The Book in one sentence
Going back to school for the history of Rome.
This book is an EXTREMELY academic view of the creation of Rome and its Emperors to a certain point. The book is broken down like a college course where you jump back and forth through centuries based on the topic of conversation (In fact while looking up something for this review I learned the book is Written by a professor at Oxford. So that makes sense). Not what I expected, but informative.
This book covers the history of Rome based on the SPQR - The Senate and the People of Rome. From the politics to leaders and how the Roman culture changed with the introduction of Dictators and the aversion of a King.
Why did I read this?
Mostly I chose this book because of the familiarity to SPQR phrase and how it is used in modern conversation. I also chose this because I want to know about the history that so influences democracy and our general way of life. Lastly, because I was given a precursor to this in a book called Echoes of Babylon.
This book is deep. Knowing now that the book was written by a professor it makes so much more sense. There are things in Roman history that I thought had a bigger significance, but from this book, it might have been a much smaller event than I expected/gleamed from the book.
Some of the most interesting things that I learned were more of the lack of real establishments as well as what we mentally picture of Rome is really Greek Culture that the Romans' adopted and coveted. Also, I don't understand how a group of people who hated kings could allow a Cesar. They are the same thing, right? At least we know that today.
I think that is also the item that I learned is that they constantly had a change of plan, change of leadership which would mean a change of business was run much more felt by the day to day people that we do here in America every 4 years.
The book is hard to read. If I had known that I was basically reading a textbook, it would have stayed in the ether. No way would I have picked it up, but that is what I get for choosing a book by its cover and title.
As a side note, I fully expected Hannibal to have a bigger part in the story of Rome as well as in the book, but he is basically a footnote.
SPQR gets a 2 because the books structure. While as a college professor it is important to group your conversation based on topic, I think this book would have been better represented by time periods and then topics. Example: pre-Cesar politics, war, etc. post-Cesar politics, war, etc.