A History of the Roman People  book cover
7th Edition

A History of the Roman People

ISBN 9781138724693
Published May 13, 2019 by Routledge
782 Pages

USD $120.00

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Book Description

A History of the Roman People offers students a comprehensive, up-to-date, readable introduction to the whole span of Roman history. Richly illustrated, this fully updated volume takes readers through the mists of Roman prehistory and a survey of the peoples of pre-Roman Italy to a balanced, thoughtful account of the complexities of the Roman Republic, its evolution into a full-fledged empire, and its ultimate decline. This latest edition enhances the political narrative with explorations of elements of daily life in the Roman world.

New features in this edition include:

  • Addition of boxes that expand on interesting elements of Roman culture mentioned only in passing in the main text. The visual arrangement of the text helps students bear in mind what is supplemental to the central narrative
  • Increased emphasis on the contributions of women to Roman society and in religious matters
  • Incorporation of recent archaeological finds and current debates

A History of the Roman People is an excellent introduction for those with no background in Roman history. Its clear, accessible language makes it perfect for undergraduate readers in courses on Roman history and Roman culture. More experienced students wanting to expand their knowledge will also find it a rich resource for the full sweep of Roman antiquity.

Table of Contents

List of figures


Chapter 1

Roman History: Its Geographic and Human Foundations

Introduction to Roman History


The Peoples and Cultures of Pre-Roman Italy

The Peoples of Italy ca. 750 to 400 B.C.E.

The Greater Picture

Chapter 2

Phoenicians, Greeks, and Etruscans in Pre-Roman Italy

The Phoenicians

Tyre and Its Colonies

Greek Colonization

Decline of the Greek Cities in Italy and Sicily

The Etruscans

The Land of the Etruscans

Sources for Etruscan History

Etruscan Economic Life

Etruscan Cities and Their Sociopolitical Organization

Women and the Etruscan Family

Etruscan Culture and Religion

Etruscan Art and Architecture

The Role of the Etruscans in Roman History

The Fate of the Etruscans


Chapter 3

Early Rome to 500 B.C.E.

The Ancient Literary Tradition and Its Sources

Reconstructing Early Roman History

The Early Roman State

The General Picture

Chapter 4

Early Roman Society, Religion, and Values

The Principle of Hierarchy

The Family

Patrons and Clients

Slaves and Freedmen

Roman Names and the Gens

Classes in Roman Society

The Openness of Early Roman Society to Outsiders

Early Roman Religion

The State, Religion, and War

The Values of Early Roman Society

Overview and Significance

Chapter 5

From Tyrant Kings to Oligarchic Republic, 509 to 287 B.C.E.

Sources of Information for Early Republican History

From Kingship to Republic, ca. 510 to ca. 490 B.C.E.

The Early Form of the Republic

The Priesthoods and Priestly Colleges

The Dynamics of Change, 509 to 287 B.C.E.

Growing Plebeian Identity and Rights, ca. 500 to ca. 400 B.C.E.

A New Period of Reform, 367 to 287 B.C.E.

The Oligarchic Realities of the Roman Republican Constitution after 287 B.C.E.

Chapter 6

The Roman Conquest of Italy and Its Impact, 509 to 264 B.C.E.

Conflicts with Immediate Neighbors

The Gallic Sack of Rome

Up from Defeat

Initial Conquests in Central Italy

The Roman System of Alliances and Citizen Communities

Renewed War and Conquests in Central Italy

The Pyrrhic Wars and the Conquest of Peninsular Italy

The Manipular Army

The Economic, Social, and Cultural Impact of Roman Expansion in Italy by 264 B.C.E.

Rome’s Rise Surveyed and Explained

Chapter 7

The First Punic War, Northern Italy, and Illyrian Pirates, 264 to 219 B.C.E.

Sources for Roman History from 264 to 133 B.C.E.

A New Chapter in Rome’s Expansion


Sicily and the Outbreak of the First Punic War, 264 B.C.E.

Initial Carthaginian Setbacks, 263 and 262 B.C.E.

Expansion of the War

A Titanic Struggle, 260 to 241 B.C.E.

The Truceless War and Roman Trickery, 241 to 238 B.C.E.

Roman Conquests in Northern Italy

The Pirates of Illyria, 229 and 228 B.C.E.

Renewed War with the Gauls, 225 to 220 B.C.E.

Pirates Again, 220 to 219 B.C.E.

Rome’s Rise as a Mediterranean Power Surveyed

Chapter 8

War with Hannibal: The Second Punic War, 218 to 201 B.C.E.

Carthaginian Recovery after 238 B.C.E.

