History Through the Ages

Ancient History Books

  • ARYXN
    Mary Beard
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
    • Save £2.00
    Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller Ancient Rome matters. Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today. SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us. Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome. SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, 'the Senate and People of Rome'.
  • AGMDK
    Mary Beard
    (1)
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
    • Save £2.00
    'This marvellous book won the Wolfson History Prize and is a model of subtle but accessible writing about the past' Judith Rice, Guardian 'Classicist Mary Beard has had a great time rooting about that ghostly place and she has brought it quite splendidly back to life' Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Telegraph 'To the vast field of Pompeiana she brings the human touch - this absorbing, inquisitive and affectionate account of Pompeii is a model of its kind. Beard has caught the quick of what was and, in our lives today, remains the same' Ross Leckie, The Times 'Very readable and excellently researched - Beard's clear-sighted and accessible style makes this a compelling look into history' Alexander Larman, Observer 'If you want to know what really happened in the last days of the petrified city, Beard's meticulous reconstruction will fill you in, scraping away many of your preconceptions as it goes, while her evocative writing will transport you back' Guardian (Best Holiday Books)
  • AJGNE
    Mary Beard
    • £9.89
    • RRP £9.99
    • Save £0.10
    Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists - a brilliant academic, with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience both though her books and TV presenting. In a series of sparkling essays, she explores our rich classical heritage - from Greek drama to Roman jokes, introducing some larger-than-life characters of classical history, such as Alexander the Great, Nero and Boudicca. She invites you into the places where Greeks and Romans lived and died, from the palace at Knossos to Cleopatra's Alexandria - and reveals the often hidden world of slaves. She brings back to life some of the greatest writers of antiquity - including Thucydides, