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The Roman Republic

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Overview


The rise and fall of the Roman Republic occupies a special place in the history of Western civilization. From humble beginnings on the seven hills beside the Tiber, the city of Rome grew to dominate the ancient Mediterranean. Led by her senatorial aristocracy, Republican armies defeated Carthage and the successor kingdoms of Alexander the Great, and brought the surrounding peoples to east and west into the Roman sphere. In this Very Short Introduction, David M. Gwynn provides a fascinating introduction to the ...
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The Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview


The rise and fall of the Roman Republic occupies a special place in the history of Western civilization. From humble beginnings on the seven hills beside the Tiber, the city of Rome grew to dominate the ancient Mediterranean. Led by her senatorial aristocracy, Republican armies defeated Carthage and the successor kingdoms of Alexander the Great, and brought the surrounding peoples to east and west into the Roman sphere. In this Very Short Introduction, David M. Gwynn provides a fascinating introduction to the history of the Roman Republic, ranging from the origins of Rome and the vivid Roman legends that surround the foundations of the city, to the overthrow of the monarchy in 509 BC, the five hundred years of republican rule, the rise of Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus, and the establishment of the Principate. Gwynn considers the political structure of the Republic, including its unique constitution, and he highlights literary and material sources, bringing to life the culture and society of Republican Rome. He also reflects on the Roman values and beliefs of the time, in order to shed light on the Republic's dramatic rise and fall. Finally, Gwynn reflects on the remarkable legacy of the Roman Republic, including its modern-day resonance and legacy in literature and in film, where it is often presented as a model, a source of inspiration, but also a warning.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199595112
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2012
  • Series: Very Short Introductions Series
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 357,991
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Gwynn is Lecturer in Ancient and Late Antique History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of several books including The Eusebians: The Polemic of Athanasius of Alexandria and the Construction of the "Arian Controversy" (OUP, 2007).

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. The mists of the past
2. The Republic takes shape
3. Men, women, and the gods
4. Carthage must be destroyed
5. Mistress of the Mediterranean
6. The cost of Empire
7. Word and image
8. The last years
9. The afterlife of the Republic
Chronology
The Roman Constitution
Further Reading
Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ancient Rome is one of the most famous and most reflected upon t

    Ancient Rome is one of the most famous and most reflected upon topics in all of history. In many respects modern historiography is to a large extent been influenced by the study of the classical period, and Rome in particular. Furthermore, Rome has influenced many artistic works; from Shakespeare’s plays to the HBO miniseries to name just a couple that immediately spring to mind. There is no shortage of books and other resources on this topic. Even so, David Gwynn’s very short introduction to the Roman Republic stands out. It is a very lucid, cogent, and interesting book that can serve as a great source of information on this topic for the modern readers. In particular, it focuses on the Republic, the part of Roman history that has been understood, both by the Romans themselves and the modern historians and interpreters, as the most noble and politically advanced period in the life of Rome. 




    This book, as the name suggests, covers the republican era of the Roman history: from the end of the Roman kingdom until the beginning of the Roman Empire. It is a period during which Rome has risen from a small state in the Apennine peninsula to the status of the World power that dominated the Mediterranean and much of the continental Europe as well. The book provides some very interesting new insights that I have not come across before. For me the most intriguing insights are the ones that make explicit the degree to which concepts of “dignitas” and “gloria” pervaded the thinking and decision-making of the Roman politicians and other leaders. The latter one in particular, according to Gwynn, was one of the major driving forces behind the Rome’s militarized and expansionistic policies, and it had in the end lead to the fall of the Republic. 




    This is a very enjoyable and interesting book, and one that every true history buff would be well advised to consider. It is one of my favorite titles in the “Very Short Introduction” series. I highly recommend it. 

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    Posted June 20, 2014

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