Emerging as a market town from a cluster of hill villages in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., Rome grew to become the ancient world's preeminent power. Everitt fashions the story of Rome's rise to glory into an erudite book filled with lasting lessons for our time. He chronicles the clash between patricians and plebeians that defined the politics of the Republic. He shows how Rome's shrewd strategy of offering citizenship to her defeated subjects was instrumental in expanding the reach of her burgeoning empire. And he outlines the corrosion of constitutional norms that accompanied Rome's imperial expansion, as old habits of political compromise gave way, leading to violence and civil war. In the end, unimaginable wealth and power corrupted the traditional virtues of the Republic, and Rome was left triumphant everywhere except within its own borders.
Everitt paints indelible portraits of the great Romans - and non-Romans - who left their mark on the world out of which the mighty empire grew: Cincinnatus, Rome's George Washington, the very model of the patrician warrior/aristocrat; the brilliant general Scipio Africanus, who turned back a challenge from the Carthaginian legend Hannibal; and Alexander the Great, the invincible Macedonian conqueror who became a role model for generations of would-be Roman rulers. Here also are the intellectual and philosophical leaders whose observations on the art of government and "the good life" have inspired every Western power from antiquity to the present: Cato the Elder, the famously incorruptible statesman who spoke out against the decadence of his times, and Cicero, the consummate orator whose championing of republican institutions put him on a collision course with Julius Caesar and whose writings on justice and liberty continue to inform our political discourse today.
Rome's decline and fall have long fascinated historians, but the story of how the empire was won is every bit as compelling. With The Rise of Rome, one of our most revered chroniclers of the ancient world tells that tale in a way that will galvanize, inform, and enlighten modern listeners.
©2012 Anthony Everitt (P)2012 Tantor
"Everitt takes [listeners] on a remarkable journey into the creation of the great civilization's political institutions, cultural traditions, and social hierarchy.... [E]ngaging work that will captivate and inform from beginning to end." (Booklist)
While I have read a reasonable amount about Roman history (the rule of the Emperors from Augustus through Claudius, the three Punic Wars and, more specifically, Hannibal’s invasion of Rome and the subsequent Roman invasion of North Africa to destroy Carthage) I had never read a real history of the rise of Rome. Since I was preparing to (finally) read Gibbon’s Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire I thought it was time to learn how the Roman Empire came to be before I read how it ceased to be. I bought this book for that specific purpose.
Mr Everitt has written a wonderful and enjoyable history of Rome from its beginning (actually from the fall of Troy) through the beginning of the civil wars at the time of Pompey, Julius Caesar and Octavian. While I was looking forward to reading this I was also somewhat apprehensive because I remembered how dull Roman history classes were when I was in school. I worried about a book made up of dates and events, especially since I would be listening, not actually reading, but I should not have worried. Mr Everitt has built this book around the individuals and events that constitute Roman history rather than a series of dates and that decision worked really well. Had High School history been presented like this I might have paid more attention.
Mr Everitt has broken down the story of the rise of Rome into 3 separate sections – Myth (starting from the fall of Troy and Romulus and Remus), historic legends and known historic facts and the whole fits together seamlessly into a very interesting story. There was much about Roman history that I never knew – Alexander The Great’s plans to “teach” the upstart Romans a lesson by invading, how Rome grew from a small settlement into the global superpower of the time, how the Romans held Italy together as subject peoples in spite of their being outnumbered and much else. I had read a good deal about the Punic Wars but never knew, until I read this book, why Rome forced Carthage into the third war.
The narration is very well done and the book very enjoyable. While it is not a “heavy” history it is also complete enough to not be “light” reading. I feel comfortable recommending this book to anyone with an interest in this period of time.
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
There is no doubt Anthony Everitt knows his Classical stuff. His previous books: 'Cicero' and 'Augustus' were amazing. 'Hadrian' aimed high, but didn't quite hold up to the first two. The Rise of Rome signals a severe decline in Everitt's popular Roman history, IMHO. The book is messy. His narrative begins with Section I (Legend) a review of the legends and foundation myths surrounding the rise of Rome. He then jumps into a review of 'big themes' as Rome's politics, warfare, and society develop.
IN this second section, He isn't interested in the history, rather he attempts to construct the narrative STORY of history. He tries (and fails) to draw a distinction between Section II (Story) and Section III (History), but the last two thirds of the book are really one, story-driven, narrative slog through 1000 years of Roman history and personalities.
The problem is Everitt tries to present 1000 years of Rome's rise in less than 500 pages and fills almost 67 of these pages with foundation myths, etc. The best parts of this book are those pages when he is talking about Rome's great enemy Hannibal, the problem is those pages are 50 pages less spent on the actual direct topic of his book.
Fundamentally, Everitt's biggest failure is the standard high school and college freshman failure. He starts with far too big a topic and devotes to it too little space. He tries for a sweeping history of Rome and only delivers a shoddy, uneven narrative. IN the end, the book feels like a graveyard for Everitt's unpublished background material for previous books or aborted histories.
Epic, Interesting, Unlistenable
None of note. It is an historical work.
No. His British newscaster singsong delivery ending each sentence on exactly the same two-note pitch throughout the entire book was horrible.
A year ago I took this book out of the local library. After a few dozen pages I realized that Anthony Everitt’s style was so easy, his approach so intelligent, that his book would make a perfect listen. Not long after that, Audible had a sale.
In his Introduction Everitt calls the book a “taster” which is, I assume, the British equivalent of our “sampler”. And he’s right. Neither too scholarly nor too simplistic, he has written a sweeping, bird’s-eye-view introduction to how the Roman Empire became the Roman Empire. Everitt says he wrote in hopes of inspiring deeper investigations into the riches of the subject by his readers, and I’m sure that will happen. For this listener the book worked in the opposite way: helping me to string together the chunks of Roman history I already knew into a coherent, seamless narrative.
