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A Brief History of the Romans

Second Edition

Mary T. Boatwright, Daniel J. Gargola, Noel Lenski, and Richard J.A. Talbert

Publication Date - 11 October 2013

ISBN: 9780199987559

396 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Vividly written and accessible, this brief bestselling survey traces Rome's evolution from village to empire


How did a single village community in the Italian peninsula eventually become one of the most powerful imperial powers the world has ever known? In A Brief History of the Romans, Second Edition, Mary T. Boatwright, Daniel J. Gargola, Richard J.A. Talbert, and new coauthor Noel Lenski explore this question as they guide students through a comprehensive sweep of Roman history, ranging from the prehistoric settlements to the fall of the empire in 476.

Addressing issues that still confront modern states worldwide--including warfare, empire building, consensus forging, and political fragmentation--the authors also provide glimpses into everyday Roman life and perspective, demonstrating how Rome's growth as a state is inseparable from its social and cultural development. Firmly grounded in ancient literary and material sources, the text analyzes major political and military landmarks, from the Punic Wars through Constantine's adoption of Christianity. It also features thirty historical maps revised under the supervision of coauthor Richard J. A. Talbert, almost 100 illustrations, and textual extracts that provide fascinating cultural observations made by ancient Romans themselves.

Package this book with Now Playing: Studying the History of Ancient Greece and Rome Through Film for FREE! To order, contact your Oxford Sales Representative and use package ISBN 978-0-19-934334-8.

New to this Edition

  • Extends coverage by about 200 years, to approximately 500 CE, with two new chapters: Chapter 13: "The Rise of Christianity and the Growth of the Barbarian Threat" Chapter 14: "The Final Years of the Western Empire and Rome's Revival in the East"
  • Combines chapters 1 and 2 into one chapter, "Archaic Italy and the Origins of Rome"
  • Includes an eight-page, full-color insert featuring fifteen color plates
  • Integrates more coverage of women, religions, and cultural history throughout
  • A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/boatwright offers resources for students and instructors

About the Author(s)

Mary T. Boatwright is Professor of Ancient History and Director of Graduate Studies at Duke University.

Daniel J. Gargola is Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.

Noel Lenski is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Richard J. A. Talbert is William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Previous Publication Date(s)

January 2006


"The quality of the text is first rate--exactly what I would expect from these authors."--Christopher Haas, Villanova University

"Clear and readable, with good headings for ease of use by students and instructors alike. There is a good balance between text and visual material. The maps are, of course, fantastic."--Andrew Gallia, University of Minnesota

