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The Roman Empire

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  84 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
This sweeping history of the Roman Empire from 44 B.C. to A.D. 235 has three purposes: to describe what was happening in the central administration and in the entourage of the emperor; to indicate how life went on in Italy and the provinces, in the towns, in the countryside, and in the army camps; and to show how these two different worlds impinged on each other. Colin Wel ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 384 pages
Published August 11th 1995 by Harvard University Press (first published 1984)
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Mar 19, 2015 Francis rated it liked it
A useful overview of a fascinating historical phenomenon, written from a highly academic perspective. Every page contains interesting and/or surprising information, but the text is extremely dense, making for slow reading. Professor Wells seems anxious to score points against other historians of the period, and has a distinctively dry Oxbridge sense of humour which sometimes grates. His occasional comparisons wioth modern life are already very dated.
May 04, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: general interest Roman history
A good one-volume, first book about the Roman Empire. The book goes from Augustus to the end of the Severans (~25 BC - ~350 AD) - the start of the Empire to the major disruptions of the 200s. Colin Wells shows a refreshing lack of adulation and a welcome amount of skepticism for histories written at the time (they almost always had a political point). This is mostly a political history, with some discussion of the society of the 'haves'. This makes sense because it was these people that the Empi ...more
Lauren Albert
Apr 11, 2015 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-ancient
After being disappointed by "The Roman Republic," I had hoped that Wells' book would read as written more for a popular audience--partly this was because of the tone of his more contemporary books. But it was very much an academic piece and this is one of the reasons, I think, I found his analogies with the contemporary (Idi Amin, etc.) jarring. It was definitely an easier read than the first book, though I felt this more of the even chapters (he alternates between straight political narrative a ...more
May 11, 2009 Marcus rated it really liked it
Die dtv-Geschichte der Antike möchte ich allen denen ans Herz legen, die ihren Horizont über die Welt des Altertums (von ca. 1000 v. Chr. bis 500 n. Chr.) erweitern wollen. Das hat zwei Gründe: Zum Einen können englische Historiker Geschichte viel erzählerischer und spannender vermitteln als das die meisten deutschen Kollegen können (auch in der guten deutschen Übersetzung des althistorischen Hans Dampf in allen Gassen: Kai Brodersen). Zum Anderen sprechen hier die Quellen für sich, Forschungsme ...more
Kathy  Petersen
Here is a very cautious scholar; he insists on a citation for almost every statement - within the text! I was obviously somewhat annoyed by this tactic, especially after thoroughly enjoying the chapter entitled Sources in which he discusses all the possible sources of his topic.

That rant out of the way, I give multiple stars to the writer/historian for producing a valuable, readable, and even entertaining volume on one of my favorite subjects.
Jun 29, 2007 Louis rated it it was ok
What our society is based upon and how we might crumble as well. Good insigt as history does repeat itself. Time to turn the page of history. I have been told not to worry about things here on terra firma, but we do have to live here!
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Colin Michael Wells was a British historian of ancient Rome, as well as scholar and archaeologist of classical antiquities and Punic.
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