Kevin's Reviews > The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World's Greatest Empire

The Rise of Rome by Anthony Everitt
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liked it

I quoted these lines aloud to my wife and we laughed:

* "the powerful Greek foundation of Cumae, then under the eccentric but highly effective rule of an effeminate despot who first made his name as a male prostitute, Aristodemus the Queen"
* "They were fighting Jugurtha, a very able but unscrupulous grandson of the old Numidian king Masinissa."

... this book has a thousand of 'em. It was enjoyable reading, just letting the phrases roll by: the crazy improbable facts which, are as much poetry as they are history.

Late one night I was dwelling on history, and I had an intuitive vision:

Recorded history goes back about 5,000 years, at most. And the earliest history is very vague, basically odd facts and legends and not lucid in that way that modern history is.

However, anthropologists and archeologists tells us that "modern" human history goes back about 100,000 years, and humans became distinct from the apes about 1-2 million years ago ...

So in my vision I just saw the endless procession: kings following wars following kings following wars, 99% of which we have completely forgotten. Take this book with all its details about wars and "effeminate despots", each one of which real requires a book of their own but which it glosses over in a sentence or a paragraph ... multiply this infinitely and just contemplate ... what does it all mean?

My basic critique of Anthony Everett's book is that, I think it's good at telling the stories of Roman history but it's short on figuring it all out.

There are so many books about Rome, there must be better books out there.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 6, 2014 – Shelved
November 6, 2014 – Finished Reading

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