ABOUT THIS BOOK
“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
A genuinely bracing and innovative history of Rome.
-- Times Literary Supplement
This was an era of great change, and Kulikowski is an excellent and insightful guide.
-- Adrian Goldsworthy Wall Street Journal
A breezy and animated, yet authoritative look at this remarkable time… Sure to be of interest to anybody with a taste in character-driven history.
-- Military History Review
[A] sweeping history.
-- Pennsylvania Literary Journal
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, University of Cambridge
A lively, accessible, up-to-date account of the ancient world during the critical period of Rome’s domination of her powerful and diverse empire.
-- Alan Bowman, University of Oxford
Kulikowski provides an energizing depiction of the Roman Empire at its height. His light prose style masks a deep engagement with the period and the problems posed to the Empire from within and beyond its borders.
-- Hugh Elton, Trent University
Kulikowski’s great triumph is to present, in an engaging and lively manner, a new historical narrative with a clear, distinctive line of interpretation for the crucial and complex era of transformation from the world of the high empire to late antiquity.
-- R.W. Benet Salway, University College London
An impressive book with an incisive, fresh exposition of how Rome’s rulers triumphantly remade their empire in response to relentless pressures over two and a half centuries. A page-turner set on a vast physical canvas stretching from Scotland to Ethiopia and China.
-- Richard Talbert, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A fascinating account showing just what it was like to be a Roman emperor—the endless court politics, the shock of outside events, the need to bring in reforms, and, above all, the constant struggle to stay alive and keep your place on the throne.
-- Jerry Toner, University of Cambridge
Kulikowski’s lucid narrative deftly navigates one of the most tangled periods of Roman imperial history. Triumphing over treacherous source material, he shows Rome’s third century nightmare as part of a sequence of events that convulsed the whole of Eurasia. The Triumph of Empire is a dramatic and a revealing history of cataclysm and recovery.
-- Greg Woolf, University of London
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1. The Early Years of Hadrian
Chapter 2. The Late Reign and the Succession
Chapter 3. Peace and War at Mid-Century
Chapter 4. The Last of the Antonines
Chapter 5. Septimius Severus and His Rivals
Chapter 6. The Reign of Severus
Chapter 7. The Later Severans
Chapter 8. Eurasian History and the Roman Empire
Chapter 9. From Gordian III to Valerian
Chapter 10. Valerian and the Generals
Chapter 11. The Last of the Soldier Emperors
Chapter 12. Diocletian, Constantine and the Creation of the Later Roman Empire
Chapter 13. The Failure of the Tetrarchy
Chapter 14. Constantine and Licinius
Chapter 15. The Structure of Empire Before and After Constantine
Chapter 16. The Constantinian Empire
Chapter 17. The Children of Constantine
Chapter 18. Constantius, Julian and the Empire to Come
The Roman Emperors from Augustus to Julian
Persian Kings from Ardashir to Shapur II