by Brian Taylor
Stroud, England: Spellmount/Chicago: Trafalgar Square. Pp. 320.
Illus, notes, biblio., index. Price varies. ISBN: Varies
A new, and innovative chronological overview of Roman history, the volumes noted here are the first of what seems likely to be a four or five volume set.
Volume I, The Rise of the Romans, 753 BC-146 BC. Stroud, England: Spellmount/Chicago: Trafalgar Square, 2008. $49.95. ISBN: 978-1-86227-348-1.
Volume II, The Later Roman Republic, 145 BC-27 BC. Stroud, England: Spellmount/Chicago: Trafalgar Square, 2009. $34.95. ISBN: 978-1-86227-349-8.
Volume III, The Age of Emperors, 27 BC – 285 AD. Stroud, England: Spellmount/Chicago: Trafalgar Square, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-86227-460-0.
The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire
is rather different from most chronologies in a number of ways. Rather than just a
chronological listing of events, the volumes provide analysis and commentary on often very complex developments.
Events are grouped into a series of chapters devoted to particular “eras.” Taking Volume II, The Later Roman Republic, as an example, we find chapters on the “The Punic Wars,” “Numantia and the Gracchi,” and “The Great Civil War”, among others. Each chapter opens with a short discussion of the unifying events that characterize the era. The chapter then continues with a year-by-year survey of events on a regional basis, in narrative form, often down to a day-by-day treatment. So, for example, in the chapter on “Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul” (59 BC-50 BC), the section on 56 BC opens with a look at political developments in Italy, followed by a discussion of the “Renewal of the Triumvirate,” then several entries on events in Gaul, a brief look at rising political opposition to the war, and entries on events in Spain and in Egypt.
A useful reference for those interested in Roman history, and certainly a valuable addition to school and university libraries.