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Paperback The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (C.1000-264 Bc) Book

ISBN: 0415015960

ISBN13: 9780415015967

The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (C.1000-264 Bc)

(Part of the Routledge History of the Ancient World Series)

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Book Overview

Using the results of archaeological techniques, and examining methodological debates, Tim Cornell provides a lucid and authoritative account of the rise of Rome.

The Beginnings of Rome offers insight on major issues such as:

Rome's relations with the Etruscans the conflict between patricians and plebeians the causes of Roman imperialism the growth of slave-based economy.

Answering the need for raising acute questions and providing...

Related Subjects

Ancient History Rome

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Don't walk run and buy this book!

This is one of the best books I have ever read. And I do not mean just books about ancient Rome or history books. I have read it three times and just for the kick of it. I am neuroscientist and not a classical scholar but I love history and this is history writing at its best: scholarly, fair, witty, and elegantly written (sometimes donwright dazzling). Cornell lets the readers into his secret cabinet and shows them the raw materials the professional historian works with. Amazingly, this does not detract from the magic of the "story" but makes it all the more enthralling. Don't walk run and buy this book!

Excellent background on the beginnings of Rome

A book that was much needed in the field. Scholarly but not overly pedantic and certainly not impenetrable. The author relies much archeology and offers no easy solutions to theoretical problems. The conclusions offered are in various shades of gray depending on the reliability and amount of evidence. However the reader should be aware that certain theories are being pushed here with which many might disagree. Rome certainly did not come from a monolithic source and the author provides a survey of the many cultures that inhabited that peninsula as well as the outside civilizations that colonized it. However the book is not without certain controversies. One of the author's great strengths in this book is his knowledge of current archaeological discoveries Etruria and in Latium as well as period of orientalization and early Iron Age. Thus, the book's greatest strength is its careful synthesis of historical and archaeological data for the period preceding the republic; and it is likewise excellent concerning Roman external affairs and conquest of Italy. Perhaps the books biggest weakness is its insufficiently critical treatment of the ancient literary sources . The book's 15 chapters are methodically presented and are augmented with very helpful illustrations and tables. A brief overview of human culture in Italy from the Bronze Age to the early Iron Age. The author's treatment of the importance of ascribing cultural difference between inhumation and cremation I personally found somewhat controversial. In this reviewers opinion he rightly dismisses some of the value of the written tradition of the formation of Rome. Further controversy is raised in chapter four with the authors contention that the clan did not proceed the city-state and heroic graves but were enmeshed together. It does give one something to think about. Yet another controversy offered in this book which personally I take issue with is the minimization of the influence of the Etruscans on Roman culture. Actually there is quite a bit to chew on here yet I do not what to dissuade the reader form picking it up. Just be aware that there is a lot of theory in this book some of which many academics might take issue. One thing the book successfully establishes is that by the beginning of the early third century B.C. Rome had acquired the political structure which laid the foundations for its later greatness. One would hope the reader after being inspired by this volume would look into authors that offer equally compelling alternative theories. Highly recommended.

First rate scholarly work

This is an excellent book that I think is primarily intended for a scholarly audience (experts in the field, professional historians and archaeologists, etc.) but is also very valuable to an interested amateur like myself.Cornell goes through the early history of Rome and sets out what the evidence is and what we can reliably conclude from it. One of the best features of the book is his willingness, all too rare even among scholars, to recognize when the evidence is inconclusive and to admit that we have no way of knowing the answer to a particular question. He is also clear about the limitations of archaeological data, and recognizes the way it is often misused to support historical theses when, in fact, it is rather the histoprical ideas that allow for the interpretation of the archaeologucal data in the first place.However, while Cornell is pretty good about presenting the narrative historical tradition, the book generally covers the history with fairly large brushstrokes and jumps from one large topic to another without trying to string together a coherent narrative. Because of this, this book is best used as a second reference on early Roman history. That is, it shouldn't be the first book you read on the topic. I think you'd be best served by first reading a good narrative history to provide the framework, and then read this work to fill in the details and show up any inaccuracies.It is well written and suprisingly readable, not at all dry. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who has some knowledge of early Roman history but would like to learn more about the "state of the art" in that field.

We've caught up!

Like Professor Cornell, I am a Romanist, and during the 1980s, I lived and worked in the old city. Doing so was a stimulus to read what was being written about archaic Rome by Italian and other scholars, and produced a sigh or two of discouragement: the ideas put forward in those works were not readily available to my students nor to non-academics who might have an interest in that period of Roman and Italian history. Professor Cornell has not only absorbed all those ideas, he has presented them and his own with clarity and insight, and has done so in a highly readable, occasionally piquant, style. If you're curious about the origin and early history of Rome, I can recommend no better introduction to and presentation of the best work being done, not to mention an insightful critique and development of much of it.

He is careful with the evidence.

I've read this book twice. The reason I love it, aside from the inherent interest of the subject, is that Professor Cornell is so careful with the evidence. He starts out by telling us exactly what the evidence IS, as well as what it is not. He then discusses the major theories in light of the evidence. When a theory is clearly the result of muddy thinking, unsupported by the facts, he says so. This rigor is wonderful and makes the book a joy to read.There are 15 chapters. From the first, introductory, chapter ("The Evidence") to the last ("Rome in the Age of the Italian Wars"), the book is well written and illuminates an era of history that has been dark for too long. For once, I agree with every word of the editorial reviews above. Buy this book and you will treasure it as I do.
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