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Rome: Empire of the Eagles, 753 BC - AD 476 Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1408229200 ISBN-10: 140822920X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140822920X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408229200
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,347,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Neil Faulkner's dynamic and provocative new history proves that there is a fresh, exciting new perspective to be found... the narative is compelling." - History Today May 2008

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

‘Neil Faulkner's dynamic and provocative new history proves that there is a fresh, exciting new perspective to be found…Compelling.’

History Today

 

‘A thrilling and often coruscating fusion of narrative with scholarship. The Romans have rarely before seemed quite so terrifying.’

Tom Holland, author of Rubicon: the Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic (2004)

 

‘This unashamedly partisan book is a must for anyone who wants to be challenged and outraged by our familiar image of Rome's contribution to world history.’

Guy de la Bédoyère, co-presenter of Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’

 

The Roman Empire is widely admired as a model of civilisation. In this compelling new study, Neil Faulkner argues that it was, on the contrary, a ruthless system of robbery and violence. War was used to enrich the state, the imperial ruling classes and favoured client groups. In the process millions of people were killed or enslaved.

 

Within the empire, the state and the landowning elite creamed off taxes and rents from the countryside to fund their army, their towns, and their villas. The mass of people – slaves, serfs, poor peasants – were the victims of the exploitation that made the empire possible. This system, riddled with tension and latent conflict, contained the seeds of its own eventual collapse from the outset.  

 

Neil Faulkner works as a freelance lecturer, editor, writer, excavator and occasional broadcaster. His previous books include The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain (2004); Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt against Rome, AD 66-73 (2002); and Hidden Treasure: Digging up Britain’s Past (written to accompany the BBC archaeology series in 2003).

 


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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For Faulkner, "Rome was, in its very essence, a system of robbery with violence."
P. Webster
Faulkner's Rome: Empire of the Eagles is actually a very well-written and sophisticated history of the rise and fall of Rome.
Enjolras
That being said it is still a bit of a disappointment that Faulkner did not spend more time making his case directly.
Narukami

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Achdulieber Augustin on August 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Neil Faulkner has given us a clear, lucid, and objective appraisal of Rome, sans rosy glasses or sugar coating. A masterful work, beautifully written and thoroughly compelling and convincing! Prof. Faulkner sees through pro-Roman propaganda and portrays the predatory nature of the militaristic and imperialistic force that was Rome, backed by carefully documented research, and analyzes the contributions of the Romans to Western Civilization in a new light. This book should be required reading in every course on Rome, Western Civilization, or Classical Studies at the graduate, undergraduate, and even high school level. Don't be mislead by the notion that the book presents a "socialist" perpective. This is not a work pushing any kind of ideology; it is a sober, clear, and incisive analysis of the history of Rome from a modern scholarly perspective, and additionally it reads as fluidly as a novel, a most unusual characteristic for a serious scientific tome. Reading this book will change your views of the Roman Republic as well as the Roman Empire forever. Very highly recommended!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Narukami on April 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must say this was not quite the book I expected, but then after reading the cover blurb I was not certain what to expect.

"The Roman Empire is widely admired as a model of civilization. In this compelling new study, Neil Faulkner argues that in fact it was a ruthless system of robbery and violence."

Well, for any student of the ancient Romans this statement hardly comes as a surprise, nor does Faulkner's advocacy of that position. Indeed Faulkner's views are well known but they do not invalidate his scholarship both as an archeologist and as an historian. (One critic referred to Faulkner as a "military historian" as if that were some lesser class of Historian, to be tolerated but not endorsed.) Faulkner's earlier book on the Jewish Revolt (Apocalypse - The Great Jewish Revolt Against Rome AD 66-73) is one of the best written on that seminal event in Roman and Jewish history and established, for me at least, his credibility as an historian of ancient Rome.

Although not shy about calling himself a Marxist Historian, Faulkner is also quick to point out that, "...I also found myself at odds with the `orthodox' Marxist accounts of the ancient world." Indeed while he clearly believes that the Roman Empire was "a dynamic system of military imperialism - of robbery with violence - and that its rise and fall, its conquests and defeats, its revolutions and civil wars can best be understood as manifestations of this" one also gets the distinct impression that Faulkner admires the Romans, in spite of himself. He does not say so, not in so many words, but it is rather a feeling one gets as they read this and his earlier works. This is, to be sure, a subjective judgment but no less valid for being so.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Webster on May 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
This excellent book is a must for anyone who wants to read a history of ancient Rome which takes the side of the exploited and oppressed mass of slaves and poor peasants, rather than looking at the "grandeur" of Rome from the point of view of emperors and senators. For Faulkner, "Rome was, in its very essence, a system of robbery with violence."

Faulkner shows that Rome's power was threatened by three types of conflict. Firstly, there were the conflicts within the Roman ruling class, which periodically erupted into civil war when the constant jockeying for power within the elite turned violent. Secondly, there was the anti-imperialist resistance to Rome at the boundaries of the empire. Thirdly, there was class conflict between the different social groups inside the empire. The three main classes were the slave-owning, land-owning ruling class at the top; the slaves at the bottom; and the mass of small producers (peasants, craftspeople and traders) in between. (Many of the poorest of this last group were probably not much better off than slaves.)

Faulkner also shows that Rome reached the limits of its expansion when it came up against Parthia in the East and non-fertile wilderness (which it was not cost-effective to expand into) everywhere else. The end of expansion, exemplified by the building of Hadrian's Wall, meant the end of new sources of slaves and plunder, resulting in Rome's rulers having to squeeze more out of the "middling sort", and leading in the long run to the collapse of the empire.

It is interesting to compare Faulkner with two other Marxist books on Rome: Michael Parenti's "The Assassination of Julius Caesar" and G.E.M. de Ste. Croix's scholarly masterpiece, "The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World".
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