• Rome

  • An Empire's Story
  • By: Greg Woolf
  • Narrated by: Liam Gerrard
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The very idea of empire was created in ancient Rome, and even today, traces of its monuments, literature, and institutions can be found across Europe, the Near East, and North Africa - and sometimes even further afield.

In Rome, historian Greg Woolf expertly recounts how this mammoth empire was created, how it was sustained in crisis, and how it shaped the world of its rulers and subjects - a story spanning a millennium and a half of history. The personalities and events of Roman history have become part of the West's cultural lexicon, and Woolf provides brilliant retellings of each of these, from the war with Carthage to Octavian's victory over Cleopatra and the height of territorial expansion under the emperors Trajan and Hadrian to the founding of Constantinople and the barbarian invasions which resulted in Rome's ultimate collapse. Throughout, Woolf carefully considers the conditions that made Rome's success possible and so durable, covering topics as diverse as ecology, slavery, and religion. Woolf also compares Rome to other ancient empires and to its many later imitators, bringing into vivid relief the Empire's most distinctive and enduring features.  

As Woolf demonstrates, nobody ever planned to create a state that would last more than a millennium and a half, yet Rome was able, in the end, to survive barbarian migrations, economic collapse, and even the conflicts between a series of world religions that had grown up within its borders, and in the process, generated an image and a myth of empire that is apparently indestructible.

©2012 Greg Woolf (P)2018 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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It gets much better after disappointing start

The beginning of the book was not very promising. The author appeared to be  to left-wing, delving into quaestionable comparisons (even referring to Lenin). I even thought of returning the book without finishing it.

but very quickly the book redeemed itself. it has a lot of facts and materials and author has great command of sources.

and most importantly, he compensates the trouble these sources have (most of anciant authors were biased and much of ancient texts have  logical and narrative problems) with his own crytical analysis. Woolf  gives new interesting perspective on the subjects, which seem already well researched and having an established set of opinions. like, for example, Woolf focuses on the often overlooked issue of Romans being extremely dependent on Greeks in civilizational sense (it looks like Greeks invented much of Roman culture and science for Romans).

all in all it was  a worthy read for me, though I already had great knowledge of  Antiquity - I learned a lot and this book gave me a lot of food for thought.

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Intriguing Examination

I was swept along with broad strokes and engaged with in-depth analysis in directions I had not previously encountered—-to a crescendo during the last two chapters.

Very worthwhile.

Very thought provoking.

A very good use of your time.