The Immense Majesty: A History of Rome and the Roman Empire

The Immense Majesty: A History of Rome and the Roman Empire

The Immense Majesty: A History of Rome and the Roman Empire

The Immense Majesty: A History of Rome and the Roman Empire

Synopsis

Integrates social, economic, cultural and religious aspects of Roman life with the rise and fall of the Republic. The author explores the achievements and decay of the imperial system to the time of Justinian and provides information about Roman women.

Excerpt

According to Thomas Mann, “only the exhaustive can be truly in teresting.” Yet, “a big book,” Callimachus said, “is a big bore.” The present work tries to observe the spirit of both dicta and to summarize a millennium of human experience without sacrificing scope or the insights provided by factual details. Though there is little mention of art, there is much on literature, religion, and social history. The reader will get his or her fill of politics and family ties, for such things loomed large in the Roman world, but administrative and technical terms have been kept to a minimum. While collective nouns, such as class, Senate, or church, are used out of necessity, the author realizes that such words are mere labels for galaxies of divergent individuals. Wherever feasible, anecdotes and personal data have been included to illuminate a man, a movement, or an era. Since there is no “verdict of history” but only the considered opinions of historians, historiographical comments are frequent in this book. Scholars will recognize the author's indebtedness to many predecessors, ancient and modern.

While women were not neglected in the original printing of this book, an expanded discussion with more examples is in order, and so an Appendix on Roman Women has been added. The Recommended Reading list has been updated, and a few slips or errors in the text have been corrected.

T.W.A.

Vestal, New York August, 1990 . . .

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