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History of Rome

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  394 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
From a small Iron Age settlement on the banks of the Tiber, Rome grew to become the centre of an Empire that dominated the Western world. Powerful in war, Rome was magnificent in peace, so that even today her poets, artists, philosophers and historians exert their influence over Western thought and civilisation.

Michael Grant, the renowned classical historian, recreates the
Paperback, 442 pages
Published September 22nd 1986 by Faber Faber (first published 1978)
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May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
If you’re looking for a readable and not-too-lengthy account of Roman history — from inception to Republic to Empire to fall — then you could do worse than read Michael Grant’s History of Rome. The span of Roman history is astounding. A small city-state of little significance rises to dominance, ultimately over Europe, the Near East, and North Africa—and then it is humbled, leaving the outlines of the modern world, and modern nation states, in its wake. What a tale.

One of the aspects of Roman hi
Oct 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-history
This is an excellent one volume history of Rome from its' Etruscan beginnings through Republic and Empire through the fall of the Western empire. Michael Grant was "one of the few classical historians to win respect from [both] academics and a lay readership"(The Times, 13 October 2004). Immensely prolific, he wrote and edited more than 70 books of nonfiction and translation, covering topics from Roman coinage and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius to the Gospels. This overview, while not comprehens ...more
Randall Wallace
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Romans had 400,000 troops at their disposal, no wonder no other power could compete against them. The annexing of Sicily was the first move of Roman imperialism; they wanted Sicilian grain. The worst defeat the Romans ever suffered was at Cannae where Hannibal’s smaller force won through an enveloping of “perfect coordination”. The Second Punic War gave Rome it’s empire; it gave them the entire western Mediterranean region for hundreds of years. When Crassus caught Spartacus, he crucified “six t ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, rome
The history of Rome, or: how a city-state came to conquer most of the known World.

This is a subject spanning over 11 centuries, not including other 10 centuries of history of its inheritor, Byzantium

It looks like a fantastic subject - and it is.

I am not sure on how many single-volume essays are available in English, most readers state this is the best one or in any case you'll have to make do.

As far as I am concerned I found Grant of great value but a little bit hard going, for the followin
Elizabeth Kennedy
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a solid overview of the history of Rome. This book gave me exactly that. It does read like a text book. I've always liked reading text books, so that didn't bother me. However, this book was quite dry compared to the totally delicious I, Claudius. I guess that's the difference between a good text book and a great novel. The part of this book that I enjoyed most was Grant's discussion of the fall of the empire and the Roman legacy to western civilization. I wish that section of t ...more
John Nelson
In this book, Michael Grant sets out to summarize the thousand-year history of the Roman Republic and Empire in a single volume. He probably comes as close to succeeding at this task as anyone has. The problem lies in the fact that the subject is far too large to be covered in just one volume. Major events and figures are covered in just one or two pages, and sometimes passed over entirely, because of the need to condense. Although the book is worthwhile reading, one probably would be better off ...more
Michael Anderson
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-rome
Essential reading by a great scholar.
Albert Joseph
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
New to Roman history. Was interesting till he attempted to cover Jesus and Paul, making me question whether he has actually read any of Paul's letters or the Gospels. A little skeptical about the integrity of the book as a whole after reading how sketchy his synopsis of the early church was
Evan Brandt
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
A good way to get a broad overview of the history of the empire for the unitiated.
Shashwat Singh
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent introduction to Roman history. The book covers Rome from its humble origins as a small settlement to the barbarian invasions and the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire.

This book was easily readable, and it covered the major wars and events, how Roman society functioned, Roman philosophy, religions, and literature, as well as the various emperors, consuls, and generals who played a major role in Rome's rise and fall.

The end of the book which covered the decline and fall of Ro
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It's not easy to pack the entire history of Rome into 440 pages, after all, Rome wasn't built in a day (thanks, I'll be here all review, and don't forget to tip your waiter), but Michael Grant attempts to do that here.

While I am not a Roman historian (nor do I play one on TV), my sense is that this is a really good cursory run through of 1000+ years of Roman history and then from there you can focus in on more specific time periods if you want.

That said, I read this a year ago so don't have a g
In roughly five hundred pages, Grant manages to pack a thorough historical narrative of Rome from its primitive Etruscan beginnings to the decline and fall of the imperial empire. The rise of Rome, as well as the various larger-than-life characters it comprised, is among the most incredible of stories and the unfurling of modern western civilization. You couldn't make this stuff up. My only complaint about this history would be that Grant sticks to breadth over detail in all cases and merely ski ...more
This book isn't bad, but it isn't great, and it amazes me that, until quite recently, it was nearly the only survey of Roman History in print. Now it appears not to be in print, but the price tag of used paperback copies, at $15 and up, should tell you something. Ten years ago, the book was $50 in paperback. It just isn't that good, and never was. Try Boatwright et al, The Romans: From Village to Empire, which isn't cheap, though it is cheaper, and is certainly a better buy and a better read.
missy anderson
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was surprised at the dearth of one volume histories of Rome and was therefore delighted to find this hiding in my basement just when I needed it. I was initially put off by the dry prose but once I hit Gauis Marius and the rise of the personality cult of the generals my interest took off. An astounding amount of information to adequately cover in one smallish volume. I recommend it. A bit lacking in rabbits, though.
Dave Leaumont
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A readable narrative chronologically presented history of Rome covering the founding of the city to the fall of the Westerm empire. While Grant touches on a ton of topics, the author does not go into enough depth. I picked this after having it recommended as the best single volume history of Rome. I'll continue searching to find one as well-written but more comprehensive and engaging.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
A broad historical overview from Etruscan Italy to the barbarian invasions in the 5th century AD. It's a pretty straightforward book, relatively short, and easy to read. There is an emphasis on wars, major political upheavals, emperors, and the like--the basic historical facts. But I enjoyed the chapters that investigated issues like class structure, the legal systems, arts and literature.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this is the book that the romans told me was good so i bought it. Michael grant has written a slew of books. they r all pretty good. i think this is his best work... eventhough i have not read them all :)
Christopher Earl
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Solid educational history of Ancient Rome
Leandro Cuccioli
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The must-read book if you want a comprehensive history of the Roman Empire. Wonderful.
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly presented, well organized. A good general history. A bit dated but the basic outline is all there in a bit easier to digest form than newer, deeper books.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really wanted to learn more about the Romans and was recommended this book. It contained an excellent overview and I enjoyed reading it.
Oct 26, 2013 added it
Excellent quick "romp" through Roman political/social history. You can read it in a a few days.
Alexandra Michel
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Read this before going on a trip to Rome and thought it was a pretty good quick history.
Monica Perez
Jan 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Surprisingly well written account of the entire history of Rome from the Etruscans to Constantine and beyond.
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. As most of Grant's work, it is scholarly without being heavy.
Oct 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-etc
1) Done. Donedonedonedonedone.

2) I just realized I finished this on the Ides of March, and I am glad.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
a wonderful book.
Nate Cahoon
A solid textbook. Connections are left to the reader as an exercise, and there's nothing poetic in the narrative. But it fills in a lot of blanks, even having been written 30+ years ago.
Christopher Earl
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Teaches you everything you need to know about Rome brilliant
Jim Talbott
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this before my first trip to Rome... I felt it added a lot to the trip. It's a great narrative history.
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Michael Grant was an English classisist, numismatist, and author of numerous popular books on ancient history. His 1956 translation of Tacitus’s Annals of Imperial Rome remains a standard of the work. He once described himself as "one of the very few freelances in the field of ancient history: a rare phenomenon". As a popularizer, his hallmarks were his prolific output and his unwillingness to ove ...more
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