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The Romans and their World: A Short Introduction Hardcover – January 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300117957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300117950
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[A] lucid new survey of Roman history.”—Adam Kirsch, New Yorker (Adam Kirsch The New Yorker)

Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2012
(Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2013-05-22)

"[Campbell] masterfully discusses military affairs (as expected from this scholar) . . . Excellent translations of ancient sources enliven the text. . . . rare will be the scholar who also does not learn from Campbell."—P.B. Harvey Jr., Choice
(P.B. Harvey Jr. Choice)

About the Author

Brian Campbell is professor of Roman history, Queen's University, Belfast. He lives in Belfast, UK.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gderf on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book never mentions Gibbon but seems to me an excellent modern substitute. It's very readable yet informative and complete, though each episode is short, whetting the reader's appetite for more.

As expected from this military historian, development of Roman military power is emphasized, but social developments are not neglected. The book covers history, sociology, law, art, literature, oratory, and poetry as well as religion, politics and economics. It's especially good at depicting the nebulous boundaries between Greek and Roman history and culture.

Campbell covers a complete succession between original kingdom, republic and empire. The book is divided into periods of original development, obtaining Italian hegemony, world conquest and decline and fall. It ends around 476 with the fall of the Western empire. It's generally very fast paced, though it devotes perhaps a chapter to each important transition period. For such a short history, it gives remarkable detail on important rulers such as Augustus, Diocletian and Constantine and their eras. Other rulers are given their due in shorter episodes.

There are many very interesting observations to contemplate. There was no coherent plan for conquest. Religion was used to control politics. The Senate served to represent the upper and equite classes, often against the interests of the general population. Optimates and Populares were class distinctions as there were no political parties. Apparently the harmful effects of party politics was recognized by the Romans and since forgotten. Reminiscent of the present time, he says that the reform of Pertinax was too quick and too austere.
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