Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ancient Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire By Simon Baker

Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

Ancient Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire By Simon Baker

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Product Description

Ancient Rome is the story of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Focusing on six turning points in Roman history, Simon Baker's absorbing narrative charts the rise and fall of a political machine unmatched in its brutality, genius, and lust for power. From the conquest of the Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC to the destruction of the empire at the hands of barbarian invaders 700 years later, we discover the pivotal episodes in Roman history. At the heart of this account are some of the most powerful rulers in history—men like Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero, and Constantine. Putting flesh on the bones of these legendary figures, Baker looks beyond the dusty caricatures to explore their real motivations, ambitions, intrigues, and rivalries. The superb narrative, full of energy and imagination, is a brilliant distillation of the latest scholarship and a wonderfully evocative account of ancient Rome.
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #10834 in Books
  • Published on: 2007-07-03
  • Released on: 2007-07-03
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 7.75" h x 1.05" w x 5.00" l, .71 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 448 pages
Editorial Reviews


"Effectively profiles several important figures from Rome's history . . . recommended for public libraries."  —Library Journal

About the Author

Simon Baker is a member of the BBC's award-winning History Unit where he has worked on a wide range of programs about the classical world. He was the development producer on the series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire.
Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful.
4A very good overview of Ancient Rome
By Omar Masood
Given the length of the Roman Empire (and as advertised this book covers the origins of the empire from a small city-state), its breadth, its complexity, and its historical importance it is impossible to go in depth in a book of this length. Roman specialists should find a lengthier, more detailed book but for those who are new to Rome (like me), or seeking to acquire just a general understanding of one of the most important--and arguably the most important--civilization in world history this book passes with flying colors.

79 of 83 people found the following review helpful.
5Well Worth Reading
By J. Chippindale

For anyone interested in the history and events that took place in the Roman Empire this book is like manna from heaven. The author relates Roman history in such a way that the book almost reads like a novel, being both exciting and educational. But if truth be told this is far more interesting than any novel.

Rome was after all one of the greatest, if not the greatest empire ever known. There are figures from its past that stick out like beacons. Probably the greatest of them all Julius Caesar and of course his main adversary Pompey. Others out of the many notables include Mark Antony, Nero, Claudius and many more.

There were also Rome's great buildings. The Forum, the circus maximus and the Flavian amphitheatre, now more commonly known as the Colosseum, all built to show potential enemies the might that was Rome. Then on to the true might of Rome, its Legions. An army that comprised the greatest fighting force the world had ever seen. Because of their discipline and rigid training they were at that period in history, virtually unbeatable.

The author pulls all these facts together beautifully to make a book that is not only informative and educational but also high readable as well.

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful.
5Snapshots of Roman History
By Anibal Madeira
This book is the companion to the extremely interesting BBC docudrama series "Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire". The chapters are the same as the series episodes (although in a more logical chronological order), providing background and detail to the events. Reading the book and watching the show, gives the layman a decent knowledge on the event or character and the following repercussions.

Obviously this work has limitations, but contrary to the usual works designed for the general public, Professor Simon Baker from Oxford gives us an unbiased and very accurate depiction of the events.

This work includes 16 pages of color photographs and a good bibliography providing ancient and modern sources for each separate chapters.

After a great introduction by Mary Beard (consultant to the BBC series, a renowned academic and the author of one of the greatest books on Roman History "Pompeii"), Professor Baker gives us a short introduction on the beginnings of Rome. Then the intrigue, adventure, treasons, great rulers and despicable autocrats of the roman world come to life in the following Chapters:

I - Revolution (the affluence of wealth to Rome from the domination of the mediterranean area generated bigger social differences and conflicts; the rise of Tiberius Grachus and his death)
II - Caesar (the death of the Republic) and August
III - Nero (from promising ruler under Seneca and Burro, to an irresponsible and irreverent autocrat)
IV - Rebellion (the Judean war and the rise of Vespasian) and Hadrian
V - Constantine (a new paradigm)
VI - The fall of Rome (and its dependence on external forces for protection)

The chapters focus not only on the events in themselves, but also on the background that led to them, the main characters and also what happened after the dust settled.

Obviously there are many important periods and personalities in roman history that aren't detailed in this work, but to introduce someone to this civilization that decisively influenced western culture, this book is perfect.

Highly recommended (both the book and the series).



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