The scholarship on the history of Rome is vast; it would take many lifetimes to read it all. The rate of output, moreover, despite a long-term decline of the classics in schools and universities, has continued to rise: more new books on ancient history and classical archaeology now appear each year than ever before. This is not necessarily unalloyed progress. While knowledge of the ancient world certainly increases, understanding may not. Old texts are read more critically; new ones are unearthed in the desert; more settlements, cemeteries and hoards are revealed by archaeology. But while mastery of a growing body of evidence is one thing, the ability to fit it into a wider historical context is quite another. The first is mainly a matter of specialist scholarship; the latter requires social theory, and this, in the last generation, has been under sustained intellectual attack. Much recent secondary literature reflects the current postmodernist fashion for deconstructing unitary grand narratives and proclaiming instead a multiplicity of voices and discourses. While understanding of some aspects of the past has been advanced, our ability to fit all the pieces together into meaningful patterns has actually regressed.
The following notes, therefore, both because the literature is so vast and because so much is of limited value, are far from a comprehensive bibliography. I have restricted myself to the texts which I know and have found useful. The result is that readers are given a good indication of the sources of information and ideas mined for this book. They are also provided with some strong recommendations for further reading.
Books relevant to the content of more than one chapter are discussed in the general sections. Those used only in relation to one chapter – even if they in fact cover a longer period – are discussed in the relevant chapter sections. The editions cited are those actually used – the copies on my bookshelves.
General history and analysis
I still rate M. Cary’s A History of Rome, down to the reign of Constantine (1935, London, Macmillan) the best narrative history (and, as it happens, the original better than Scullard’s revised version). H.H. Scullard’s A History of the Roman World, 753 to 146 BC(1980, London, Methuen) and From the Gracchi to Nero: a history of Rome from 133 BC to AD 68 (1959, London, Methuen) are detailed traditional narratives, though, unlike Cary, interpretation is weak. E.T. Salmon’s A History of the Roman World, 30 BC to AD 138 (1968, London, Routledge) is also sound. M. Le Glay, J.-L. Voisin and Y. Le Bohec’s A History of Rome (2001, Oxford, Blackwell) is a well-established, though somewhat eccentric, textbook. T. Cornell and J. Matthews’s Atlas of the Roman World(1982, Amsterdam, Time Life) is more than its title implies, being a sound narrative history with good use of archaeological evidence. M. Grant’s The Routledge Atlas of Classical History (1994, 5th edn, London, Routledge) and C. Scarre’s The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome (1995, London, Penguin) are also useful. M. Crawford’s The Roman Republic (1992, London, Fontana) and C. Wells’s The Roman Empire (1992, London, Fontana) are valuable companion volumes, offering concise, up-to-date scholarly overviews. Encyclopaedic coverage is provided by The Cambridge Ancient History, volumes 7 to 12. Essentially a series of extended essays by leading specialists, some providing narrative, others discussing themes, the CAH is an exceptionally comprehensive reference. Interesting for their materialist analysis, though very dated, are M. Rostovtzeff’s Rome (1960, Oxford, OUP) and Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire (1926, Oxford, Clarendon). C.G. Starr’s The Roman Empire, 27 BC – AD 476 (1982, Oxford, OUP) is another stimulating overview. G.E.M. de Ste Croix’s The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World (1981, London, Duckworth) is a superb and seminal Marxist analysis of classical antiquity. P.A. Brunt’s Social Conflicts in the Roman Republic (1986, London, Hogarth) is a concise yet penetrating analysis of both the Struggle of the Orders and the Roman Revolution. L. Keppie’s The Making of the Roman Army: from Republic to Empire (1984, London, Batsford) is a sound account of the evolution of the army up to the 1stcentury AD. P. Connolly’s Greece and Rome at War (1981, London, Macdonald) uses archaeological evidence to trace the history of the Roman army from its origins to the fifth century AD. D. Williams’s The Reach of Rome: a history of the Roman imperial frontier, 1st–5th centuries AD (1996, London, Constable) is excellent on the history and archaeology of the frontiers. P. Matyszak’s The Enemies of Rome: from Hannibal to Attila the Hun (2004, London, Thames & Hudson) provides a handy set of narratives, but without any real understanding of the forces at work. E.N. Luttwak’s The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire, from the 1st century AD to the 3rd (1979, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins) is an analysis of Roman imperial defence policy.