The Ebro Treaty

Hannibal and the Outbreak of the Second Punic War

Causes of the Second Punic War

Hannibal’s War Strategy

Roman War Plans

Hannibal’s March to the Alps

Hannibal’s Early Victories, 218 and 217 B.C.E.

Fabius Maximus, Cunctator, 217 B.C.E.

The Battle of Cannae, 216 B.C.E.

Further Carthaginian Successes

The Roman Recovery

The First Macedonian War, 215 to 205 B.C.E.

The War in Spain, 218 to 211 B.C.E.

Scipio Africanus

The Battle at the Metaurus and the Death of Hasdrubal, 207 B.C.E.

The End Approaches

The Battle of Zama (Naraggara), 202 B.C.E.

Peace Terms

Overview and Reasons for Roman Success

Aftermath and the Fate of Hannibal

Chapter 9

Roman Imperialism East and West, 200 to 133 B.C.E.

Provincial Governors

Roman Imperialism in the East

Antiochus III (the Great) of Syria and Philip V of Macedon

The Second Macedonian War, 200 to 196 B.C.E.

The Aggressions of Antiochus III (the Great), 196 to 192 B.C.E.

The War with Antiochus III (the Great), 192 to 188 B.C.E.

The Third Macedonian War, 171 to 168/167 B.C.E.

Rome and the Hellenistic East after Pydna (168 B.C.E.)

Roman Imperialism in the West, 200 to 133 B.C.E.

Northern Italy

Successes and Failures in Spain

The Third Punic War, 149 to 146 B.C.E.

The Viriathic and Numantine Wars in Spain, 151 to 133 B.C.E.E.

Overview and Assessment

Chapter 10

The Transformation of Roman Life, 264 to 133 B.C.E.

The Impact of War and Overseas Expansion on Small Farmers

Coinage and the Monetization of the Economy

The Growth of Trade, Cities, Industry, and Commerce

Social Change and Discontent

Political Developments

Overview and Assessment

Chapter 11

The Great Cultural Synthesis, 264 to 133 B.C.E.

Architecture and Art


Specialization in Genres

Prose Literature





Overview and Prospect

Chapter 12

The Gracchi and the Struggle over Reforms, 133 to 121 B.C.E.

Sources for the Period of the Gracchi, 133 to 121 B.C.E.

Mounting Problems

The Tribuneship of Tiberius Gracchus, 133 B.C.E.

Tiberius’ Motives

The Land Commission and Its Impact

Rome’s Allies and the Death of Scipio

Gaius Gracchus, Tribune of the Plebs, 123 to 122 B.C.E.

The Reforms of Gaius Gracchus

Livius Drusus

The Fall and Death of Gaius Gracchus

The Popularis Political Legacy of the Gracchi

Chapter 13

Destructive Rivalries, Marius, and the Social War, 121 to 88 B.C.E.

Sources for the Period from 121 to 88 B.C.E.

Populares and Optimates

The Senatus Consultum Ultimum

Post-Gracchan Land Legislation

Other Internal Matters

The Imperial Background to Domestic Politics

The Popularis Rise of Gaius Marius (157 to 86 B.C.E.)

The Slave Revolt in Sicily, 104 to 100 B.C.E.

Piracy in the Eastern Mediterranean

The Political Fall of Marius

A Decade of Optimate Domination

The Explosive Reforms of M. Livius Drusus the Younger, 91 B.C.E.

The Italian, or Social, War, 90 to 88 B.C.E.

The Aftermath of the Social War

Chapter 14

Civil War and Sulla’s Reactionary Settlement, 88 to 78 B.C.E.

Sources for the Years 88 to 78 B.C.E.

Mithridates VI Eupator (134 to 63 B.C.E.)

The Rise of Sulla (138 to 78 B.C.E.)

Cinna’s Consulship, 87 B.C.E.

Marius and His Reign of Terror

The Significance of Marius

Cinna’s Time (Cinnanum Tempus)

Sulla and the East, 87 to 84 B.C.E.

Sulla’s Return to Italy, 83 to 82 B.C.E.

Sulla’s Reign of Terror, 82 B.C.E.

Sulla’s Dictatorship and Political Reforms

The Failure of Sulla

Chapter 15

Personal Ambitions: The Failure of Sulla’s Optimate Oligarchy, 78 to 60 B.C.E.

Sources for Roman History from 78 to 30 B.C.E.

The Rise of Pompey the Great (106 to 48 B.C.E.), 78 to 71 B.C.E.

The Great (Third) Mithridatic War (74/73 to 63 B.C.E.) and Lucullus’ Bid for Glory,
74 to 66 B.C.E.

