude concerning their superiority over others. Avoid this book unless you have literally read eveything else on the subject and still haven't had enough.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor on October 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Michael Crawford's book is not for the novice. Those unfamiliar with the chronology of the Roman Republic will find his analysis confusing, as Crawford assumes his reader has considerable background in Republican Roman history and culture. For those with a decent hold on the events of the Republic, Crawford's keen analytical text to highly worthwhile. He examines the relationship between members of the Roman oligarchy, discusses the successful consolidation of Italy, examines the conquest of the provinces and its effect on Roman politics, and finally deals with the political destabilization that led to the rise of warlords such as Marius, Pompey, and Caesar. His book is part of an essential bibliography for any Classics major or Roman history buff.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book for a course in Roman History, and found it more confusing than useful. Crawford assumed too much foreknowledge for the text to serve as a primer, but his analyses might prove more comprehensible to the non-beginner. It would take a fine professor, indeed, to overcome the pitfalls of this text in an introductory class.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Federal Farmer on December 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
At 200 short pages I thought this would be a nice introduction to the history of the Roman Republic. An introduction it was not. I am sure it is well-written for its audience, but the author assumes his reader already possesses an extensive knowledge of the republic, which makes me wonder why you would then want to read it. It is too subtle even for the thoroughly educated literati (did I use that word correctly?). Anyway, I bought the book, so by gosh, I read it! More seriously, the title and notes on the back are terribly misleading. Somewhere the notes need to convey that the book is intended only for specialists.
A new title is in order: "Scholarly Reflections on the Roman Republic," perhaps?
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By Al on September 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
I was not overly fond of this book. I had high hopes for this work because Crawford is also a specialist in Republican coinage, and his numismatic works are first rate. Crawford gives a cursory tour of the Republic, with most of his emphasis on the Gracchi tribunates, which he refers to in many of the earlier chapters, before reaching the period in question. In early chapters, he refers to later events without more detail on the chronology, and in later chapters he jumps from transformative event to event with no real analysis or consistency. He also only lightly covers how the government was structured, which significantly impacted the development of empire. That was my biggest frustration; I’m familiar with the chronology, but the book is structured very loosely on chronology and not very well structured thematically, either. This left significant gaps in what is supposed to be a history of the Roman Republic. I was surprised that little space was spent on the Punic Wars, which were defining events for Rome, especially the Second Punic War. Crawford also bemoans the lack of sources, or their reliability, throughout the book. The book’s strength lies in Crawford’s description of the relations between the Roman oligarchy and the lower classes, but even this was not fully developed, and was a one-sided examination, at best. The book is too analytical for a general reader and not well organized or detailed enough for the historian/classicist.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Kimball on April 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A socialist wades into the Roman Republic with predictable results. The book is anachronistic, moralistic, and tendentious. I found it very disappointing.
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