General archaeology and culture
P. Jones and K. Sidwell’s The World of Rome: an introduction to Roman culture (1997, Cambridge, CUP) is excellent, while P. Connolly and H. Dodge’s The Ancient City: life in Classical Athens and Rome (1998, Oxford, OUP) is very good on the archaeology of ancient Rome. Though old, J. Carcopino’s Daily Life in Ancient Rome: the people and the city at the height of the empire (1956, Harmondsworth, Penguin) is a superb window on everyday life. M.I. Finley’s The Ancient Economy (1992, London, Penguin) is invaluable in the light it throws on how the ancient world actually worked. J. Ferguson’s The Religions of the Roman Empire (1970, London, Thames & Hudson) is sound, as is K. Dowden’s Religion and the Romans (1992, Bristol, Bristol Classical). R. MacMullen’s Paganism in the Roman Empire (1981, New Haven, Yale) tries to get beneath the skin of Roman religion. R.E.M. Wheeler’s Roman Art and Architecture (1964, London, Thames & Hudson) remains a superb short introduction. M.I. Finley’s (ed.)Atlas of the Classical World (1977, London, Chatto & Windus) is a good general archaeological reference. On the archaeology of Italy generally, T.W. Potter’s Roman Italy (1987, London, British Museum) offers a good overview. On Pompeii, A.E. Cooley and M.G.L. Cooley’s Pompeii: a sourcebook (2004, London, Routledge) is a useful collection of inscriptions, and M. Grant’s Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii and Herculaneum (1976, Harmondsworth, Penguin) is still a fine general introduction to the archaeology. Also good are J.J. Deiss’s Herculaneum: Italy’s buried treasure (1989, California, John Paul Getty Museum) and A. Wallace-Hadrill’s Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (1994, Princeton, Princeton University). Among the countless studies of other regions, provinces and cities of the Roman Empire, I have found the following useful: S. Keay’s Roman Spain (1988, London, British Museum); A. King’s Roman Gaul and Germany (1990, London, British Museum); N. Lewis’s Life in Egypt under Roman Rule(1983, Oxford, Clarendon); S. Raven’s Rome in Africa (1969, London, Evans Brothers); P. Salway’s A History of Roman Britain (1997, Oxford, OUP); and Iain Browning’s three studies, Palmyra (1979, London, Chatto & Windus), Jerash and the Decapolis(1982, London, Chatto & Windus), and Petra (1989, 3rd edn, London, Chatto & Windus). On the other hand, Richard Reece’s My Roman Britain (1988, Cirencester, Cotswold Studies) can be recommended to all those who wish to avoid misuse of archaeological evidence.
The two key texts for the mythological account of the origins of Rome and the Romans are Virgil’s The Aeneid (trans. W.F. Jackson Knight, 1958, Harmondsworth, Penguin) and Book 1 of Livy’s The Early History of Rome (trans. A. de Sélincourt, 1960, Harmondsworth, Penguin). Useful critical discussion of these texts can be found in J. Griffin’s Virgil (1986, Oxford, OUP), R. Jenkyns’ Classical Epic: Homer and Virgil (1992, London, Bristol Classical Press), and P.G. Walsh’s Livy: his historical aims and methods (1989, Bristol, Bristol Classical Press). M.C. Howatson’s (ed.) The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (1989, Oxford, OUP) is also useful. There are handy short summaries on the sources for early Roman history in M. Cary’s A History of Rome down to the reign of Constantine (1935, London, Macmillan), R.M. Ogilvie’s Early Rome and the Etruscans (1976, London, Fontana), and M. Crawford’s The Roman Republic (1992, London, Fontana).