Crassus Seeks Advantage in the Slave War against Spartacus in Italy, 73 to 71 B.C.E.

The Consulship of Pompey and Crassus, 70 B.C.E.

Cicero Gains Fame in the Trial of Verres, 70 B.C.E.

Tribunes Make Their Marks, and Pompey Takes Control of the East, 67 to 62 B.C.E.

Rome in the Absence of Pompey

After Pompey’s Return, 62 to 60 B.C.E.

Chapter 16

Caesar Wins and Is Lost, 60 to 44 B.C.E.

Caesar Partners with Pompey and Crassus, 60 to 58 B.C.E.

Gaul and the Foundation of Caesar’s Might, 58 to 56 B.C.E.

Disorder at Rome and a Renewed Partnership, 58 to 56 B.C.E.

Caesar Overcomes Challenges in Gaul, 56 to 52 B.C.E.

Caesar’s Partners Strive to Keep Up, 56 to 53 B.C.E.

Rivalry and Civil War between Caesar and Pompey, 53 to 48 B.C.E.

Caesar’s Dictatorships and Final Victory, 48 to 45 B.C.E.

Caesar’s Work of Reconstruction

The Assassination of Julius Caesar, March 15, 44 B.C.E.

The Question of Monarchy

The Significance of Caesar

Chapter 17

The Last Years of the Republic, 44 to 30 B.C.E.

Marcus Antonius Tries to Take Control, 44 to 43 B.C.E.

The Triumvirate of Octavian, Antonius, and Lepidus, 43 to 36 B.C.E.

Antonius and Cleopatra Rule the East, 37 to 32 B.C.E.

The Approach and Renewal of Civil War, 32 to 30 B.C.E.

The End of the Republic

Chapter 18

Social, Economic, and Cultural Life in the Late Republic, ca. 133 to ca. 30 B.C.E.

Land, Veterans, and Rural Life

Industry and Commerce

The Concentration of Wealth

Life for the Urban Poor

Slaves and Freedmen

Italians and Provincials

Women in the Late Republic

New Waves of Hellenization


Law and the Legal System

The Religious World of the Late Republic

Greek Philosophy and the Roman Elite

Art and Architecture

Late Republican Literature from the Gracchi to Sulla

The Novi Poetae

Catullus (ca. 85 to ca. 54 B.C.E.)

Lucretius (ca. 94 to ca. 55 B.C.E.)

Cicero (106 to 43 B.C.E.)

Sallust (86 to ca. 34 B.C.E.)

Caesar (100 to 44 B.C.E.)

Scholarship and Patriotic Antiquarianism

The Cultural Legacy of the Late Republic

Chapter 19

The Principate of the Early Roman Empire Takes Shape, 29 B.C.E. to 14 C.E.

Sources for the Augustan Principate

Hopes for Peace

Problems to be Faced

Octavian’s Advantages

The Evolving Constitutional Arrangements of the Principate

The Nature of the Principate

The Creation of a Central Administration

Social Reforms

Religious Reforms

Overview and Assessment

Chapter 20

Imperial Stabilization under Augustus

Military Reforms

Protection of the Emperor

Fiscal Reforms

Provincial Reforms

Conquests in the West

Solidifying Control of the Balkans, Crete, and Cyrene

Holding the East

Road Building

The Imperial Post (Cursus Publicus)


Urbanization of the Provinces

Growth of the Imperial Cult

The Problem of Succession

The Death of Augustus

Chapter 21

The Impact of Augustus on Roman Imperial Life and Culture

The Population and Economic Impact of Rome


Agricultural Wealth and Urbanization

Cities of Italy and the Empire

Nonagricultural Trade and Industry

The Roman Imperial Coinage

Architecture and Art


Vergil (70 to 19 B.C.E.)

Horace (65 to 8 B.C.E.)

The Latin Elegists

Latin Prose Writers

The Impact of Augustus on Latin Literature

Greek Writers

Scholarly and Technical Writings

Law and Jurisprudence

The Augustan Achievement

Chapter 22

The First Two Julio–Claudian Emperors: Tiberius and Gaius (Caligula), 14 to 41 C.E.

Sources for the Julio–Claudians

Tiberius (14 to 37 c.e.)

Germanicus and Agrippina



The Law of Treason (Maiestas)

Tiberius and the Senate: The Increasing Power of the Princeps

Tiberius the Administrator

Tiberius’ Last Years and the Succession

Gaius Caligula (37 to 41 c.e.)

