Rome began as a collection of primitive huts on the banks of the Tiber, some considerable time before Romulus founded the great city. Ruled by kings for the first two and a half centuries, the Romans abolished the monarchy and created for their little city state a form of government that was successfully adapted to control an Empire. The Romans learned how to weld together a larger state by integrating other city states and tribes, offering them the benefits and privileges of Roman citizenship in return for services and manpower in the army and government. Roman society was based on wealth, and extreme snobbery permeated every level of the social hierarchy. Upward mobility was rare during the Republic, and equal rights were out of the question. At the bottom of the heap were the slaves, with no rights at all. Although little remains of Roman architecture from this period, the famously straight Roman roads began during the Republic, fanning out from the capital towards all parts of Italy. Patricia Southern charts the rise of Rome from its humble origins to its dominance of the western world, describing the personalities who helped to shape it, such as rebel gladiator Spartacus, Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader who invaded Italy, Caesar and Pompey, and finally Octavian, Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
'Clear and witty' OXBOW BOOK NEWS
Patricia Southern is an authority of the history of ancient Rome and the author of eleven books on the subject. Her other books include: CLEOPATRA ('In the absence of Cleopatra's memoirs, Southern's commendably balanced biography will do very well' THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH. 'Scholarly and readable... looks carefully behind the rhetoric of a hostile ancient press' DR PETER JONES); JULIUS CAESAR ('Her style is delightfully approachable: lean and lucid, witty and pacy' ANTIQUITY); DOMITIAN: TRAGIC TYRANT ('A lively and wittily written book - the story of a strange life, enjoyably told' CLASSICAL JOURNAL); THE ROMAN EMPIRE FROM SEVERUS TO CONSTANTINE ('Writing with her usual surpassing skill for a broader readership, Patricia Southern distills and immense body of scholarship in history, military archaeology and numismatics' ANTIQUITY); AUGUSTUS, POMPEY THE GREAT, EMPRESS ZENOBIA, ANTONY & CLEOPATRA, THE ROMAN ARMY: A SOCIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL HISTORY AND THE LATE ROMAN ARMY. She lives in Northumberland.