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Pax Romana: War, Peace, and Conquest in the Roman World
     

Pax Romana: War, Peace, and Conquest in the Roman World

by Adrian Goldsworthy
 

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A groundbreaking and comprehensive history of the Roman Peace from one of the leading historians of the ancient world

Best-selling author Adrian Goldsworthy turns his attention to the Pax Romana, the famous peace and prosperity brought by the Roman Empire at its height in the first and second centuries AD. Yet the Romans were conquerors,

Overview


A groundbreaking and comprehensive history of the Roman Peace from one of the leading historians of the ancient world

Best-selling author Adrian Goldsworthy turns his attention to the Pax Romana, the famous peace and prosperity brought by the Roman Empire at its height in the first and second centuries AD. Yet the Romans were conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates to the Atlantic coast. Ruthless, Romans won peace not through coexistence but through dominance; millions died and were enslaved during the creation of their empire.
 
Pax Romana examines how the Romans came to control so much of the world and asks whether traditionally favorable images of the Roman peace are true. Goldsworthy vividly recounts the rebellions of the conquered, examining why they broke out, why most failed, and how they became exceedingly rare. He reveals that hostility was just one reaction to the arrival of Rome and that from the outset, conquered peoples collaborated, formed alliances, and joined invaders, causing resistance movements to fade away.

Editorial Reviews

Times (London) - Gerard DeGroot

“Goldsworthy brings a wonderful vitality to his subject. . . . The reader is treated to an enthralling view of a highly complex system of governance [in which] Goldsworthy gives statecraft its proper emphasis.” —Gerard DeGroot, Times (London)
B&N Reads - Diana Biller

Pax Romana examines a famous, yet little understood, time, and is an excellent read for anyone interested in ancient history.”—Diana Biller, B&N Reads
Shelf Awareness for Readers - Tobias Mutter

“A nuanced portrait [and] a fascinating work. . . . Readers interested in Roman history will find it remarkable.”—Tobias Mutter, Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review
Wall Street Journal - Greg Woolf

“The reign of Augustus—when the Romans learned to stop worrying and love the emperors—is the center of Adrian Goldsworthy’s powerful reassessment of Roman imperialism. Goldsworthy is well known for his books on the Roman army and on Roman warfare and is the author of vivid biographies of some of Rome’s greatest generals, so peace might seem a surprising topic for him. But Pax is not peace, or not quite peace as we know it. . . . The Roman peace was an unusual calm after the violence of prehistoric and classical societies. How calm it really was is difficult to say, but Pax Romana offers a measured answer for which we may be grateful.”—Greg Woolf, Wall Street Journal
BBC History Magazine - Peter Jones

“The best of [Goldsworthy’s] many excellent books on ancient Rome for its range and depth.”—Peter Jones, BBC History Magazine
Foreign Affairs - Lawrence D. Freedman

“Engaging and consistently informative.”—Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs
New York Times Book Review - Thomas Ricks

“[Pax Romana] offers two cheers for imperialism, saluting the Romans for bringing peace and stability to the Mediterranean basin on a scale and duration not seen before or since. . . . Two lessons for today stand out in the book: First, it is hard to make and keep a peace. Second, the greatest threat to the Pax Romana came not from foreigners but from the internal power struggles of the Romans themselves.”—Thomas Ricks, New York Times Book Review
Wall Street Journal - Richard Snow

“Goldsworthy explores this epoch lucidly. . . . He shows how those long-ago warriors and politicians wound taut the strings that continue to vibrate in our national life.”—Richard Snow, “What to Give: History Books,” Wall Street Journal
Christian Review - Kevin Bezner

“Concise yet filled with detail, Goldworthy’s study is a definitive work on the reality of the Pax Romana. He has written a book of sound scholarship that should appeal to readers interested in classical European and Roman history, as well as Jewish history and the history of early Christianity.”—Kevin Bezner, Christian Review
Terre Haute Tribune Star - David Kite

“An easily digestible survey of Rome’s empire that adds important context to a complex phenomenon.”—David Kite, Terre Haute Tribune Star
New Criterion - Daisy Dunn

“Monumental and highly engaging. . . . While his prose is clear and measured, Goldsworthy’s argument is pleasingly impassioned. . . . Goldsworthy’s achievement is to show that the alternative to Roman peace was often either unappealing or long forgotten. He has set Pax Romana in its proper context.”—Daisy Dunn, New Criterion
Military History - Richard A. Gabriel

“An excellent book. . . . Goldsworthy’s account of the origins of the peace is first-rate. . . . Goldsworthy’s text is clear and concise, the subject matter well organized. . . . The fine maps are presented in context within the relevant passages rather than shoved to the back of the book. Students of Roman history will find Pax Romana especially valuable.”—Richard A. Gabriel, Military History
History Today - Matthew Leigh

“A work entitled Pax Romana may suggest that the pre-eminent military historian of Rome, Adrian Goldsworthy, has gone soft. He has not. There is a great deal here about war and conquest. . . . Yet this study offers far more than straight military history. . . . Goldsworthy makes excellent use of anything from the Gospels to inscriptions and other archaeological remains in order to illustrate his claims. . . . A fine [book], elegantly written.”—Matthew Leigh, History Today
The Times - Gerard DeGroot

“Goldsworthy brings a wonderful vitality to his subject; his account possesses an immediacy usually associated with contemporary history. The reader is treated to an enthralling view of a highly complex system of governance [in which] Goldsworthy gives statecraft its proper emphasis.” —Gerard DeGroot, The Times (London)
Kirkus Reviews
2016-07-19
An exploration of the “Roman Peace,” which held “sway over much of Western Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa for centuries.”The world has entered what some call the Pax Americana. Everyone knows that this phrase refers to ancient Rome, but it’s meant ironically because empires are now assumed to be despotic. Before World War II, empires enjoyed good press, and ancient Romans shared many Americans’ conviction that anyone with good sense wanted to be like them. In this thick but entirely compelling account, acclaimed British historian Goldsworthy (Augustus: First Emperor of Rome, 2014, etc.), who has written extensively about the Roman Empire, explains how it enforced genuine and long-lasting, if not idyllic, peace. From its founding in the eighth century B.C.E., the Italian town expanded by beating up on its neighbors, but Rome was unusual not because of its pugnacity but because of its success. Unwarlike societies in Iron Age Europe quickly vanished. “The Roman Republic celebrated military achievement as the greatest service of the state,” writes the author, “and mobilized extremely large resources…to wage war virtually every year.” After 150 B.C.E., having crushed Carthage and Macedonia, it ruled the western Mediterranean and began moving east. Expansion continued despite brutal civil wars that ended when Augustus became emperor in 27 B.C.E., the traditional beginning of Pax Romana, which lasted more than two centuries. The empire continued to expand, but wars tended to be at the frontier. As long as taxes arrived, provincial elites were allowed to govern according to local customs, and most of the empire was peaceful most of the time. Goldsworthy rightly reminds readers that external forces destroyed Rome. Unlike recent empires (British, French, Soviet), its colonies never rose up to demand freedom. They wanted to remain Roman. An engrossing account of how the Roman Empire grew and operated.
From the Publisher
"Pax Romana is a fascinating work that manages to avoid becoming dry despite its detail. Readers interested in Roman history will find it remarkable." ---Shelf Awareness

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300178821
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
09/06/2016
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
22,929
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author


Adrian Goldsworthy is the author of numerous acclaimed books, including biographies of Julius Caesar and Augustus. He lectures widely and consults on historical documentaries for the History Channel, National Geographic, and the BBC. He lives in the UK.

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