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From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 BC to AD 68

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Scullard's clear and comprehensive narrative covers the period from 133 BC to 69 AD, exploring the decline and fall of the Republic, and the establishment of the Pax Romana under the early Principate. More than forty years after its first publication this masterful survey remains the standard textbook on the central period of Roman history. Scullard's clear and comprehensive narrative covers the period from 133 BC to 69 AD, exploring the decline and fall of the Republic, and the establishment of the Pax Romana under the early Principate. More than forty years after its first publication this masterful survey remains the standard textbook on the central period of Roman history.


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Scullard's clear and comprehensive narrative covers the period from 133 BC to 69 AD, exploring the decline and fall of the Republic, and the establishment of the Pax Romana under the early Principate. More than forty years after its first publication this masterful survey remains the standard textbook on the central period of Roman history. Scullard's clear and comprehensive narrative covers the period from 133 BC to 69 AD, exploring the decline and fall of the Republic, and the establishment of the Pax Romana under the early Principate. More than forty years after its first publication this masterful survey remains the standard textbook on the central period of Roman history.

30 review for From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 BC to AD 68

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Albert

    Well written and fairly engaging history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    High school textbook.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    Solid prose, great breadth, impeccable footnoting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy Lu

    This should be the first book for anyone interested in Roman history. It covers the entire history from the onset of civil instability in Republican Rome to the end of Julio Claudian dynasty of the Principate. Every note-worthy event happened in that period of time was thoroughly covered in this book. From Claudius onwards, the book did run a little dry at the end. However, that probably has more to do with the fact court intrigue just isn't that interesting compared to the political dynamics and This should be the first book for anyone interested in Roman history. It covers the entire history from the onset of civil instability in Republican Rome to the end of Julio Claudian dynasty of the Principate. Every note-worthy event happened in that period of time was thoroughly covered in this book. From Claudius onwards, the book did run a little dry at the end. However, that probably has more to do with the fact court intrigue just isn't that interesting compared to the political dynamics and military and social struggles in the preceding decades. Overall, a must-read for anyone who isn't satisfied with watching various documentaries and want to gain a real understanding of ancient Rome. It's a much better bang for the buck than buying individual biographies of famous Romans of that time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Cayley

    This was a standard A Level textbook when I studied ancient history almost 50 years ago. It is still an excellent and very readable overview of the decades which led to the end of the Roman republic, and of the period of the Julio-Claudian emperors. It covers military, constitutional, political, social, economic, religious and cultural affairs. The emphasis is very much on the male upper classes. Partly this reflects the sources, but a more modern treatment might have given more attention to wom This was a standard A Level textbook when I studied ancient history almost 50 years ago. It is still an excellent and very readable overview of the decades which led to the end of the Roman republic, and of the period of the Julio-Claudian emperors. It covers military, constitutional, political, social, economic, religious and cultural affairs. The emphasis is very much on the male upper classes. Partly this reflects the sources, but a more modern treatment might have given more attention to women and the lives of ordinary people.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Make sure your latin is up to date or that you have access to a dictionary. He occasionally throws in a quote that you'll want to translate. Very good history. Make sure your latin is up to date or that you have access to a dictionary. He occasionally throws in a quote that you'll want to translate. Very good history.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Will Everitt

    Caveat: This nerdish and extremely dry book is only for you if you have a complete fascination with Ancient Rome. If you don't, skip it and head straight to Mary Beard's SPQR. Caveat: This nerdish and extremely dry book is only for you if you have a complete fascination with Ancient Rome. If you don't, skip it and head straight to Mary Beard's SPQR.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dayla

