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    The young student many times begins his or her studies of ancient Rome by learning only about the famous personalities, the pivotal dates, and the crucial battles. This might leave the student with the sterile impression that the ancient history of Rome was only about shining marble buildings, clean tidy roads, great orators, conquering generals, countless decadent emperors, and innumerable grand monuments.

     

    Too often, the mud and the grime, the pungent and putrid odors, the deafening noise from the crowded bustling streets, the many foreign tongues heard at the busy markets, and the sounds and confusion of any major ancient city are forgotten. Only later the student might want to learn the true nitty-gritty of everyday life for the ordinary resident of Rome.

     

    ...continue to the full review of The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy by Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

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    Book Review by Thomas A. Timmes 
     
    Following his widely acclaimed hit series, Marius’ Mules, noted author and historian S.J.A. Turney continues to research and write highly popular novels. With over twenty successful books to his credit, Praetorian: The Great Game is book one of a brand-new series. Book two, Praetorian: The Price of Treason, was released in December 2015, and book three should follow shortly.  Praetorian: The Great Game is not a book for the faint of heart! But if you enjoy reading non-stop action and breathtaking suspense, this book is for you. Written to please Romanophiles and historians alike, each chapter is a masterpiece of imagery, composition, and solid historical research...
     
    ...continue to the review of Praetorian: The Great Game by S.J.A. Turney
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    Review by Ian Hughes
     
    If a member of the public was to be asked the question of when the Roman Empire fell, the usual answer would be centred on events in the fifth century, and some may even give the specific date of 476 – the year when the last emperor in Rome was overthrown. For many scholars this is an unacceptable situation, as they know that the Roman Empire in the East continued into the next millennium, never mind the next century.
     
    Part of the reason for this state of affairs is a legacy of the historians of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries. For them the Eastern Roman Empire – now known as the Byzantine Empire – was a degenerate, money-loving, corrupt entity dominated by court intrigue and eunuchs: a far cry from the majesty of Rome in the first century AD. In his new book Byzantine historian Jonathan Harris asks the question of why, if the inhabitants were as lazy, corrupt and inefficient as usually depicted, could their empire have lasted for nearly a thousand years longer than its Western counterpart...
     
    ...continue to the review of The Lost World of Byzantium by Jonathan Harris
     
    p.s. interview with the author coming soon!
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    Book Review by Michael Mates
     
    The course of Empire often runs like a normal distribution curve, with success and failure measured on the vertical axis, and time, usually a few centuries or so, on the horizontal. The Byzantine Empire, by contrast, looks like a sine wave, a succession of up-and-down roller coaster curves, lasting 1,123 years, from the foundation of Constantinople in 330 AD to its fall in 1453. (The Byzantines themselves, with some justification as self-described Romans, would claim 1,480 years, from the establishment of the Roman Empire in 27 BC.)
     
    Romane’s book examines one of the political-military high points, the period from 959 to 1025, showing how the Empire benefitted from relative stability of rule; protection of core territories; strategic use of tribute; and skilled use of heavy cavalry, combined-arms tactics, siege warfare, stable rule (with only one emperor assassinated during the period), and clever and profitable alliances to ensure survival...
     
    ...continue to the review of Byzantium Triumphant: The Military History of the Byzantines 959-1025 by Julian Romane
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    In her new book, SPQR, Mary Beard writes about the history of the first millennium of ancient Rome – roughly covering the period of time from Rome’s foundation, on the implausibly precise date of 21 April 753 BCE, to the year 212 CE when the Emperor Caracalla made every free inhabitant of the Roman Empire a full Roman citizen. Yet she chose to begin the book roughly three-quarters of the way into that millennium, with a discussion of the suppression of the Catiline rebellion by Cicero in 63 BCE. Why did she do that?
     
    ...continue to the review of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
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    First part in our emperor series on Elagabalus` life
     
    Only one emperor has managed to surpass Caligula's reputation for deranged behaviour and homicidal debauchery, and that is the man who takes his name from the god he attempted to impose on Rome – Elagabalus. During his four-year rule, Elagabalus' behaviour alternately outraged and delighted the people of Rome, while behind the scenes the Roman empire was competently governed by his mother and grandmother. It was only when these two women fell out that Elagabalus' short but flamboyant reign was brought to an end...
     
    ...continue to the full article on Elagabalus - Origins of a Syrian Emperor
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    Well it’s another presidential election year in the good ole US of A! Fun and games; reality TV at its finest! Will the voters choose the Trump card? Will America’s favorite socialist get high Marx on Election Day? Will the Republicans host a broken convention? Uh, sorry – brokered.  Or will it simply be politics as unusual?  Seems like a particularly appropriate time to revisit Democracy’s Beginning, which is the title of Thomas Mitchell’s excellent book. The book tells how far democracy has come in the last 2,500 years, give or take, from its birthplace in Athens. And it has come a long way indeed! To the modern mind, it’s hard to imagine such primitive practices as...
     
    ...continue to the review of Democracy's Beginning: The Athenian Story by Thomas N. Mitchell
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    What does the horse mean to you? A beast of burden? A cultural symbol? A faithful pet or companion? Or perhaps something to wager upon every weekend? The relationship between man and horse is a long one and for many, it's the romantic ideal of that relationship that is more important than the actual result. It does seem however that our concepts of that relationship date from much more recent times.  But Duncan Noble isn't talking about our modern experience. He goes right back to the very beginning of our relationship with the horse and in particular its place and function in military pursuits...
     
    ...continue to the review of Dawn of the Horse Warriors by Duncan Noble
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    The Anglo-Saxon World by Nicholas J Higham & Martin J Ryan
     
    Book Review by caldrail
     
    As we look around the British landscape we often see evidence of former times. Crude stone monuments to our distant prehistoric ancestors. Hill forts of the Bronze and Iron Ages. The regular stone foundations and occasional walls of Roman civilization. Huge churches and castles of the Middle Ages. Yet there is a long period of history that hasn't really left much in the way of permanent reminder, a period of history we often call the Dark Ages. Anglo-Saxon Britain...
     
    ...continue to the full review of The Anglo-Saxon World by Nicholas J Higham & Martin J Ryan
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    The Baiuvarii and Thuringi by Fries-Knoblach, Steuer and Hines
     
    Book Review by Ian Hughes
     
    Following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire there is a scarcity of written sources with which to trace the emergence of the ‘barbarian’ kingdoms which arose on Rome’s ashes. This resulted in historians calling this period the ‘Dark Ages’, due to the lack of light that written sources could have shone on the period. Although the term ‘Dark Ages’ has now been superseded and is seen as being too simplistic, there remains the problem of piecing together a chronology for the period stretching from the mid-fourth to the tenth century from the scraps of information in the written sources and archaeology. Thankfully, recent breakthroughs in the interpretation of both the written and the archaeological evidence has resulted in major headway being made in the analysis of the period....
     
    ...continue to the review of The Baiuvarii and Thuringi by Fries-Knoblach, Steuer and Hines
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