Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE ANCIENT ROMAN WORLD by Ronald Mellor

THE ANCIENT ROMAN WORLD

By Ronald Mellor (Author) , Marni McGee (Author)

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-19-515380-4
Publisher: Oxford Univ.

The publishers of Joy Hakim’s essential History of US (rev. ed., 1999) look to catch lightning in a bottle again with this look-alike series opener, in which a professional historian and a YA novelist pair off to kick a wide-angle history of Rome up a notch. The result makes livelier-than-average reading, as beneath such chapter heads as “Power-Mad, or Madly in Love? Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt,” the narrative covers Rome’s legendary origins, the rise of the Republic and its transmogrification into Empire, the advent of Christianity, and the empire’s troubled latter days, with a mix of the “Great Man” (or, occasionally, Woman) approach—“Cato lived in a time of change, and he didn’t like it”—and generalized social history. Supported by plenty of color photos—either of ancient artifacts or Neoclassical reconstructions of pivotal events, closely based on cited ancient sources—and incorporating many recent discoveries, this will make a solid update or replacement for older conventional surveys despite its quaintly dismissive attitude toward the “barbarian” cultures along the Empire’s frontiers. (index, Web sites, bibliographies) (Nonfiction. 11+)