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1.0 out of 5 starsIf you want to hate history, buy this book
Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2021
I don’t usually bother to write reviews, but this book is so poorly researched and written that other would-be buyers deserve to be warned. It’s not surprising that the book has no named author; reading the book you get the strong impression that it was written by a committee of a dozen high school students who were constantly distracted by their IPhones and social media priorities. The writing is so clumsy and unclear that even as high schoolers they only deserve a C-. Here is just one shocking example of how poorly this book was written and proofread: “There was a rising call for social reforms among individuals who enjoyed orgies, brothels, and private parties of the aristocracy.” Wtf?! Really? The ones who were enjoying these things were calling for social reforms? Hilarious.
5.0 out of 5 starsA brief, yet informative and entertaining, look at the history of the Roman Empire
Reviewed in the United States on October 21, 2020
As a former Latin teacher addicted to the history of ancient Rome, I was fascinated -- and thrilled-- by the author's ability to cover so many topics of interest to me: Romulus and Remus, Aeneas, the Sabines, Latium, the establishment of the Senate, the war with Carthage, the First Triumvirate, Caesar (of course), the Pax Romana, etc. When you finish the pages devoted to the Pax Romana and Emperor Augustus, you have only scratched the surface of the rich history that awaits you. Have some index cards handy, take notes, and enjoy the parade of emperors -- they are never dull. There is an incredible amount of history to digest. I believe this little book (about 200 pages) will be a launching pad for you to learn more about ancient Rome should you be so interested. For example, I am thinking of reading more about the twelve Caesars.
5.0 out of 5 starsSuccinct History; Wonderfully Told
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2020
Captivating History starts the story of Rome with the mythological story (and variations) of the tale of Romulus and Remus. Then the author explains a different myth according to the famous Roman Virgil. Looking for archaeological evidence, they found a pastoral settlement as early as the 14th century BCE.
Small villages merged into city-states and an elite class emerged in the 7th century BCE. At this point, Rome was a monarchy with a king and was ruled by them for the first two-and-a-half-centuries. One fascinating fact is that early religion wasn't related to morality but to having a good relationship with gods and the city-state. Rituals and animal sacrifices were important.
The Roman monarchy fell about 509 BCE and was replaced with a republic. With this change, the city was the property of all its people, not just the king. In fact, anything having to do with 'kingship' was hated and scorned by the people of Rome. Consuls replaced the king; there were two and they could veto each other. They also kept each other in check and only led for a year.
Today's civil law of the Western world is based on Roman's Twelve Tables Laws and the improvements they added over the centuries. They introduced, equality, justice, and punishment for all citizens. After the Punic Wars, Rome was opened to Greek influence. The Roman aristocracy enjoyed the softness and leisure that the Greeks introduced.
The following pages outline the amazing collection of Roman leaders. One shocking statistic about Julius Caesar was that in 46 BCE, his conquest of Gaul (France) cost one million Gallic lives, plus the enslavement of another million. I was stunned to see there were that many people in Gaul at that time.
The story of the various Roman consuls who eventually merged into Octavius becoming emperor sounds like a soap opera. Captivating History should be commended for encapsulating so much history in just a few pages. Part of the history of Rome is the story of the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire (centered in Constantinople). After the Western Roman Empire fell, the Byzantine Empire with Justinian I entered a significant phase.
However, 200 years of the Justinian Plague ravaged Europe and Asia Minor. After the formation of the Papal States, the two factions of the Catholic Church began long arguments that lead to the Great Schism (which has never been resolved). The pages explaining the wars between the pope and kings shows why our forefathers were so smart to keep religion and government separate.
The Renaissance, which influenced all aspects of life, inspired people to rediscover their history and study the idea of humanism. Renewed learning (and the printing press) allowed commoners to read the Bible themselves and interpret God's word on their own. Before long, people like Martin Luther were calling the Church out for abuses. Once the hole started in the dike, religion exploded and the Catholic Church lost its authority.
Finally, this book rounds out Rome's history with a quick summary of the Italians part in WWI and WWII. This is an amazing accomplishment to tell so much history is under 200 pages.
Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2020
I received this book as a portion of the Advance Review Team.
This book sucked me in from the very beginning. It began with the various myths regarding the "founders" of Rome, Romulus and Remus and thus began the very detailed background on the varied and distinct history that Rome had. I seriously didn't want to put this book down each time I had to come back from break. Its enthralling account kept me wanting to finish the book each time, only to have my timer go off.
This book will keep you entertained for hours and will leave you wanting to learn more on the Roman culture and history!
The history of Rome is a dense and long story starting with people that settled around the hills overlooking the Tiber River and progressed quickly through the years to rule half the known world. Europe, the Near East, and North Africa was its footprint, and the city became the Holy City during the Middle Ages.
The interest in Rome is evident by the volume of titles that cover various aspects of the history, architecture, art, literature, religion, laws, and language.
Matt Clayton attempts to compress this all within a three-hour read and succeeds in providing the reader a quick history of its founding and its evolution through the ages. He leads us through the succession of Roman leaders, their impact on the Roman culture and the expansion of the empire. He ends with a light touch upon the 1950s and 1950s and provides a bibliography for further interests.
Das Buch ist eine lieblose Kurzfassung der Geschichte Roms. Es liest sich wie eine Sequenz von Wikidedia-Artikeln, von einem Bot zusammengestellt. Was nicht verwunderlich wäre, da nicht einmal ein Autor angegeben ist. Nicht zu empfehlen.