Ancient History & Civilisation

Rome: Empire of the Eagles, 753 BC – AD 476

Rome: Empire of the Eagles, 753 BC – AD 476

The Roman Empire is widely admired as a model of civilisation. However, in this compelling new study Neil Faulkner argues that in fact, it was nothing more than a ruthless system of robbery and violence. War was used to enrich the state, the imperial ruling classes and favoured client groups. In the process millions of people were killed or enslaved.

Within the empire the landowning elite creamed off the wealth of the countryside to pay taxes to the state and fund the towns and villas where they lived. The masses of people – slaves, serfs and poor peasants – were victims of a grand exploitation that made the empire possible. This system, riddled with tension and latent conflict, contained the seeds of its own eventual collapse.


Note on ancient monetary values - Maps


Chapter 1 - The making of an imperial city-state, c. 750–367 BC

The people of Romulus: the Latin chiefdom, c. 750–625 BC

City of the Tarquins: the Etruscan city-state, c. 625–509 BC

Sixty years of strife: the patrician regime, c. 509–449 BC

Hubris and Nemesis: the divided Republic, c. 449–367 BC

Chapter 2 - The rise of a superpower, 343–146 BC

The conquest of Central Italy: the Latin and Samnite Wars, 343–290 BC

The conquest of Southern Italy: the Pyrrhic War, 280–275 BC

The conquest of Sicily: the First Punic War, 264–241 BC

Enemy at the gates: the Second Punic War, 218–202 BC

The conquest of the Mediterranean: the Macedonian Wars, 200–146 BC

Chapter 3 - The Roman revolution, 133–30 BC

A failed revolution: the Gracchi, 133–122 BC

A popular general: the supremacy of Marius, 107–88 BC

A reactionary general: the supremacy of Sulla, 88–79 BC

The rising sun: the supremacy of Pompey, 77–60 BC

Crossing the Rubicon: the First Triumvirate, the Civil War, and the dictatorship of Caesar, 59–44 BC

A new Caesar: the Second Triumvirate, 43–31 BC

Chapter 4 - The Pax Romana, 30 BC–AD 161

The new order: the reign of Augustus, 30 BC–AD 14

The limits of power: the Julio-Claudian emperors, AD 14–68

The limits of Empire: the year of four emperors and the Flavian dynasty, AD 69–96

A brief golden age: Trajan, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, AD 98–161

Chapter 5 - The decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire

The military monarchy: Marcus Aurelius, Commodus and Septimius Severus, AD 161–211

The Anarchy: from Caracalla to Diocletian, AD 211–284

The Late Roman counter-revolution: Diocletian, the Tetrarchy and Constantine the Great, AD 284–337

Town and country in decline: the House of Constantine and the House of Valentinian, AD 337–378

End of Empire: from Theodosius to Romulus Augustulus, AD 379–476



Bibliographical notes