R.M. Ogilvie’s Early Rome and the Etruscans (1976, London, Fontana) is a generally sensible short introduction to the period c. 650 to 390 BC, but it is overly preoccupied with some rather arcane scholarly debates, and the interpretation of events is often weak. A far more reliable and up-to-date study is T.J. Cornell’s The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000–264 BC) (1995, London, Routledge); a recent work of high scholarship, this is now the main academic reference for the history of early Rome. M. Pallottino’s The Etruscans (1955, Harmondsworth, Penguin) is still a good introductory book, while A. Boëthius’s Etruscan and Early Roman Architecture (1978, Harmondsworth, Penguin) is a standard work, and N. Spivey’sEtruscan Art(1997, London, Thames & Hudson) is a concise introduction. R.R. Holloway’s The Archaeology of Early Rome and Latium (1996, London, Routledge) is a comprehensive and well-illustrated summary of archaeo-logical evidence, while T.W. Potter’s The Changing Landscape of South Etruria (1979, London, Paul Elek) summarizes the results of a major landscape project immediately north of Rome. Victor Davis Hanson’s The Western Way of War: infantry battle in Classical Greece (1989, London, Hodder & Stoughton) is an excellent analysis of hoplite warfare. The Celtic or Gaulish background is well covered in T.G.E. Powell’s The Celts (1983, London, Thames & Hudson), B. Cunliffe’s The Ancient Celts (1999, London, OUP), and S. James’sExploring the World of the Celts (1993, London, Thames & Hudson).
W.V. Harris’s War and Imperialism in Republican Rome, 327–70 BC (1985, Oxford, OUP) is a masterful study in which the evidence is assembled to demonstrate Republican Rome’s essentially aggressive and predatory character. E.T. Salmon’s Roman Colonisation under the Republic (1969, London, Thames & Hudson) is the standard work on colonies. J.G. Pedley’s Paestum: Greeks and Romans in Southern Italy (1990, London, Thames & Hudson) provides an insight into the archaeology and multicultural civilization of southern Italy. R. Meiggs’s Roman Ostia (1973, Oxford, OUP) is the standard work on this very important site. J.K. Davies’ Democracy and Classical Greece (1993, London, Fontana) and F.W. Walbank’s The Hellenistic World (1992, London, Fontana) provide good introductions to the Greek world, while M.I. Finley’s A History of Sicily: Ancient Sicily to the Arab Conquest (1968, London, Chatto & Windus) contains rich insights into the decay of Greek civilization. Possibly the two best books on the Punic Wars are B. Craven’s The Punic Wars (1980, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and A. Goldsworthy’s The Punic Wars (2000. London, Cassell). The ancient accounts in Polybius (The Rise of the Roman Empire, trans. I. Scott-Kilvert, 1979, Harmondsworth, Penguin) and Livy (The War with Hannibal, trans. A. de Sélincourt, 1965, Harmondsworth, Penguin) are highly accessible. A. Goldsworthy’s Cannae (2001, London, Cassell) offers a vivid reconstruction of ancient combat.
The literature on the Late Republic is huge. R. Syme’s The Roman Revolution (1960, Oxford, OUP) is seminal. T. Holland’s Rubicon: the triumph and tragedy of the Roman Republic (2003, London, Little, Brown) has been deservedly praised: when has Roman history ever been such a compelling and convincing read? M. Parenti’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar: a people’s history of ancient Rome (2003, New York, New Press) is an excellent read and a refreshingly acerbic indictment of the Late Republican ruling class, but the analysis of Caesar and what he represented is naïve. K. Hopkins’s Conquerors and Slaves (1978, Cambridge, CUP) is an excellent analysis of slavery under the Republic by someone who is both classicist and sociologist. Also valuable on slavery are K. Bradley’s Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World, 140 BC – 70 BC (1989, London, Batsford) and Slavery and Society at Rome (1994, Cambridge, CUP). The standard work on the vexed question of citizenship is A.N. Sherwin-White’s The Roman Citizenship(1973, Oxford, OUP), while J.P.V.D. Balsdon’s Romans and Aliens (1979, London, Duckworth) is a superb exposé of the snobbery and prejudice that permeated Roman society. Several of the leading figures of the Late Republic have attracted modern biographies. Among the more important are Peter Greenhalgh’s Pompey: the Roman Alexander (1980, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and Christian Meier’s Caesar (1996, London, Fontana), though J.P.V.D. Balsdon’s Julius Caesar and Rome (1967, London, English Universities) and Michael Grant’s Julius Caesar (1972, London, Granada) are good, concise, serviceable accounts.
