Books about the Roman empire

  1. Any good book on the Roman Empire that draws comparisons between the Roman empire and the United States , since like Roman, the United States started out as a republic?
  2. jcsd
  3. dunno, but i'd be interested, as well. i think there are a lot of similarities.
  4. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd recommend Peter Heather's book
    The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians

    The book addresses both the impact of the Barbarian Invasions on the Roman empire as well as the emperors themselves. Basically many of the emperors became emperor through assassination. In some cases, I believe the Senate selected an emperor by vote.

    Fortunately, the system in the US is more benign.

    Only the characters of the presidential nominees get assassinated :biggrin: - well maybe not, but they get pretty roughed up.

    I don't know if there is such a book that compared Roman Emperors and the Imperial system with the US Presidents and the US system, but

    The Roman Emperors (Hardcover)

    Maybe arildno, marcus or Evo can recommend something.

    Or try this thread -
  5. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    I don't see the relevance of such a comparison, not the least since the Roman state started out as a kingdom.
  6. I think the comparison between the two is relevant because before rome collapse , it was in debt, much like the United states right now. Like the united states, government grew to a gargantuan size, providing services for the Romans through taxes, much like government supported programs in the US. Rome was a superpower , much like the US is a superpower today.
  7. Evo

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    There really is no comparison between the two. That's why you won't find a comparison between the two.
  8. tiny-tim

    tiny-tim 26,044
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    I'm confused … since Rome ruled most of the known world …

    who was it in debt to? :confused:

    and is it true that new york, like rome, was built on seven hills? :smile:
  9. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    No, the Roman state was NOT in debt, but many of its citizens were. To the Roman state.
    Complete nonsense. There were not really any "welfare programs" to the benefit of its ordinary citizens that heavily strained the resources of the state.

    You have messed up the meaning of the "annona", the regular corn supply to metropolises like Rome and Constantinople:
    Corn was requisitioned (for Rome, from North Africa, for Constantinople, from Egypt), more than it was bought. (I.e, the Roman state had few expenses with it).
    It is true that the land-holders (i.e, those who were required to provide) had to sell the corn at fixed, low prices, yet as a recompense, they were given virtual monopolies to sell other commodities, like wine, oil, etc.
    (It was, at least for the major players, a very lucrative business!).

    Anyhow, the Roman state did not overburden its own resources by keeping these "welfare programs" running.

    In general, it is not at all fruitful to make such a comparison, because the conditions regulating economic and political life are so different:
    First off, the extensive grants of privileges and monopolies totally changes the economic dynamic in a society. (A free-market economist would say it f*cks it up, but that merely means it works along other, alien lines)

    Secondly, in order to understand the financial crisis the Roman state went into during the fifth century, you should first single out what was just about its only major budget post: The expenses for the army.
    When large tax domains fell out of Roman control due to the barbarian invasions, the Roman state lost its ability to pay its own soldiers.
    This resulted in an accelerating crumbling process, where the region the Roman state was able to exert direct control over became gradually constricted, until it "vanished" altogether.

    I am at a loss to see how this process of disintegration has much relevance for the study of contemporary US economics and politics.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2008
  10. "The New Rome?"
    -the fall of an empire and fate of America.
    by: Cullen Murphy
  11. This is a common misconception. The Romans themselves were aware of vast lands to the east which had been conquered by Alexander the Great. These lands extended from the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire to India. It's also likely that Romans were vaguely aware of the Han Empire in China whose influence extended to the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.

    Also, the US is a republic with popular elections, a written constitution including a Bill of Rights, a free press and democratic institutions. The Roman Empire had none of these. Unfortunately, the US does have a lot of public and private debt.
  12. tiny-tim

    tiny-tim 26,044
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    I'm confused :confused:

    are you saying that Rome was in debt to the Han empire, and Alexander the Great?
  13. I was referring to your phrase: "Since Rome ruled most of the known world..." (which is all I quoted) and the second paragraph (which you omitted in your quote) refers to the US debt. You know this. Stop playing games.

    EDIT: Since the Parthian and Han Empires were contemporary to the Roman Empire they could have been in debt to them, although I know of no historical evidence they were. Rome traded with both, although only indirectly with the Han via India and the Silk Road. And no, Tiny Tim, Rome could not have been in debt to Alexander the Great. Do you know why?
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  14. tiny-tim

    tiny-tim 26,044
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    What did the Romans ever do for Alexander the Great?

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: ​
    Rome used imperial currency, and Big Alex used metric?

    All the bullion stage-coaches were pillaged by the Vikings? :redface:
  15. Re: What did the Romans ever do for Alexander the Great?

    Nice try. Alexander was long dead when the Roman Imperial regime was instituted in 27 BC and his heirs had lost their empires to Rome, the Parthians and local powers in Central Asia like Samarkand. The Vikings pillaged your country at a later time. Beware. They might come back.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  16. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    SW, if you have a point, please state it clearly and then furnish links to the peer-reviewed research that backs up what you say. We don't allow making statements without furnishing the research that goes with it.

    Thank you.
  17. Evo There's nothing that I said that can't be found in any textbook of ancient history with exception of conditional statements such as: since the Romans were contemporaries to the Parthian and Han states and they could have been in debt to them directly or indirectly.

    Frankly, Tiny Tim's post to which I responded was not serious. Hence my remark that the Vikings might return. In any case, a convenient source would the Kinder H, Hilgemann W, Anchor Atlas of World History Vol I, Doubleday.

    Anyone can go on the web and search on Parthia, Roman history, Alexander the Great, the Han empire and confirm what I said. But, beyond that, do such statements such as Alexander the Great lived before the Roman state became a major power, or that Vikings belong to a period after the Roman Empire require citations? If so, it's a rule that's not being enforced and if it were, it would stifle any meaningful discussion.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  18. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Then post links to the online texts that specifically back up what you said. The burden of proof lies with the person that makes the claim.

    No, these parts i will overlook.

    It's this post which needs to be clearly re-stated since we don't quite get what you meant and that needs links to the research that vaildates what you say.

  19. I hope I don't need a citation to state that the Roman Empire never included Persia, China or India. Nor do I think a citation to say the US has written constitution and democratic institutions. As For contacts between the Han and Rome :

    other info:

    By the way, I checked out these sites after writing the posts. I read books.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  20. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    That's not how it's done here. If you make a claim, you need to back it up with vaild research. Also, I can't really make sense of what you are trying to say, please make a post clearly stating your point as it seems to have fallen apart.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  21. First Evo, Aroldno made a number of much more detailed claims in post 8 without references and was not called on it. Everything I said, with the possible exception of the Roman-Han connection, is well within the public domain. My link for this is short but to the point. The Silk Road Society is a respected historical association. You can click on their links. The Roman Empire link is major Google project gathering information on the Roman Empire. My reworded response to the above quote is as follows:

    What do you mean by the "known" world? Known by whom? Your view is quite Euro-centric. The Roman Empire never extended beyond Mesopotamia, and it held that region for a very short time. In any case, contacts between the West and India go back at least to the time of Alexander the Great. The Romans knew about lands they didn't conquer and traded with them.

    EDIT: The Wiki also has an excellent well referenced article on 'Roman Trade' but I suppose I can't cite that.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
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