Book picks similar to
Theodosius: The Empire at Bay by Stephen Williams
The Roman Emperor Aurelian : Restorer of the World
John F. White - 2006
This is the first non-specialist book to be devoted to this extraordinary, yet little known, Roman emperor folowing his carrer from obscurity to saviour of the Empire. The author's original research uses the most up to date interpretations of ancient literature and inscriptions to examine Aurelian's methods and achievements .Details of the little described 3rd Century Roman army are also included and the book is illustrated with many photographs.
69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors
Gwyn Morgan - 2005
It was a time of assassinations and civil war, of armies so out of control that they had no qualms about occupying the city of Rome, and of ambitious men who ruthlessly seized power only to have it wrenched from their grasps. In 69 AD, Gwyn Morgan offers a fresh look at this period, based on two considerations to which insufficient attention has been paid in the past. First, that we need to unravel rather than cherry-pick between the conflicting accounts of Tacitus, Plutarch and Suetonius, our three main sources of information. And second, that the role of the armies, as distinct from that of their commanders, has too often been exaggerated. The result is a remarkably accurate and insightful narrative history, filled with colorful portraits of the leading participants and new insights into the nature of the Roman military. A strikingly vivid account of ancient Rome, 69 AD is an original and compelling account of one of the best known but perhaps least understood periods in all Roman history. It will engage and enlighten all readers with a love for the tumultuous soap opera that was Roman political life.
The Later Roman Empire
Averil Cameron - 1993
Averil Cameron, an authority on later Roman and early Byzantine history and culture, captures the vigor and variety of the fourth century, doing full justice to the enormous explosion of recent scholarship.After a hundred years of political turmoil, civil war, and invasion, the Roman Empire that Diocletian inherited in AD 284 desperately needed the radical restructuring he gave its government and defenses. His successor, Constantine, continued the revolution by adopting--for himself and the Empire--a vibrant new religion: Christianity. The fourth century is an era of wide cultural diversity, represented by figures as different as Julian the Apostate and St. Augustine. Cameron provides a vivid narrative of its events and explores central questions about the economy, social structure, urban life, and cultural multiplicity of the extended empire. Examining the transformation of the Roman world into a Christian culture, she takes note of the competition between Christianity and Neoplatonism. And she paints a lively picture of the new imperial city of Constantinople. By combining literary, artistic, and archaeological evidence. Cameron has produced an exciting record of social change. The Later Roman Empire is a compelling guide for anyone interested in the cultural development of late antiquity.
Marcus Aurelius: A Biography
Anthony R. Birley - 1966
Even his face became more than usually familiar: the imperial coinage displayed his portrait for over 40 years, from the clean-shaven young heir of Antonius to the war-weary, heavily bearded ruler who died at his post in his late fifties.His correspondence with his tutor Fronto, and even more the private notebook he kept for his last ten years, the Meditations, provides a unique series of vivid and revealing glimpses into the character and peoccupations of this emporer who spent many years in terrible wars against northern tribes.In this accessible and scholarly study, Professor Birley paints a portrait of an emporer who was human and just - an embodiment of the pagan virtues of Rome.
Sulla: The Last Republican
Arthur Keaveney - 1982
Completely rewritten and updated to include the further discoveries of the last two decades, it challenges traditional views of Sulla as a tyrant and harsh military dictator and instead delivers a compellingly complex portrait of a man obsessed with the belief that he was blessed with divine favour.Written by a leading authority on the classical world, this lively and entertaining book transports us through Sulla's rise from poverty and obscurity to his dictatorship of Rome, highlighting his dedication and achievements in better ordering the Republic before his decline a generation later.
Frank McLynn - 2009
We may thrill to the exploits of Alexander the Great, Hannibal or Caesar, and historical novelists may beguile us with their imaginative reconstructions of this life or that, but the only voice from the Greco-Roman world that still seems to have contemporary relevance is that of the man who ruled the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 A.D. His book of reflections, Meditations, continues to sell in large numbers in numerous editions. Though a persecutor of Christians, Marcus holds out the prospect of spirituality for atheists, happiness without God, joy without heaven and morality without religion. He truly was a man for all seasons, and those seasons include the twenty-first century.His reign foreshadowed the eventual decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and his life itself represents the fulfillment of Plato’s famous dictum that mankind will prosper only when philosophers are rulers and rulers philosophers. Marcus Aurelius by acclaimed historian Frank McLynn, promises to be the definitive biography of this monumental historical figure — now known very widely through the Oscar-winning film Gladiator.
The Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History
James J. O'Donnell - 2008
O’Donnell is a “vigorous” (Kirkus Reviews) and “richly layered” (Publishers Weekly) history of Rome’s fall. Renowned historian and author of Augustine, O’Donnell revisits this ancient tale in a fresh way, bringing home its sometimes painful relevance to today’s political issues.
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Jeff Champion - 2009
Indeed, Hannibal referred to Pyrrhus as his teacher, although the two never met, since he learnt so much of the art of war from his writings. Pyrrhus was born into the royal house of Epirus, northwest Greece, and was a second-cousin of Alexander the Great. His mother was forced to flee into exile to protect his life when he was a mere infant, yet he prospered in troubled times and went from a refugee to become king. Always an adventurer with an eye for the main chance, he was deeply involved in the cut-and-thrust campaigning, coups and subterfuges of the Successor kingdoms. At various times he was king of Epirus (twice), Macedon (twice) and Sicily, as well as overlord of much of southern Italy. In 281 BC he was invited by the southern Italian states to defend them against the aggressive expansion of the burgeoning Roman republic. His early victories over the Roman armies at Heraclea and Asculum (assisted by his use of elephants) were won at such a high price in casualties that they gave us the expression 'Pyrrhic victory'. These battles were the first clashes between the hitherto-dominant Hellenistic way of warfare (as developed by Alexander) and the Roman legions, and so full of tactical interest. He failed in Italy and Sicily but when on to further military adventures in Greece, eventually being killed in action while storming the city of Argos.
Philip Freeman - 2008
He shaped Rome for generations, and his name became a synonym for "emperor" -- not only in Rome but as far away as Germany and Russia. He is best known as the general who defeated the Gauls and doubled the size of Rome's territories. But, as Philip Freeman describes in this fascinating new biography, Caesar was also a brilliant orator, an accomplished writer, a skilled politician, and much more.Julius Caesar was a complex man, both hero and villain. He possessed great courage, ambition, honor, and vanity. Born into a noble family that had long been in decline, he advanced his career cunningly, beginning as a priest and eventually becoming Rome's leading general. He made alliances with his rivals and then discarded them when it suited him. He was a spokesman for the ordinary people of Rome, who rallied around him time and again, but he profited enormously from his conquests and lived opulently. Eventually he was murdered in one of the most famous assassinations in history.Caesar's contemporaries included some of Rome's most famous figures, from the generals Marius, Sulla, and Pompey to the orator and legislator Cicero as well as the young politicians Mark Antony and Octavius (later Caesar Augustus). Caesar's legendary romance with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra still fascinates us today.In this splendid biography, Freeman presents Caesar in all his dimensions and contradictions. With remarkable clarity and brevity, Freeman shows how Caesar dominated a newly powerful Rome and shaped its destiny. This book will captivate readers discovering Caesar and ancient Rome for the first time as well as those who have a deep interest in the classical world.
Mithridates the Great: Rome's Indomitable Enemy
Philip Matyszak - 2008
The Mithridiatic wars stretched over half a century and two continents, and have a fascinating cast of pirates, rebels, turncoats and poisoners (though an unfortunate lack of heroes with untarnished motives). There are pitched battles, epic sieges, double-crosses and world-class political conniving, assassinations and general treachery. Through it all, the story is built about the dominant character of Mithridates, connoisseur of poisons, arch-schemer and strategist; resilient in defeat, savage and vindictive in victory. Almost by definition, this book will break new ground, in that nothing has been written on Mithridates for the general public for almost half a century, though scholarly journals have been adding a steady trickle of new evidence, which is drawn upon here.Few enough leaders went to war with Rome and lived long to tell the tale, but in the first half of the first century BC, Mithridates did so three times. At the high point of his career his armies swept the Romans out of Asia Minor and Greece, reversing a century of Roman expansion in the region. Even once fortune had turned against him he would not submit. Upto the day he died, a fugitive drive to suicide by the treachery of his own son, he was still planning an overland invasion of Roman itself.
Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar
Tom Holland - 2015
This is the period of the first and perhaps greatest Roman Emperors and it's a colorful story of rule and ruination, running from the rise of Augustus through to the death of Nero. Holland's expansive history also has distinct shades of I Claudius, with five wonderfully vivid (and in three cases, thoroughly depraved) Emperors—Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero—featured, along with numerous fascinating secondary characters. Intrigue, murder, naked ambition and treachery, greed, gluttony, lust, incest, pageantry, decadence—the tale of these five Caesars continues to cast a mesmerizing spell across the millennia.
Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe
William Rosen - 2007
In his capital at Constantinople he built the world's most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome's fortunes for the next five hundred years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed five thousand people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself. In Justinian's Flea, William Rosen tells the story of history's first pandemic plague seven centuries before the Black Death that killed tens of millions, devastated the empires of Persia and Rome, left a path of victims from Ireland to Iraq, and opened the way for the armies of Islam. Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly's The Great Mortality, John Barry's The Great Influenza, and Jared Diamond's Collapse .
The Death of Caesar: The Story of History's Most Famous Assassination
Barry S. Strauss - 2015
He was the last casualty of one civil war, the first casualty of the next, which would end the Roman Republic, inaugurating the Empire. Why was Caesar killed? For political reasons, mainly. The conspirators wanted to return Rome to the days when the Senate ruled, but Caesar hoped to pass along his new powers to his family, especially Octavian. The principal plotters were Brutus, Cassius (former allies of Pompey) & Decimus. The killers left the body in the Senate & Caesar’s allies held a public funeral. Mark Antony made a brilliant inflammatory speech that caused a riot. The conspirators fled Rome. Brutus & Cassius raised an army in Greece. Antony & Octavian defeated them.
Adrian Goldsworthy - 2016
Yet the Romans were conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates to the Atlantic coast. Ruthless, Romans won peace not through coexistence but through dominance; millions died and were enslaved during the creation of their empire. Pax Romana examines how the Romans came to control so much of the world and asks whether traditionally favorable images of the Roman peace are true. Goldsworthy vividly recounts the rebellions of the conquered, examines why they broke out, why most failed, and how they became exceeding rare. He reveals that hostility was just one reaction to the arrival of Rome and that from the outset, conquered peoples collaborated, formed alliances, and joined invaders, causing resistance movements to fade away.
Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome
Anthony Everitt - 2009
In Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome–the first major account of the emperor in nearly a century–Everitt presents a compelling, richly researched biography of the man whom he calls arguably “the most successful of Rome’s rulers.”Born in A.D. 76, Hadrian lived through and ruled during a tempestuous era, a time when the Colosseum was opened to the public and Pompeii was buried under a mountain of lava and ash. Everitt vividly recounts Hadrian’s thrilling life, in which the emperor brings a century of disorder and costly warfare to a peaceful conclusion while demonstrating how a monarchy can be compatible with good governance. Hadrian was brave and astute–despite his sometimes prickly demeanor–as well as an accomplished huntsman, poet, and student of philosophy.What distinguished Hadrian’s rule, according to Everitt, were two insights that inevitably ensured the empire’s long and prosperous future: He ended Rome’s territorial expansion, which had become strategically and economically untenable, by fortifying her boundaries (the many famed Walls of Hadrian), and he effectively “Hellenized” Rome by anointing Athens the empire’s cultural center, thereby making Greek learning and art vastly more prominent in Roman life.With unprecedented detail, Everitt illuminates Hadrian’s private life, including his marriage to Sabina–a loveless, frequently unhappy bond that bore no heirs–and his enduring yet doomed relationship with the true love of his life, Antinous, a beautiful young Bithynian man. Everitt also covers Hadrian’s war against the Jews, which planted the seeds of present-day discord in the Middle East. Despite his tremendous legacy–including a virtual “marble biography” of still-standing structures–Hadrian is considered one of Rome’s more enigmatic emperors. But making splendid use of recently discovered archaeological materials and his own exhaustive research, Everitt sheds new light on one of the most important figures of the ancient world.