    Cornelia is the mother of two of Rome's most benevolent leaders: the two Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. They took back lands from wealthy members of the senatorial class and then granted those lands to soldiers. They also restored land to peasants and provided subsidized grain for the needy. They also had the Republic pay for the clothing of its poorest soldiers. An anecdote related by Valerius Maximus demonstrates Cornelia's devotion to and admiration for her sons. When women fri Cornelia is the mother of two of Rome's most benevolent leaders: the two Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. They took back lands from wealthy members of the senatorial class and then granted those lands to soldiers. They also restored land to peasants and provided subsidized grain for the needy. They also had the Republic pay for the clothing of its poorest soldiers. An anecdote related by Valerius Maximus demonstrates Cornelia's devotion to and admiration for her sons. When women friends questioned Cornelia about her dress style and jewelry choices, which were far more simple and understated than was usual for a wealthy Roman woman, Cornelia indicated her two sons and said, "These are my jewels."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ian Boyd

    A great introduction to Roman history. Gives a succinct and interesting introduction and also gives great resources to continue your reading. Although, I could do with a translation of the latin quotes thrown in at random. I mean come on, the book obviously isn't written for experts. Why not throw in a translation of the damn latin you use! A great introduction to Roman history. Gives a succinct and interesting introduction and also gives great resources to continue your reading. Although, I could do with a translation of the latin quotes thrown in at random. I mean come on, the book obviously isn't written for experts. Why not throw in a translation of the damn latin you use!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frankie

    Very epic book, did like the bit where Caligula was assinated and H.H. Scullard epically owned him by saying "in January 41 Gaius [Caligula] was struck down in his palace and was despatched with thirty wounds. Few will have wept." Very epic book, did like the bit where Caligula was assinated and H.H. Scullard epically owned him by saying "in January 41 Gaius [Caligula] was struck down in his palace and was despatched with thirty wounds. Few will have wept."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aidan

    this man had a talent for summing up entire dissertations and research into a single sentence, and in an organizations manner. best survey on roman history.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bob Taylor

    This was the text for my Roman History course 35 years ago. Clear, very readable, presents a great mass of material in fewer than 500 pages. Warmly recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Albeit comprehensive, his audience is clearly upper-middle class Britain. His analysis of the Gracchi is particularly simplistic and paternalistic. Nevertheless, there's a lot here to digest. Albeit comprehensive, his audience is clearly upper-middle class Britain. His analysis of the Gracchi is particularly simplistic and paternalistic. Nevertheless, there's a lot here to digest.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter Harrison

    A dated and standard, but nonetheless interesting introduction to basic Roman history through the late Republic, civil wars, and the early Empire.

  15. 5 out of 5

    ✧・゚:* camels *:・゚✧

    highly informative !!! 11/10

  16. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    This book provides a thorough overview of Rome's transition from Republic to Empire. In it, Scullard first describes the internal politics, geography, and foreign policy of the Roman Republic at the time of the Gracchi brothers. He goes on to tell the stories of each brother without failing to detail the many other prominent Romans who played roles in the struggles. Scullard follows this same formula throughout the whole book: first he describes the environment, then he tells the stories. As som This book provides a thorough overview of Rome's transition from Republic to Empire. In it, Scullard first describes the internal politics, geography, and foreign policy of the Roman Republic at the time of the Gracchi brothers. He goes on to tell the stories of each brother without failing to detail the many other prominent Romans who played roles in the struggles. Scullard follows this same formula throughout the whole book: first he describes the environment, then he tells the stories. As someone who was at least vaguely familiar with all the major figures (the Gracchi, Marius, Sulla, Pompeii, Crassus, Caesar, then emperors from Augustus to Nero), this book helped me expand on my knowledge to get a more accurate and complete picture of why things played out the way that they did. The book has many footnotes and citations which allow the reader to follow up on almost any subject he/she may wish to. However, many of the references are academic papers which may be hard to track down for those without access to a university library. Even without examining the sources for myself, I appreciated the comments Scullard makes regarding the reliability of many of the sources, as well as making it clear when there is not a consensus among historians about certain events. This is especially valuable when working off of ancient sources that may have been influenced by politics (i.e. the harsh treatment Roman historians gave Tiberius, which may not have been deserved or accurate). As valuable as this book was, it is probably not the best introductory text for someone extremely new to Roman history. If I had not known in general how the story plays out, this book would probably have been too complete and thorough for me to understand. Those who don't recognize the names I listed in the first paragraph would probably do better to find a less academic book that is perhaps smaller in scope. That said, I think this would make a great book in an undergraduate course about Roman history. Overall, if you are interested in ancient Rome and would like to get a more nuanced and detailed idea about life and politics during the transition from Republic to Empire, this is an excellent book for you.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mathew Walls

