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The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine

The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine

by Michael Kulikowski
The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine

The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine

by Michael Kulikowski


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“A genuinely bracing and innovative history of Rome.”
Times Literary Supplement

The Triumph of Empire takes us into the political heart of imperial Rome and recounts the extraordinary challenges overcome by a flourishing empire. Roman politics could resemble a blood sport: rivals resorted to assassination as emperors rose and fell with bewildering speed, their reigns sometimes measured in weeks. Factionalism and intrigue sapped the empire from within, and imperial succession was never entirely assured.

Michael Kulikowski begins with the reign of Hadrian, who visited the farthest reaches of his domain and created a stable frontier, and takes us through the rules of Marcus Aurelius and Diocletian to Constantine, who overhauled the government, introduced a new state religion, and founded a second Rome. Despite Rome’s political volatility, imperial forces managed to defeat successive attacks from Goths, Germans, Persians, and Parthians.

“This is a wonderfully broad sweep of Roman history. It tells the fascinating story of imperial rule from the enigmatic Hadrian through the dozens of warlords and usurpers who fought for the throne in the third century AD to the Christian emperors of the fourth—after the biggest religious and cultural revolution the world has ever seen.”
—Mary Beard, author of SPQR

“This was an era of great change, and Kulikowski is an excellent and insightful guide.”
—Adrian Goldsworthy, Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674241381
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 11/19/2019
Series: History of the Ancient World , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 929,724
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Michael Kulikowski is the author of Rome’s Gothic Wars, Late Roman Spain and Its Cities, and The Triumph of Empire (Harvard). Kulikowski has appeared in a number of documentaries on the History Channel, including Barbarians Rising, Rome, and Criminal History: Rome, and writes frequently for the Wall Street Journal and London Review of Books. He is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Classics at Pennsylvania State University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii

List of Illustrations x

Introduction 1

1 The Early Years of Hadrian 13

2 The Late Reign and the Succession 13

3 Peace and War at Mid-Century 37

4 The Last of the Antonines 56

5 Septimius Severus and His Rivals 72

6 The Reign of Severus 85

7 The Later Severans 98

8 Eurasian History and the Roman Empire 117

9 From Gordian III to Valerian 137

10 Valerian and the Generals 159

11 The Last of the Soldier Emperors 179

12 Diocletian, Constantine and the Creation of the Later Roman Empire 194

13 The Failure of the Tetrarchy 219

14 Constantine and Licinius 229

15 The Structure of Empire Before and After Constantine 245

16 The Constantinian Empire 265

17 The Children of Constantine 282

18 Constantius, Julian and the Empire to Come 299

The Roman Emperors from Augustus to Julian 310

Persian Kings from Ardashir to Shapur II 312

Further Reading 313

Bibliography 320

Index 334

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