Book Review by pompeius magnus
The founding of Rome is shrouded in mystery. There are many stories from the likes of Livy and Vergil which have many falacies as can be expected from a source such as them writing fully believing in the stories of Rome's founding. What really happened we can not know, but a great theory based on archaeology is given by British author and Oxford professor TJ Cornell whom furthers the dominance of the British in the study of Rome.
His book begins with an introduction describing the evidence including recent excavations that begin to bring us closer to understanding the mystery that is early Roma as well as going over the variety of sources that come from Rome herself as well as Greek people and gives a brief description of many of them. Cornell starts off with a great background of Italy including the languages that exsisted during the early days of Italy. Cornell then disects the various myths surrounding the founding of Rome as well as the early days of the city from the Sabines to the rise of the city state.
During this analysis Cornell goes through the problems of the city state following it up with maps of the projected set up of the Roman city state. Cornell gives invaluble info on the changes in customs during this time, such as the calander of Numa and the changes in funerary practises. A thourough examination of the myths of Etruscan Rome adds to the influx of knowledge that Cornell gives to the reader. A thorough description of the rise of rome, such as their building of their walls as their power began to rise in 6th century, leading into the roman republic provides insight into the last of the kings, Superbus and analyzes the problem of chronology.
An interesting description of other Italian republics gives you extra information not included in many readings if any on Rome. A very in depth obserrvation on the pleb and patrician relationship before the withdrawing from Rome of the plebs. The most interesting part of his work is the section on the twelve tablets. In no other work on Rome can you get the wealth of knowledge that Cornell throws at his readers as other works just dance aroung the tablets and do not give an indepth description or analysis of them.
Cornell does a great job with the growing power of Rome with their various wars with the Latin Neighbors with detailed maps showing the gradual growing power of Rome including the square miles, err meters you crazy brits with your meters, of the Latin cities compared to Rome. Then the Gallic invasion and its after math is described in great detail as well as the Roman recovery and the Roman expansion afterwards. The emancipation of the plebs completes the earlier description of the beginning of the plebian and patrician problems.
Cornell finishes his work off with the Saminite wars and the conquest of Italy, leading up to the Wars with Carthage, which Cornell chooses as his stopping point. The reason why this book is a must for any Roman history studier is the way it conveys information along with the text it shows a variety of images such as artifacts and detailed maps to show the various points he is being about. As a student this is a great start to the study of early rome as this book reads as both a text for both the most knowledgeable in this field, but also is easily understood for a student and casual reader, it combines both the aspect of archaelogy and history into an intriguing text that I recommend to all. This book is not available in book stores in America, but is available on Amazon. Reading this book will open your eyes and ears to the foundation of Rome.
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Tim J. Cornell (born 1946) is a British historian specializing in ancient Rome. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester, having retired from his teaching position in 2011. Cornell received his bachelor's degree in Ancient History, with first class honours, from University College London (1968) and his PhD in History from the University of London (1972). He was a student of Arnaldo Momigliano and wrote a dissertation entitled "Cato's Origines and the non-Roman historical tradition of ancient Italy".
He was a fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge (1973–75), Assistant Director of The British School at Rome (1975–77), lecturer and senior lecturer in Ancient History at University College London (1978–88, 1988–95). Between 1995 and 2011 he was a Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester, apart from a brief period as Director of the Institute of Classical Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London (2004-2006). Following his retirement in 2011, Cornell was made Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester.
Book Review of Beginnings Of Rome - Related Topic: Roman Emperor
Edited by Viggen