A Popular Princeps at First

Problems in the Palace

Tensions with the Senate

Caligula’s Military Operations

Fiscal Problems

Caligula’s Foreign and Provincial Policies

Caligula’s Religious Policies

Caligula’s Assassination

Overview and Prospect

Chapter 23

Claudius, Nero, and the End of the Julio–Claudians, 41 to 68 c.e.

Claudius (41 to 54 c.e.)

The Political Philosophy and Policies of Claudius

Foreign Policy and Imperial Defense

Colonization, Urbanization, and Romanization in the Provinces

Claudius’ Wives

Claudius’ Death and the Succession of Nero (54 to 68 c.e.)

Nero Surveyed

The Darker Side of Nero’s Early Reign

Nero Asserts Himself

Growing Hostility Toward Nero

Plots against the Throne

Prelude to a Fall

The Jewish Revolt and the Fall of Nero


Chapter 24

The Crisis of the Principate and Recovery under the Flavians, 69 to 96 c.e.


Galba (68 to 69)

Otho (69)

Vitellius (69)

Vespasian (69 to 79)

The Restoration of Peace

Reform of the Army

Provincial Policy

The Near East

Vespasian’s Relations with the Senate

The Expansion of Executive Power

Fiscal Administration

Public Expenditures

The Opposition to Vespasian

Vespasian’s Death, 79

Titus (79 to 81)

Domitian (81 to 96)

War and Rebellion, 82 to 93

Fear, Purges, and the Murder of Domitian, 89 to 96

Chapter 25

The Five "Good" Emperors of the Second Century, 96 to 180 c.e.


Nerva (96 to 98)

Trajan (98 to 117)

A Model Emperor

Trajan’s Wars

The Death of Trajan, 117

The Empress Plotina

The Effects of Trajan’s Wars

Hadrian (117 to 138)

The Early Years of Hadrian’s Principate

Hadrian’s Travels

The Jewish Revolt

New Directions under Hadrian

The Last Years of Hadrian

Antoninus Pius (138 to 161)

Faustina the Elder

Maintaining the Status Quo

The Legacy of Antoninus

Marcus Aurelius (161 to 180)

Marcus Aurelius as Emperor and Soldier

The Question of Succession

Problems for the Future

Chapter 26

Culture, Society, and Economy in the First Two Centuries c.e.

Post-Augustan Imperial Literature

Poverty of Literature under Tiberius and Caligula

The Blossoming of the Silver Age in Literature under Claudius and Nero

Technical Writing and Scholarship

Science and Medicine

Philology and Literary Scholarship

Lack of Great Literature under the Flavians, 69 to 96 c.e.

Resurgence of Literature under the Five "Good" Emperors

Resurgence of Greek Literature

The Second Sophistic

Christian Writers


General Religious Trends


Mystery Cults


Roman Architecture in the First Two Centuries c.e.

Architecture in the Provinces 359 Sculpture


Mosaics, Coins, and Medallions

Social Developments

Economic Trends

Inherent Economic and Fiscal Weakness of the Roman Empire

Chapter 27

Conflicts and Crises under Commodus and the Severi, 180 to 235 c.e.

Sources for Roman History, 180 to 285 c.e.

Commodus (180 to 192)

Pertinax (January 1 to March 28, 193)

Didius Julianus (March 28 to June 1, 193)

The Accession of Septimius Severus (193 to 211)

New Sources of Imperial Authority and Legitimacy

Systematic Reform

Imperial Wars and Defense, 197 to 201/202

Roman Interlude, 203 to 207

The War in Britain, 208 to 211

Caracalla (211 to 217)

Macrinus (217 to 218)

Impressive Syrian Queens

Elagabalus (218 to 222)

Severus Alexander (222 to 235)

Chapter 28

The Third-Century Anarchy, 235 to 285 c.e.

Reasons for the Crisis

The Emperors of Troubled Times

The Nightmare Begins, 235 to 253

The Age of Gallienus, 253 to 268

The Reforms of Gallienus

An Assessment of Gallienus

Initial Recovery under Illyrian Soldier Emperors, 268 to 275

The Nightmare Resumes, 275 to 285

Chapter 29

Changes in Roman Life and Culture during the Third Century

Economic Life

Social Trends

Third-Century Cultural Life


Science and Philosophy

Education and the World of Letters

Art and Architecture

Summary and Prospect

Chapter 30

Diocletian: Creating the Fourth-Century Empire, 285 to 305 c.e.

Sources for Roman History during the Fourth Century c.e.

