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I think a middle ground is called for here. I would argue both with the reviewer who questioned Titchener's credentials (she has them, and deserved) and with the reviewer who called the book thorough and 'the' one to get--I think a closer view is somewhere in the middle. The parameter's of the task (a general audience comprehensive history of Rome with length and lecture limits) necessitate curtailment of detail. And while there are some factual errors and some infelicities, the book has its merits. Personally, I think the course would have been better served to be in two parts; Titchener seems much more captivated by the republic than the Empire (the Julio-Claudians in half an hour?). Maybe I was just growing weary of it, but it did seem to me that the glib colloquialism increased and, by the time of the Julio-Claudians the goal seemed to become more to tell an entertaining quick story than to engage in history. A little less embellishment of one line in Plutarch about Sulla's death, for example, or using a satirist as a historian (i.e. Juvenal) would have given time for more nuanced coverage. On the other hand, as evidenced by the positive reviews, the book is OK. A good overview. Just don't take it as the final word in Roman history.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
This is an excellent starting point if you know very little about the Ancient Romans and want to learn, in a nutshell, the real story. Most of us know the names Caesar, Nero, Caligula ... with the associated tags. e.g. Caesar crossed the Rubicon - Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned - Caligula married his sister then killed her!
These lectures provide a wonderfully simple springboard from which to venture into a more in depth study of the fascinating Ancient Romans!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Frances B. Titchener delivers an easy to follow lecture series, which kept me entertained from start to finish. I would recommend this to anybody who wishes to familiarise themselves with the most significant events and leaders in Roman history. Professor Titchener charms the listener with humour and captivating narration. I will listen to A History of Ancient Rome again in the future.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This series of lectures is a great way to learn about the Roman Empire. The professor is entertaining and easy to listen to.