The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Roman EmpireBook - 2008
The legacy of ancient Rome shapes the world we inhabit today. The history of Rome - as a tiny primitive kingdom, as an ever-growing republic, as a world-ruling empire dominating the known world, and finally as the ghost or legend of that empire - stretches back to the early Iron Age. Its history really ends only in the 19th century, when the last Holy Roman Emperor abdicated, and its cultural legacy is ongoing around the world. The first half of the book focuses on the political and military history of Rome. While the broad sweep of Roman history remains unmistakeable and remarkable, it is the story of individuals that has meaning for us. Rome's rulers from Julius Caesar and his nephew Augustus, to Claudius, Nero and the first "Christian" emperor Constantine the Great became living legends, whose memories lived on so potently that later generations were inspired by their deeds. The assassination of Julius Caesar, Caligula's decision to make his horse a consul, Nero fiddling while Rome burns, the building of Hadrian's Wall and the truth behind these and many other stories are revealed in this account of the rise and ultimate fall of a mighty empire. Every major military campaign and battle is described in detail, from the Punic Wars and Caesar's Conquest of Gaul to the conquest of Britain, Dacia and the East. The second part focuses on Rome's influence on the development of world art, architecture and society. Detailed cross-sections and beautiful drawings of the Colosseum, the Pantheon and other World Heritage buildings reveal Roman techniques and architectural styles. Roman law and Roman philosophy shaped the growth of Western thought. Ancient letters, records, and artworks are used to show how real people lived during one of the cultural peaks of world history. Daily life in ancient Rome is explored in contemporary accounts of sports and games in the arenas, work and play at the baths, the theatre, the forum, and the woman's world of the home. With its magnificent combination of over 1000 full-colour illustrations and an authoritative and absorbing text, this is the perfect history of Rome for any student of history, archaeology or the classical world. It will provide inspiration for anyone planning to visit Italy or other sites in the once-great Roman Empire.