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Emperors of Rome: Imperial Rome from Julius Caesar to the Last Emperor [Hardcover]

D. S. Potter
1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 34.98 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2012
In 27 BC Octavian was proclaimed emperor by the Roman Senate and given the title 'Augustus'. He ruled over an Empire that embraced the territories of 25 some modern countries and had more than 50 million subjects. Its provinces stretched from Hadrian's Wall in the North to Egypt in the South, and from Portugal in the West to Syria in the East. Emperors of Rome charts the 500 years that followed the triumph of Augustus, during which Rome reached heights of economic prosperity and cultural achievement, but also plumbed depths of anarchy, cruelty and chaos. It profiles the greatest and most notorious of the emperors - the autocratic Augustus, the feeble Claudius, the vicious Nero, the beneficent Marcus Aurelius, the maniac Commodus. But these colourful accounts of the Emperors are just part of a wider narrative charting the vicissitudes and ultimate decline of the Roman polity. All of the key events of Roman imperial history are described here, from the Golden Age of Augustus to the destruction of Pompeii, from the reorganization of the Empire under Diocletian in 284 to the division of the Empire into Eastern and Western halves in 395, and from Constantine's Edict of Milan of 313 to the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410.

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Review

'This is a useful guide to the men who were elevated to command Rome and rule the Roman Empire' Good Book Guide.

About the Author

David Potter is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan.

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2.0 out of 5 stars A Coffee Table Book March 2 2010
Format:Hardcover
This book has a short bio of each Emperor of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Romulus Augustulus in 476AD. Each person has a not particularly well written piece about him. Interspersed are little vignettes on key moments in Rome's history, such as the sacking of Rome in 410, or the Battle of Adrianople in 378. The writing is not the best but it is suitable as a coffee table book for curious guests to flip through. For the student of Roman History it is pretty much useless.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Roman Emperors for Dummies Dec 29 2007
By J Walls
Format:Hardcover
`Emperors of Rome', or as it could more aptly be named, `Roman Emperors for Dummies', is almost worth the price if you find the book on the clearance table, you know very little history to start with, and you like your history condensed (and dense). This book clearly suffers from a lack of proper editing, not to mention the fact that no proof-reader ever cracked open its pages prior to being published. A wooden narrative fits with the publisher's name, Quercus. Pretty pictures.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imperial Rome, well explained April 13 2008
By John Harrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It is a shame that so few academic histories are as well written as this book. Although it is difficult to encompass all of Imperial Rome in one volume, particularly in one with the many excellent illustrations contained in this book, nonetheless David Potter succeeds as well as any author ever has. Only at the already confusing end of the empire does the book falter. However, with the beginning and middle of the empire, and delightfully with the fascinating, but relatively unknown, Aetius at the end of the empire, Potter pulls it off magnificently. It is simply, a great read about remarkable people.

While the book looks like a coffee table decoration, it reads like a novel. You get to know the characters that made, maintained and lost the greatest empire ever. You understand their motivations and their challenges: personal, institutional, and religious. After reading the book, you will surprise yourself when you encounter a situation in your own life and find you remember these circumstances, the solutions tried and found wanting by Rome, and most important what worked. It is in these explanations that Potter excels.

It was not that Rome did not know how to continue as a great empire - her leaders chose not to, and the people of Rome let them. Potter explores this in detail, with marked lessons for our own time, leaders and people.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did Anybody Read this Book Before it was Published? Sept. 10 2009
By Grey Wolffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Though I agree with my colleague above as to his point about the readability of this book; the editing (or lack thereof) makes parts of the book downright confusing. Not only are names misspelled in places, but places and dates are wrong because of typos. At one point in the text Potter mentions that so-and-so did such-and-such in 274AD; but in the side picture comment the date is listed as 74AD. That's just bad editing.

At other times in the little side vignettes there are bas reliefs and paintings and when they mention someone to the left of so-and-so; they mean so-and-so's left not to the left from your vantage point. It's especially difficult when so many of the characters seem to have the same name or change their names that it's like watching a football game with all the players wearing only five numbers among them. The worst part is making sense of what happens after Constantine dies and is replace by his sons Constantius, Constantine and Constans. Sometimes one or the other has their son mentioned who has the same name or their grandfather's (Constantine). Can't tell the players even with a scorecard.

It becomes especially difficult at the end in the late 300 and 400's AD, when the empire has been effectively split into three empires and the children have names of their grandparents or uncles or famous cousins and they get busy marrying each others sisters. It's worse than a soap opera. (Even Susan Lucci (Erika Kane) who has been married fourteen times has nothing on these people.) In the end the Eastern Empire fell because it no longer supplied soldiers to the army but depended on mercenaries who finally said, we now own the Empire.

Zeb Kantrowitz
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Written and Thoughtful Dec 1 2013
By Oswald Sobrino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a pleasure to read. It is well-written and gives a thoughtful overview of centuries of history. As a graduate student in classics, I found it a valuable way to review topics I had read about in other books.
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