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The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction (2006)

av Christopher Kelly

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
328458,052 (3.46)4
The Roman Empire was a remarkable achievement. It had a population of sixty million people spread across lands encircling the Mediterranean and stretching from drizzle-soaked northern England to the sun-baked banks of the Euphrates in Syria, and from the Rhine to the North African coast. Itwas, above all else, an empire of force - employing a mixture of violence, suppression, order, and tactical use of power to develop an astonishingly uniform culture.This Very Short Introduction covers the history of the Empire from Augustus (the first Emperor) to Marcus Aurelius, describing how the empire was formed, how it was run, its religions and its social structure. It examines how local cultures were "romanised" and how people in far away lands came tobelieve in the emperor as a god. The book also examines how the Roman Empire has been considered and depicted in more recent times, from the writings of Edward Gibbon, to the differing attitudes of the Victorians and recent Hollywood blockbuster films.… (mer)
Senast inlagd avnfactor13, suzecate, skneils, rcapogarcia, privat bibliotek, nelsam, erin78, Alexandros7, Athenais

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The opening chapter is good, as is the one about Christians being thrown to the lions: "Treating Christians like criminals missed the central point of Christianity. It obscured its fundamental reliance on language, on the scriptures, on the Word" (94). But the other discussions are either too tangential or esoteric in subject matter. This really isn't an introduction to the Roman Empire as much as seven topics that the author finds interesting. Out of the seven, I enjoyed three.

There's no real narrative of how the empire became as such or how it fell (or survived in the east).

By the way, this series from Oxford UP is a great idea but the writing always seems a shade too academic. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
As other reviewers have noted, this is not a chronological overview of Roman imperial history--in fact, a basic background knowledge of Roman history is prerequisite to approaching this text. It is, however, an excellent concise treatment of some of the most important themes of Roman history and historiogaphy: the Romans' sense of their own imperial mission; the economic structure of the empire; the influence of Christianity; the way "Rome" has been reinvented throughout history to serve the needs of the moment (Kelly looks in particular at Mussolini's Italy and various cinematic Romes). It might not be Roman History 101, but this is an excellent resource for understanding why and not just how and when. ( )
  9inchsnails | Mar 7, 2016 |
Christopher Kelly surveys the history of the Empire from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius, describing the empire's formation, and its political, religious, cultural, and social structures. It considers the daily lives of the Empire's people: both those in Rome as well as those living removed in colonies. Romans employed considerable logistical feats, political savvy, and military oppression to rule their vast empire. This example of the Very Short Introduction series examines how they "romanised" the cultures they conquered, imposing their own culture in order to dominate them completely. The book also looks at how the Roman Empire has been considered and depicted in popular culture, and popular views such as in Edward Gibbon or according to Hollywood's Gladiator.

Kelly packed a great deal of information in this tiny volume from the outstanding "Very Short Introduction" series. At first I did not think that the popular culture chapter would fit given the short length. However, in context the inclusion of the material makes a great deal of sense since, for better or for worse, Hollywood and popular images have dominated the average person's view of the Romans. This short volume is a corrective then and is a well-written short introduction to prepare for more in-depth studies.
  gmicksmith | Jan 10, 2009 |
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The Roman Empire was a remarkable achievement. It had a population of sixty million people spread across lands encircling the Mediterranean and stretching from drizzle-soaked northern England to the sun-baked banks of the Euphrates in Syria, and from the Rhine to the North African coast. Itwas, above all else, an empire of force - employing a mixture of violence, suppression, order, and tactical use of power to develop an astonishingly uniform culture.This Very Short Introduction covers the history of the Empire from Augustus (the first Emperor) to Marcus Aurelius, describing how the empire was formed, how it was run, its religions and its social structure. It examines how local cultures were "romanised" and how people in far away lands came tobelieve in the emperor as a god. The book also examines how the Roman Empire has been considered and depicted in more recent times, from the writings of Edward Gibbon, to the differing attitudes of the Victorians and recent Hollywood blockbuster films.

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