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    Preface to the Second Edition
    Preface to the First Edition
    Notes to the Reader
    1. Archaic Italy and the Origins of Rome
    Italy and the Mediterranean World
    Italy Before the City
    Greeks and Phoenicians in the Central Mediterranean
    The Rise of Cities
    Beginning of Writing
    Appearance of an Elite
    Cities and Monumental Architecture
    Warfare in the Orientalizing and Archaic Periods
    Social and Economic Organization
    Greeks and Etruscans
    Greek Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily
    The Emergence of Rome
    The Romans and Their Early History
    TABLE 1.1 Dates of Rome's Kings According to Varro
    SOURCE 1.1 Romulus Finds Rome (Plutarch)
    Politics and Society under the Kings
    Rome and the Latins
    2. Republican Rome and the Conquest of Italy
    The Early Republic
    Rome and Its Neighbors in the Fifth Century
    Struggle of the Orders
    Fall of Veii and the Sack of Rome
    The City and Its Institutions in the Fourth Century
    Assemblies of Citizens
    TABLE 2.1 Roman Assemblies
    The City, Its Gods, and Its Priests
    Rome and Central Italy
    Warfare and the Civic Order
    SOURCE 2.1 A Formal Surrender to Rome
    Rome in Latium and Campania
    Samnite Wars
    Wars in Central and Northern Italy
    Conquest of the South
    War and the Roman State
    3. The Beginnings of a Mediterranean Empire
    The Notability of a Mediterranean Empire
    SOURCE 3.1 Triumph of Scipio Africanus (Appian)
    Wars with Carthage
    First Punic War (264-241)
    Second Punic War (218-201)
    SOURCE 3.2 Rome's Reaction to Defeat at Cannae (Polybius)
    A Mediterranean Empire
    Governors, Provinces, and Empire
    Greece and Asia Minor
    North Africa
    4. Italy and Empire
    Senators, Officials, and Citizen Assemblies
    Italy and the Consequences of Empire
    Changing Relations Between Rome, Its Municipia, and Allies
    Romans and Italian Elites
    SOURCE 4.1 Scipio Africanus' Army Loots Carthago Nova (Polybius)
    Demographic and Economic Changes
    Roman Politics and the Mid-Second Century
    Scipio Aemilianus
    Tiberius Gracchus
    SOURCE 4.2 Tiberius Gracchus Urges Romans to Support his Land-Assignment Scheme (Plutarch)
    5. Italy Threatened, Enfranchised, Divided
    Changes in Roman Society
    War with Jugurtha (112-105)
    Italy Threatened from the North (113-101)
    Changes in the Roman Army
    Marius' Career in Roman Politics
    SOURCE 5.1 Marius' Bid for the Consulship (Sallust)
    Sixth Consulship of Marius and Second Tribunate of Saturninus (100)
    Administration of the Provinces
    Tribunate of Livius Drusus (91)
    Social War (91-87)
    Tribunate of Sulpicius Rufus (88)
    Sulla's First March on Rome (88)
    Cinna's Rule (87-84)
    Sulla's Second March on Rome (83-82)
    6. The Domination of Sulla and Its Legacy
    Sulla's Proscriptions (82-81)
    Sulla the Dictator and His Program (82-81)
    Verdicts on Sulla's Program
    SOURCE 6.1 Cicero's Defense of Sextus Roscius
    Lepidus' Rising and Its Aftermath (78-77)
    Challenge from Sertorius in Spain (80-73)
    Spartacus' Slave Revolt (73-71)
    Consulship of Crassus and Pompey (70)
    Pompey Frees the Mediterranean of Pirates (67)
    Threat from King Mithridates VI of Pontus and Sulla's Response (87-85)
    Campaigns of Lucullus and Pompey Against Mithridates (74-63)
    Roles of Crassus and Cicero in Rome (65-63)
    Catiline's Rising (63-62)
    7. End of the Republic: Caesar's Dictatorship
    Pompey's Return from the East (62)
    Pompey and Political Stalemate in Rome
    Partnership of Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar
    Caesar's First Consulship (59)
    Clodius' Tribunate (58)
    Cicero's Recall and the Renewal of the Triumvirate (57-56)
    Caesar's Campaigns in Gaul (58-51)
    Death of Clodius and Pompey's Sole Consulship (52)
    Prospect of Civil War (51-49)
    Causes and Consequences of Caesar Crossing the Rubicon (January 49)
    Civil War Campaigns (49-45)
    Caesar's Activity as Dictator (49-44)
    Caesar's Impact upon the City of Rome
    Political Prospects for Rome and for Caesar
    8. Augustus and the Transformation of the Roman World
    Reactions to the Assassination of Caesar (44-43)
    Emergence of a Second Triumvirate (43)
    Battle of Philippi (42)
    Perusine War (41-40)
    Elimination of Sextus Pompey and Lepidus (39-36)
    SOURCE 8.1 Laudatio Turiae
    Antony in the East (42 onwards)
    "The Republic Restored"
    Second Settlement (23)
    The Roman Family in the Augustan Period
    TABLE 8.1 The Julio-Claudian Family
    Senate and Equites
    SOURCE 8.1 Oath of Loyalty
    The Empire and Its Expansion
    City of Rome
    Attitudes Outside Rome
    Augustus: Final Assessment
    9. The Early Principate (A.D. 14-69): The Julio-Claudians, the Civil War of 68-69, and Life in the Early Empire
    The Julio-Claudian Emperors: Civil Government and Military Concerns
    Tiberius (14-37)
    Gaius (Caligula) (37-41)
    Claudius (41-54)
    Nero (54-68)
    Civil War in 68-69
    Economic and Social Change: Army
    "Beneficial Ideology"
    Cities and Provinces
    Diversity: Women, Local Languages, and Culture
    Religious Practices and Principles
    Imperial Cult
    10. Military Expansion and Its Limits: the Empire and the Provinces (69-138)
    Institutionalization of the Principate
    Vespasian (69-79)
    Titus (79-81)
    Domitian (81-96)
    A New, Better Era?
    Nerva (96-98)
    Trajan (98-117)
    TABLE 10.1 The Antonine Family
    Hadrian (117-138)
    SOURCE 10.1 Hadrian Inspects Troops at Lambaesis, Numidia
    Roman Cities and the Empire's Peoples
    Theaters and Processions
    Circuses and Chariot Racing
    The Amphitheater and Gladiatorial Games
    Other Urban Amenities and Education
    11. Italy and the Provinces: Civil and Military Affairs (138-235)
    Antoninus Pius (138-161)
    SOURCE 11.1 A Greek Provincial Praises Roman Citizenship
    Marcus Aurelius (161-180)
    Commodus (176-192, Sole Augustus after 180)
    TABLE 11.1 The Severan Family
    Septimius Severus (193-211)
    Caracalla (198-217, Sole Augustus after 211)
    Macrinus (217-218)
    Elagabalus (218-222)
    Severus Alexander (222-235)
    Roman Law
    Roman Citizenship
    SOURCE 11.2 Grant of Roman Citizenship (Tabula Banasitana)
    Rome and Christianity
    SOURCE 11.3 Pliny, Trajan, and Christians
    12. The Third-Century Crisis and the Tetrarchic Restabilization
    Mid-Third Century
    Aurelian (270-275)
    Diocletian's Tetrarchy (284-305)
    Dissolution of the Tetrarchy (305-313), and the Rise of Constantine (306-324)
    SOURCE 12.1 Galerius' Edict of Toleration
    Administration Reorganization Under the Dominate
    * 13. The Rise of Christianity and the Growth of the Barbarian Threat (324-395)
    Constantine: A Christian Emperor
    The Sons of Constantine (337-361): The Power of Dynasty
    TABLE 13.1 The Constantinian Family
    Julian (361-363): A Test of the Christian Empire
    SOURCE 13.1 Julian Attempts to Bring Paganism into Line with Christianity
    Jovian, Valentinian I, and Valens (363-378)
    Gratian, Valentinian II, and Theodosius I (379-395)
    New Elites for the Empire
    Paganism and Christianity
    SOURCE 13.2 The End of Pagan Sacrifice
    * 14. The Final Years of the Western Empire and Rome's Revival in the East
    The Theodosian Dynasty Down to the First Sack of Rome (395-410)
    TABLE 14.1 The Theodosian Family
    The Fall of the Western Empire (410-476)
    SOURCE 14.1 The Gothic King Athaulf's Shifting Attitude Toward Rome
    The Growth of a Byzantine Empire in the East (408-491)
    A Christian Culture
    Women's Power in Late Antiquity
    The "Decline and Fall" of the Roman Empire
    Art Credits