Tag Archives: roman

Book Review – Chronicle of the Roman Emperors

Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome by Christopher Scarre

This is an excellent history book.  It is well organized and a useful reference work for projects and information purposes.  It is also well enough written to be an enjoyable read. It does not pretend to be a general/complete history of Imperial Rome; instead it covers the emperors themselves, giving a coherent unbiased picture difficult to get from most traditional histories.  It gives an account of each emperor from Augustus to Romulus Augustulus.

This book provides a history that acknowledges the reports of historians from all areas (including enemies of Rome), these are critically analyzed for their biases (e.g., that of senatorial authors against emperors who ignored the senate, or of Christian authors against the persecutors) to attempt to give a balanced account.  The author does not blindly accept what either group has to say about emperors who they either demonize or deify. This is a very worthwhile practice, and so overall the book is a very helpful primer for a novice on the subject.

Especially interesting was the family information as well as the timelines, maps and illustrations. This book is concise and complete for its size and also manages to include text sketches of other prominent people of the day as well as each emperor’s most famous construction projects, laws or other interesting tid bits.

The smaller details of imperial titles, etc., are pulled out into handy sidebars where they can be ignored if desired or enjoyed by those who like that sort of thing.

The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of portrait busts of most of the emperors as well as the monuments they built. There are also many drawings and plans showing reconstructions of their palaces and monuments.  It is very easy to read and Latin concepts are easily explained.  An excellent book for author research or school projects.
-HMC

Book Review – Chronicle of the Roman Republic

Chronicle of the Roman Republic: The Rulers of Ancient Rome from Romulus to Augustus  by Philip Matyszak

This is a very good quick reference book for those who do not want to wade through huge blocks of history text to get to the stuff you need or are interested in.

The history of the Roman Republic is made through its people and this book goes about telling roman history through it’s consuls and other notables. It has interesting side panels and information bars for explanations of roman traditions, sites and events.

It is very nicely illustrated with both drawings and photographs of people (their marble countenances)and places from around the Roman Republic. I would recommend this book for anyone with a general interest in roman history and for student use for a school project.

-HMC