1st Edition

The Roman World from Romulus to Muhammad A New History

By Greg Fisher Copyright 2022
    728 Pages 20 Color & 299 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    728 Pages 20 Color & 299 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    728 Pages 20 Color & 299 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This volume provides a detailed examination of nearly 1,400 years of Roman history, from the foundation of the city in the eighth century BC until the evacuation of Roman troops from Alexandria in AD 642 in the face of the Arab conquests.

    Drawing on a vast array of ancient texts written in Latin, Greek, Syriac, Armenian, and Arabic, and relying on a host of inscriptions, archaeological data, and the evidence from ancient art, architecture, and coinage, The Roman World from Romulus to Muhammad brings to the fore the men and women who chronicled the story of the city and its empire. Richly illustrated with 71 maps and 228 illustrations—including 20 in colour—and featuring a detailed glossary and suggestions for further reading, this volume examines a broad range of topics, including ancient climate change, literature, historiography, slavery, war and conquest, the development of Christianity, the Jewish revolts, and the role of powerful imperial women. The author also considers the development of Islam within a Roman historical context, examines the events that led to the formation of the post-Roman states in Western Europe, and contemplates aff airs on the imperial periphery in the Caucasus, Ethiopia, and the Arabian Peninsula.

    Emphasising the voices of antiquity throughout, The Roman World from Romulus to Muhammad is an invaluable resource for students and scholars interested in the beguiling history of the world’s most famous empire.

    List of figures

    List of maps


    Copyright notices

    Note to the Reader

    Chapter One The origins of Rome

    Troy and Rome

    Sources for Roman history

    Rome, Italy, and the Mediterranean

    Early Roman political life

    Chapter Two The Early Republic, 509–280 BC

    From monarchy to democracy

    Experiments in government

    Rome and her neighbours

    Master of central Italy

    Chapter Three ‘True athletes of warfare’: Rome, Carthage, and Pyrrhus, 280–225 BC

    Masters of Italy: Rome, Tarentum, and Pyrrhus, 280–275 BC

    War with Carthage, 264–241 BC

    Chapter Four ‘The empire of the world’: Rome, Greece, Macedonia, and Hannibal, 241–200 BC

    Between the wars, 241–220 BC

    The outbreak of war, 219–218 BC

    Annihilation, 218–216 BC

    Total war


    Rome, 202–200 BC

    Chapter Five ‘Against our own Roman gods’: Rome and the Greek east, 200–146 BC

    Rome and Greece, Greece and Rome

    Rome and Macedonia

    Rome, the Aetolians, and Antiochus

    Masters of the Mediterranean

    Hannibal, Rome, and Perseus

    The Achaean League and the end of Carthage

    ‘They confirmed their power by terrorism’

    Chapter Six The collapse of public order, 140–63 BC

    The Gracchi: land reform and public violence in Rome

    Marius, Jugurtha, and Caecilius Metellus

    The Social War

    Mithridates, Marius, Sulla, and the march on Rome

    Sulla, Mithridates, and the Great Proscription

    After Sulla: Mithridates and Lucullus

    Caesar, Pompey—and Mithridates

    A failing state

    Chapter Seven Coup, 63–30 BC

    The Catiline conspiracy

    The First Triumvirate

    Civil war

    Dictator for life


    The Second Triumvirate, 43–36 BC

    The final break, 36–31 BC


    Chapter Eight Monarchy and empire: Augustus, 30 BC–AD 14

    After Actium

    The Actium memorials


    The provinces

    Augustan ideology

    Army and empire

    The Res Gestae of Augustus

    After Augustus

    Chapter Nine From stability to chaos, AD 14–79

    Tiberius, Germanicus, Agrippina—and Sejanus, 14–37


    Germanicus in the east

    The trial of Piso

    Tiberius in Rome


    Caligula and Claudius, 37–54

    The early rule of Caligula

    ‘So much for Caligula as emperor’


