The Roman World from Romulus to Muhammad : A New History book cover
1st Edition

The Roman World from Romulus to Muhammad
A New History

ISBN 9780415842877
Published September 21, 2021 by Routledge
728 Pages 20 Color & 299 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

View More



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).