The Romans: An Introduction

The Romans: An Introduction

The Romans: An Introduction

The Romans: An Introduction

Synopsis

The Romans provides students with an excellent introduction to all aspects of Roman culture. Anthony Kamm focuses on literature, art and architecture, and includes discussion of major contemporary developments in the study of ancient Rome.All the crucial elements of Roman history such as the reign of the Caesars and the role of the army are discussed. Again drawing on recent scholarship, the author examines important themes like imperialism, religion and everyday social life.Incorporating maps, charts and pictures as well as a comprehensive bibliography and index, The Romans is a concise yet thorough introductory survey of Roman civilization. An indispensible textbook for A-level Classical Civilization and first-year undergraduate courses - it will also prove invaluable for students of other disciplines, such as art, literature or history, who require a reliable, accessible guide to all aspects of Roman culture.

Excerpt

Whoever coined the epigram 'Rome was not built in a day'—and it was probably the sixteenth-century English dramatist John Heywood—established a permanent reminder that the Roman civilization was twelve hundred years developing, flourishing, and ultimately disintegrating. This is a considerable time in the history of thinking man: almost as long as from the Dark Ages in Britain and the establishment of Islam in Arabia to the present day, and over three times longer than the period since the foundation of the first English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia. It was, too, a thoroughly impressive epoch, which had, and still commands, a profound influence on western society.

The civilization of Rome owed most to ancient Greece, whose golden age is generally regarded as having lasted from about 490 bc to the death in 323 bc of Alexander the Great. the Romans were not great innovators. They learned what they could from others and then applied that knowledge to their own needs and purposes. They were dedicated and often ruthless in their pursuit of order and organization, and in the administration of their own brand of firm, but inherently benevolent, imperialism. the free-born Roman was not even a particularly hard worker. He did not need to be: there was an accepted convention in the ancient world that it was a mark of humanity to inflict slavery, rather than slaughter or maiming, as a penalty for those on the losing side in battle. This was the darkest aspect of imperialism. the first-century bc scholar and philosopher Varro refers to slaves as a 'species of articulate farming stock', as opposed to 'inarticulate stock' (oxen) and 'dumb stock' (carts), in his agricultural treatise (I. 17). in the first century ad, it is probable that . . .

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