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The Antonines: The Roman Empire in Transition Revised ed. Edition
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This book is divided about 50/50 between brief biographical sketches of the emperors and separate issues within the period. The biographical sketches are very nice since he tries not only to outline their reign but to see through the facts to the personality of each emperor. I've noticed earlier a definite tendency for Grant to adopt the simplistic opinions of the Roman rulers and that criticism still applies.Read more ›
Grants' book gives a detailed look at this epoch, as well as a glimpse at the art & literature of the time. The book contains helpful illustrations & photographs of Roman architecture & coinages of the time.
This book gives a detailed picture of one of the most pivotal moments in Roman history. Some would say that Roman history went downhill from the reign of Commodus onward. While I think that this is a slight exaggeration, there is nonetheless evidence that this was (until Commodus) the closest that Rome ever came to achieving their utopian "Camelot." A great work by an astute scholar.
Part One of this work by Michael Grant gives a brief presentation of the salient imperial powers of the time, Antonius Pius (138-161), Marcus Aurelius (161-180), Lucius Verus (161-169) and Commodus (180-192) in a concise manner. However, it is as it reads - a nicely presented synopsis of Roman imperial history from 138 to 192 A.D.
Part One's opening chapter provides the reader with details of Antonius Pius' actions, a diagnostic on his character to explain those actions - leaning heavily on the potential explanations for the Pius appellation - Aurelius' conservatism, Veres ineffectiveness and Commodus dramatic impact on the empire to a degree not seen since Nero. Moving swiftly onto Marcus Aurelius, Grant summarizes his reign as coping "with appalling problems with a conscientiousness that raised him to the top class of rulers." Touching on Aurelius' time spent on the Rhine frontier, his famous Meditations, conflict with Avidius Cassius, his wife Faustina and his state of health, Grant portrays Marcus Aurelius as a ruler who engendered a great deal of respect, a respect that swiftly disappears with the biography of Commodus.
After a brief note on the eternal critcism of Aurelius for having his son succeed him, (there is an insistence by the author on the idea of hereditary dynastic succession in Imperial Rome which doesn't bear much proof particularly as two pages later he states that "the senate, though conscious that the selection of the `best man' had ceased to have any reality..." thus implying there was no concept) Grant sweeps into his biography of Commodus.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Michael Grant, a classicist, presents what is arguably the best recent scholarship on the "Good Emperors" (Antoninus Pius, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius) who ruled Rome at the... Read morePublished 22 months ago by doc peterson
If you are a fan of Michael Grant's work on the Roman Empire, then this is a "must have". Written well and a page-turner for history buffs.Published on February 4, 2014 by Bruce A. Fichelson
Having read some of Michael Grant's other works I was somewhat dubious about this one. I find his biographies such as Julius Caesar and Nero to be short and superficial accounts... Read morePublished on March 16, 2012 by Arch Stanton