There are good biographies of all the Julio-Claudian emperors, notably P. Southern’s Augustus (1998, Routledge, London), B. Levick’s Tiberius the Politician (1986, Beckenham, Croom Helm), A.A. Barrett’s Caligula: the corruption of power (1993, London, Batsford), B. Levick’s Claudius (1993, London, Batsford), and M.T. Griffin’s Nero: the end of a dynasty (1987, London, Batsford). Also of great value are D. Earl’s The Age of Augustus (1968, London, Elek) and the excellent Open University sourcebook by K. Chisholm and J. Ferguson, Rome: the Augustan Age (1981, Oxford, OUP). P. Garnsey and R. Saller’s The Roman Empire: economy, society and culture (1987, London, Duckworth) is good on the mechanics of the Early Empire. G. Woolf’s Becoming Roman: the origins of provincial civilisation in Gaul (1998, Cambridge, CUP) is a scholarly study of the Romanization process, while M. Millett’s The Romanization of Britain: an essay in archaeological interpretation (1992, Cambridge, CUP) is equally good but using archaeological evidence. The First Jewish War and the Palestinian background are covered in my Apocalypse: the great Jewish revolt against Rome, AD 66–73 (2002, Stroud, Tempus). Trajan’s Dacian Wars are well covered by a combination of Frank Lepper and Sheppard Frere’s Trajan’s Column (1988, Gloucester, Alan Sutton), a scholarly study of the sculptures, and Peter Connolly’s Tiberius Claudius Maximus: the Legionary (1988a, Oxford, OUP) and Tiberius Claudius Maximus: the Cavalryman (1988b, Oxford, OUP), which are popular illustrated books aimed at older children.
The best narrative account of the first part of this period is H.M.D. Parker’s A History of the Roman World from AD 138 to 337 (1935, London, Methuen), whereas a more thematic approach to the same period is offered by P. Southern’s The Roman Empire from Severus and Constantine (2001, London, Routledge). Overlapping with these studies but taking the story up to the beginning of the 7th century are the magisterial volumes of A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284–60: a social, economic and administrative survey (2 vols, 1986, Oxford, Blackwell), and The Decline of the Ancient World (1966, London, Longmans), which is effectively a précis of the former. Another narrative history, J.B. Bury’s History of the Later Roman Empire from the death of Theodosius I to the death of Justinian (2 vols, 1958, New York, Dover), covers the period AD 395 to 565, again in exceptional detail. Other important studies of the period include P. Brown’s The World of Late Antiquity (1971, London, Thames & Hudson) andThe Making of Late Antiquity (1993, London, Harvard), A. Cameron’s The Later Roman Empire, AD 284–430 (1993, London, Fontana) and The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity, AD 395–600 (1993, London, Routledge), and B. Ward-Perkins’s The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilisation (2005, Oxford, OUP). M. Maas’s Readings in Late Antiquity: a sourcebook (2000, London, Routledge) is a handy collection. Good imperial biographies for this period include A.R. Birley’s Septimius Severus: the African emperor (1999, London, Routledge), S. Williams’s Diocletian and the Roman Recovery (2000, London, Routledge), A.H.M. Jones’s Constantine and the Conversion of Europe (1948, London, Hodder & Stoughton), J. Holland Smith’s Constantine the Great(1971, New York, Charles Scribner’s), and S. Williams and G. Friell’s Theodosius: the empire at bay (1994, London, Batsford). R. MacMullen makes many interesting observations in Corruption and the Decline of Rome (1988, New Haven, Yale University). My The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain (2000, Stroud, Tempus) offers an archaeological case-study, and the archaeology of Late Roman towns generally is covered in John Rich’s (ed.) The City in Late Antiquity (1992, London, Routledge) and J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman City (2003, Oxford, OUP). E. Hobsbawm’s Bandits (1972, Harmondsworth, Penguin) is an important work of historical sociology with real value in understanding the hidden history of the Late Roman Empire. N. Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium: revolutionary millenarians and mystical anarchists of the Middle Ages (1970, London, Paladin) may be useful in getting a grip on the true character of groups like the North African circumcelliones. Disease and Roman responses to it are covered in R. Jackson’s Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire (1995, London, British Museum).