The Rise of Diocletian

The Tetrarchy: A New Form of Imperial Rule, 293 to 312

Diocletian’s Other Initiatives

The Persecution of Christians

The Abdication

Prisca and Valeria

Problems Left by Diocletian

Chapter 31

Constantine the Great and Christianity, 306 to 337 c.e.

The Rise of Constantine, 306 to 312

A Victory for Christianity

Constantine and Licinius: The Empire Divided, 313 to 324

Constantia and Her Sisters

The Council of Nicaea, 325

Constantine’s Secular Policies

The Founding of Constantinople, 324 to 330

The Death of Constantine the Great, 337


Chapter 32

From Constantine’s Dynasty to Theodosius the Great, 337 to 395 c.e.

Murder and Civil War

The Empire under Constantius II

Julian the Apostate Emperor (361 to 363)

Jovian (June 363 to February 364)

Valentinian I (364 to 375) and Valens (364 to 378)

Gratian (375 to 383) and Theodosius the Great (379 to 395)

The Death of Theodosius and the Division of the Empire, 395

Chapter 33

The Evolving World of Late Antiquity in the Fourth Century c.e.

Economic Conditions

Private Life

The Social Context


Chapter 34

Christianity and Classical Culture in the Fourth Century

Christianity and the Expansion of Classical Culture

The Educated World of Letters

Christian Literature of the Fourth Century

Fourth-Century Art and Architecture

Chapter 35

Germanic Takeover in the West and Imperial Survival in the East, 395 to 518 c.e.

Sources for Roman History from 395 to 518

Western Weaknesses and Eastern Strengths

Stilicho and Alaric, 395 to 410

The Visigothic Migration and Settlement after Alaric

The Vandals, Alans, and Suevi

Galla Placidia, Valentinian III (423 to 455), and Aetius

Attila and the Huns, 443 to 454

The Burgundians

The Franks

Angles, Saxons, and Jutes

The Vandals in Africa

The End of Imperial Power in the West, 454 to 500

Weak Men and Powerful Women: The Theodosian Dynasty in the East, 395 to 450

Persians and Huns, 408 to 450

Christian Controversies and Imperial Politics

German and Isaurian Generals

Pulcheria and Marcian (450 to 457)

Leo I (457 to 474)

Leo II (473 to 474) and Zeno (474 to 491)

Religious Controversies Continued

Anastasius (491 to 518)

Overview and Prospect

Chapter 36

Justin, Justinian, and the Impossible Dream of Universal Empire, 518 to 602 c.e.

Sources for the Period of Justin and Justinian

The Reign of Justin (518 to 527)

Justinian (527 to 565)

Theodora (508 to 548)

Religious Policies of Theodora and Justinian

Legal Reforms

Administrative Reforms

John the Cappadocian

The First Persian War, 527 to 532

The Nika Rebellion of the Blue and Green Circus Factions, 532

The Rebuilding of Constantinople

Reconquest of the North African Provinces, 533 to 534

Italy Is Invaded, 536 to 540

Troubles in North Africa

The Second Persian War, 540 to 562

Resumption of War in Italy, 541 to 543

Troubles Everywhere

Internal Conflicts and Administration

Belisarius Returns to Face Totila in Italy, 544 to 549

The Lazic War, 549 to 557

Peace in the East

Disaster in Italy, 549 to 551

The Recovery of Italy, 552 to 562

Wars on Other Fronts, 544 to 561

Justinian’s Legacy and His Successors, 565 to 602

Final Judgment

Chapter 37

The Transformation of the Late Antique Roman World, 395 to 600 c.e.

The Economy

Social and Demographic Changes


The New Cultural Spirit

Latin Poetry

Latin Prose

Classicizing Greek Poets

The Late Greek Historians



Art and Architecture

Chapter 38

The Church and the Legacy of Rome

The Rise of Rome

Transmitting the Roman Classical Legacy

The Imperial Church



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Celia E. Schultz is Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan, USA, where she is currently Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Greek and Roman History.

Allen M. Ward is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, USA.


"This new edition of A History of the Roman People presents a clear, reliable, and accessible survey of the ancient Roman world. The political narrative of the growth and transformation of the Roman Empire is described in fluid and engaging fashion, and social, cultural, and economic topics receive appropriate contextualization. Ancient sources are helpfully introduced at the beginning of chapters, and charming boxes on topics such as poisoning, latrines, and publishing provide colorful detail. This remarkable textbook should be the standard introduction to the Roman world."

- Carolynn Roncaglia, Santa Clara University, USA



"In scope and detail, there is no rival among single-volume textbooks. This makes it an excellent choice for year-long surveys of Roman history"

- Simeon D. Ehrlich, Concordia University, Canada, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2020