    This book is apparently meant for highschool students, but it's less accessible than the Penguin translations of Plutarch's work, contains a lot of untranslated Latin and big chunks that are largely names and dates. It also jumps around a lot, skipping back and forward to focus on different things. And the Kindle version is made even harder to read by the numerous OCR errors and the fact that it's not correctly set up. For example, there is a table of contents that you can use to jump to differe This book is apparently meant for highschool students, but it's less accessible than the Penguin translations of Plutarch's work, contains a lot of untranslated Latin and big chunks that are largely names and dates. It also jumps around a lot, skipping back and forward to focus on different things. And the Kindle version is made even harder to read by the numerous OCR errors and the fact that it's not correctly set up. For example, there is a table of contents that you can use to jump to different sections, but there is no way to jump to the table of contents. Some parts of this book are interesting and informative, but they're punctuated by sections that are hard to read and unintersting. For anyone with a casual interest in ancient Rome, you're better off reading Plutarch. For anyone studying seriously, there have got to be better options than this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Siria

    This is a standard text for undergrads for a reason—Scullard's text provides a magisterial overview of two of the most critical centuries of Roman history, and actually helped me to grasp some of the ways in which economics impacted on contemporary political developments. It has to be read with caveats, however: its scholarship is almost three decades old now and has been superseded in several areas. A good starting point, but you'll always have to supplement it. This is a standard text for undergrads for a reason—Scullard's text provides a magisterial overview of two of the most critical centuries of Roman history, and actually helped me to grasp some of the ways in which economics impacted on contemporary political developments. It has to be read with caveats, however: its scholarship is almost three decades old now and has been superseded in several areas. A good starting point, but you'll always have to supplement it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Philip Koslow

    H.H.Scullard presents a grand and comprehensive overview of the political, military and cultural environment that was Rome during its transition from the Republic to the Imperial era. It is unfortunate that the Latin quotes are not translated for the untutored. Otherwise, the narrative, although unnecessarily tedious, is a good start for a patient reader just tipping their toe into the Roman world of antiquity. Last edited in 1982.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Dalton

    Had to read this for uni. An interesting read commencing at the reforms of the tribune Tiberius Gracchus and carrying through to the early stages of the Empire, when read in conjunction with the often biased work of Plutarch, one is able to develop a feel for the time and some of its central players. Quite enjoyable really for what I can ascertain is a well known text book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    George Hodgson

    This was a great first year university book. It contained however too many Latin phrases that were untranslated. I would recommend this book for students writing their first year classics history paper, which is why I purchased it for my son. A decent but not exciting read otherwise.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean Garrett

    A quick overview of the Julio-Claudian Emperors and how they came about, it fails in its inability to convey enough detail; a feat which would defeat the purpose of a quick overview. For anyone who is interested in a cursory study of Roman history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nick Wallace

    Another great overview from Scullard.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Anderson

    Continuation of the previous volume. Equally valuable.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donna Anoskey

    Excellent history of Rome during the change from Republic to Empire.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ainsley

    A magisterial account of this turbulent time in Roman History. The notes keep getting better and better as the editions keep being revised. If you need to quote a heavyweight, Scullard is your man.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

    Thorough and comprehensive but not that much fun. Pure history book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    An excellent overview of a thoroughly studied era. It definitely helped me on my thesis.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pete Miller

    Hugely useful book, as a secondary source it is the cornerstone of my canon of classical Roman history.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Farmer

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