Everitt’s intelligence and clarity begin with the way he organizes his material, breaking it into three main sections: Legend, Story and History. Legend recounts the tales that, true or not, are important because they’re what the Romans believed about themselves and their city, and helped inspire their decisions as that city grew. Story recounts the strange netherworld between prehistory and history, while history takes up the story at the point where actual, documented facts begin to undergird the narrative.
Complex political situations are explained lucidly. I’m not saying didn’t have to rewind to catch all the nuances, but the fault lay with the Romans and their allies or enemies, not with the writer. Everitt obviously loves his subject and it shows. Another touch I appreciated was his wise forbearance from drawing parallels between ancient and recent history. Those can be made, as he points out, by individual readers. And no matter where you are on the political spectrum, there is enough material here to buttress your particular point of view. Everitt gives us an engaging narrative, unburdened by any tendentious political message, tongue clucking, moralizing or the sound of axes being ground. Bless him.
Finally, a word about Clive Chafer as narrator. At first his delivery can sound somewhat dreary. He seems tired and uninspired. Then after a few minutes you realize he’s the perfect choice for a book like this. For all of Everitt’s skill as a story teller, the story he tells can get complex. Chafer’s measured delivery makes it much easier to follow.
In sum: I enjoyed this book from start to finish, learned many new things and was able to put the few things I already knew into a clearer, more coherent context. And I was able to do all that because, unlike many other writers on classical history, Everitt told the story without getting tangled in the second-growth forest of academic fashions or scholarly disagreements.
An intersecting perspective of how fact and fiction have blended to create the Roman mystique that still fascinates us.
The main downfall is the narrator; despite the fascinating content, it is rolled out in a pedantic drone that is uninspiring at best.
I enjoyed Everitt's books but this was a bit of a let down. I have read extensively in the period so for me there was nothing new. I think he should have had much more material on the actual historical period and spent less time on the mythical period.
For someone who has little familiartiy it was probably good to hear the tales of Decius Mus, Lucius Scaevola and Coriolanus but I was not must interested in this period as I had already heard all the stories and read Livy.
Nevertheless he does put together for those will little background a good summary of the Rise of Rome and what made it such a great power in the region - the fact that it could lose so many battles and keep fighting where other would have givern up. It is the sheer determination of the Romans that made possible its domination of the Ancient World. This book more than adequate conveys the Roman determination in the face of overwhelming odd.
After all this is what Everitt wishes to convery -- the ability to dominate the ancient world through sheer determination and the ability to return to the battle inspite of great losses. Everitt hints at but does not go into detail the development of the Roman Military Machine which made possible these later triumphas. He briefly discusses Marius and Sulla, two towering personalities on whom he spends too little time, and who modernized the army from citizen-soldiers to professional miliary.
Clive Chafer is an excellent reader and does a great job in the book. Now if only they would bring out an audio version of Everitt's Cicero.
Tell us about yourself! I am a 43 year old wanna be intellect. I love people doing things for me and i guess that includes my reading! My interests vary widely so this site is right up my alley....maybe too much so!!!
The insanity of some of the leaders
He makes you know when something is important
no great audiobook
makes history fun we are still learning new things about early Rome that wasn't known even five years ago !!
Yes. I would most definitely listen to it over again. And I am. It is a great overview of the Early years and the end of the republic.
Appius Claudius Caecus "The Blind"
He didn't really play a character. This is a history book.
I really liked this book. But my opinion must be taken with some scrutiny, as this is my first audio book. But I guess I'm not far from the average as this book has an average overall rating of 5 stars. The Narrator has such a voice that if feel he should have narrated my life , I would have payed him for it. his sort of English aristocratic demeanor brings the Rise of Rome to life for me at least. many have commented that he has a sort of two-tone type of voice and never changes. Might i remind you people that this is a historical narrative and not "Fifty Shades of Grey" or the like. if you don't like that then you are reading the wrong book. Not to say this book cannot be extremely exciting. For example, the tale regarding the "Caudine Faux" (probably spelled incorrectly) where the Romans are caught in a pass and are forced to walk "with one item of clothing each" through a gate of spears while being jeered and laughed at by Vulsci soldiers. or when Gaius Decius Mus commited "Devotio" by pulling his toga over his head and riding into the enemy to ensure victory by sacrificing himself. Its tales like these that kept me glued to my earphones. But its all in your own opinion.
If you are fascinated by Roman History at all then you will be delighted by this "lite" retelling of Romes historic rise and domination of Italy.
Listening about the lives of others distracts me from my own on the one hand while enlivening it on the other.
I read great insights in-between long stretches of filler text. I would have accepted more bottom line facts and less line item reporting. I got bored while listening to passages describing the political play-by-plays that didn't serve to make the insights any clearer. It would have been better to highlight the original content and annotate details that amount to [paraphrasing] "...so and so met but didn't have quorum".
The reader is articulate with a marvelous voice. Still, he tended to report the text like it was in a teleprompter. His pace and narrow dynamic range disappointed my expectations for a new presentation of the rise of Rome. He was very understandable, quick, and authoritative but would like to have heard some more wonder in the storytelling.
Everitt's insights and original content is superb. The history goes in and out of scope and detail with some irregularity. Sometimes there were long sections of history that didn't seem necessary in such exhaustive detail. There is no detail too precise so long as it is followed with an insight that required that detail. I'm glad to have read it, though I might be wary of another long read by Chafer.
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