The Roman Empire is widely admired as a model of civilisation. 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.
Table of Contents
List of maps and plates Acknowledgements Introduction Note on ancient monetary values Maps Prologue 1. The making of an imperial city-state, c 750-367 BC 2. The rise of a superpower, 343-146 BC 3. The Roman revolution, 133-30 BC 4. The Pax Romana, 30 BC-AD161 5. The decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire Timeline References Bibliographical notes Index and glossary
Neil Faulkner is a freelance archaeologist and historian. He works as a writer, lecturer, excavator, and occasional broadcaster. Educated at King's College, Cambridge, and the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, he is now a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Editor of Military History Monthly, and a Lecturer for NADFAS. He co-directs the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project (in Norfolk), the Great Arab Revolt Project (in Jordan), and the Great War Archaeology Group (a field unit specialising in First World War archaeology).