From Anthony Everitt, the bestselling author of acclaimed biographies of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian, comes a riveting, magisterial account of Rome and its remarkable ascent from an obscure agrarian backwater to the greatest empire the world has ever known.
Emerging as a market town from a cluster of hill villages in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., Rome grew to become the ancient world’s preeminent power. Everitt fashions the story of Rome’s rise to glory into an erudite page-turner filled with lasting lessons for our time. He chronicles the clash between patricians and plebeians that defined the politics of the Republic. He shows how Rome’s shrewd strategy of offering citizenship to her defeated subjects was instrumental in expanding the reach of her burgeoning empire. And he outlines the corrosion of constitutional norms that accompanied Rome’s imperial expansion, as old habits of political compromise gave way, leading to violence and civil war. In the end, unimaginable wealth and power corrupted the traditional virtues of the Republic, and Rome was left triumphant everywhere except within its own borders.
Everitt paints indelible portraits of the great Romans—and non-Romans—who left their mark on the world out of which the mighty empire grew: Cincinnatus, Rome’s George Washington, the very model of the patrician warrior/aristocrat; the brilliant general Scipio Africanus, who turned back a challenge from the Carthaginian legend Hannibal; and Alexander the Great, the invincible Macedonian conqueror who became a role model for generations of would-be Roman rulers. Here also are the intellectual and philosophical leaders whose observations on the art of government and “the good life” have inspired every Western power from antiquity to the present: Cato the Elder, the famously incorruptible statesman who spoke out against the decadence of his times, and Cicero, the consummate orator whose championing of republican institutions put him on a collision course with Julius Caesar and whose writings on justice and liberty continue to inform our political discourse today.
Rome’s decline and fall have long fascinated historians, but the story of how the empire was won is every bit as compelling. With The Rise of Rome, one of our most revered chroniclers of the ancient world tells that tale in a way that will galvanize, inform, and enlighten modern readers.
About Anthony Everitt
Anthony Everitt, sometime visiting professor in the visual and performing arts at Nottingham Trent University, has written extensively on European culture and is the author of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome. He has served as secretary general of the Arts Council of Great Britain. Everitt lives near Colchester, England’s first recorded town, founded by the Romans.
The legendary hero Aeneas led refugees from the sack of Troy to Italy around 1100 B.C. Another hero, Romulus, son of the war god, Mars, murdered his twin, Remus, and then founded Rome in 753 B.C. There followed seven more or less legendary kings with an implausible average reign of 35 years before the last, Tarquin, was expelled in 509 B.C. By the 5th-century B.C., the Roman Republic of history emerged, a belligerent warrior state where soldiers enjoyed such status that only property owners could enlist. The government was a senate, whose members served for life, and two consuls, elected yearly. Patricians dominated but could not ignore the unruly plebeians who elected powerful officials of their own. Unique among the ancients, no division existed between bureaucrats, generals and priests. A Roman leader combined all three. By the 3rd century B.C., Rome had become a Mediterranean power, defeating armies from Macedonia, Carthage, Greece and Gaul. Wealth poured into the city along with a burgeoning lower class, as vast estates, worked by slaves, took over the countryside. Fighting overseas required a standing army, and the decline of small farms meant that, by 100 B.C., soldiers came from the landless poor. Unlike citizen-soldiers, these warriors owed allegiance only to their generals, who used them to fight vicious internecine wars whose ultimate victor, Octavian Caesar, became Emperor Augustus, ending the moribund Republic. – Kirkus Reviews
A Story Of Ancient Power In ‘The Rise Of Rome’
NPR Book Review – August 5, 2012 (Excerpt)
Over the past decade, there’s been a revival in popular histories of ancient Rome; not the academic tomes once reserved for specialists and students, but books and movies designed for the rest of us.
Anthony Everitt has written three biographies about some of the major players in ancient Rome: Cicero, Augustus and Hadrian, all full of intrigue and treachery.
His latest book is called The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire. It traces Rome’s 800-year transformation from a small market town in the hills into a world power moving well beyond the confines of the city.
So what is it about the ancient world that intrigues Everitt?
“I love stories and I love characters,” he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Thing Considered. “And the thing about the ancient world, it is crammed, it is packed with [the] most interesting and eccentric and brave and villainous characters of all kinds.”
Some of those characters are mythical, like Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome fed by a wolf. And some of the characters are real but whose stories are so fantastic you’d think they were fiction, like Julius Caesar, the Roman general who died at the hands of his senate colleagues.
“So much of who we are today can be taken back to the ancient world,” Everitt tells Raz. “Rome was a huge example. Roman law cast its shadow forward millennia.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
- 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
The Bleeding Hills is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.