    Claudius and the provinces

    The invasion of Britain

    Conspiracies and plots

    Agrippina Augusta

    Descent into anarchy: the ‘sun king’ Nero, AD 54–68

    The early years of Nero

    The murder of Agrippina

    From Britain to the Sudan

    Romans, Jews, and Civil War, AD 68–74

    The afterlife of the Jewish Revolt

    Chapter Ten Consolidating the Principate, AD 72–137

    The Flavians: Vespasian (AD 69–79), Titus (AD 79–81), and Domitian (AD 81–96)


    The provinces

    The Eruption of Vesuvius (79)

    Titus and Domitian

    International trade, imperial ideology, and the Templum Pacis

    Apex of Empire: Nerva (AD 96–98) and Trajan (AD 98–117)

    Trajan in government

    Trajan’s Dacian wars

    The annexation of Nabataea

    Trajan in the east

    Retrenchment: Hadrian, AD 117–37

    Hadrian’s travels

    The Bar Kochba Revolt

    Hadrian and his family

    Chapter Eleven Decay, 138–235

    From Antoninus to Commodus

    Antoninus Pius

    Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Verus

    The Parthian war

    The Marcommanic Wars

    The revolt of Avidius Cassius

    The Danube—again

    The Column of Marcus Aurelius

    The emperor and his empire


    Civil War

    Pertinax, Didius Julianus, and Septimius Severus

    The showdown with Albinus

    Severus the military emperor


    From Caracalla to Severus Alexander

    Revolt in Persia, murder on the Rhine

    Chapter Twelve The Empire Transformed, 235–337

    The senate vs. the army

    War with Persia


    Decius and the Goths



    Diocletian and the Tetrarchy: a return to stability

    War with Persia

    Diocletian’s reforms

    Military reforms

    Social, political, and administrative changes

    Cities, taxes, and persecution



    The collapse of the Tetrarchy

    Constantine and Christianity

    Constantine and Licinius

    Constantinople and Helena

    Constantine the arbiter

    Constantine’s government

    Gold, society, and taxes

    Constantine and art

    Constatine and the empire's neighbours

    Chapter Thirteen Division and Collapse, 337–493

    Constantius II: church and state

    Constantius and Julian

    Valentinian I and Valens

    The growth of asceticism

    The road to Adrianople

    Theodosius I

    Stilicho and Alaric

    Arcadius, Theodosius II, Persia, and Attila

    Collapse in the west

    After Attila

    Romulus, Odoacer, and Theoderic

    AD 493

    Chapter Fourteen The End of Antiquity, 491–642

    Anastasius, 491–518

    The Persian war of Anastasius

    The western kingdoms during the reign of Anastasius

    Economy and religion

    Justin I, 518–27

    Justinian, 527–65

    Justinian, the Balkans, and the Persians

    The Justinianic Code, the Nika riot, and the western kingdoms

    Axum and South Arabia during the reign of Justinian

    War with Persia—again

    Justinian and the church(es)

    Art and architecture in Constantinople and beyond

    Plague and climate change during the reign of Justinian

    Justin II (565–78) and Tiberius II (578–82)

    Maurice (582–602) and Phocas (602–10)

    The Final Struggle: Heraclius (610–41) and Khusrau II (591–628)

    The end of antiquity

    The Jafnids: military-religious Arab leadership at the edge of empire

    The war in the north, the struggle in the south


    Further reading

    Index of individuals, deities, and saints

    General index


    Greg Fisher is a graduate of the University of Oxford, UK, and the author and editor of  numerous works on the ancient world, including Between Empires (2011), Arabs and Empires Before Islam (2015), Hannibal and Scipio (2015), and Rome, Persia, and Arabia (Routledge 2020).

    "Fisher...deserves great credit for having broken down the wall between Roman history, wrongly perceived as just the history of Greeks and Romans, and the history of all the peoples east of the empire, included the Arabs. Fisher thus masterfully succeeds in highlighting the universal rule that from the ashes of one empire, another is born." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    "Though chapters follow a recognisably standard periodisation of Roman history, F. makes some distinctive choices within this framework...these choices underscore F.’s dynamic reorientation of the Roman Empire eastwards, and this makes for a provocative reframing of the evolution of Roman imperial power at the intersection of complex global networks." - The Classical Review