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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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The Triumph of Empire takes readers into the political heart of imperial Rome and recounts the extraordinary challenges overcome by a flourishing empire. Michael Kulikowski’s history begins with the reign of Hadrian, who visited the farthest reaches of his domain and created stable frontiers, and spans to the decades after Constantine the Great, who overhauled the government, introduced a new state religion, and founded a second Rome.

Factionalism and intrigue sapped the empire from within, even at its apex. Roman politics could resemble a blood sport: rivals resorted to assassination; emperors rose and fell with bewildering speed, their reigns measured in weeks, not years; and imperial succession was never entirely assured. Canny emperors—including Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, and Diocletian—constantly cultivated the aristocracy’s favor to maintain a grip on power. Despite such volatility, the Roman Empire protected its borders, defeating successive attacks from Goths and Germans, Persians and Parthians. Yet external threats persisted and the imperial government sagged under its own administrative weight. Religion, too, was in flux with the rise of Christianity and other forms of monotheism. In the fourth century CE, Constantine and his heirs reformed imperial institutions by separating civilian and military hierarchies, restructuring the government of both provinces and cities, and ensuring the prominence of Christianity.

The Triumph of Empire is a fresh, authoritative narrative of Rome at its height and of its evolution—from being the central power of the Mediterranean world to becoming one of several great Eurasian civilizations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674659612
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 11/28/2016
Series: History of the Ancient World , #1
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 639,544
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(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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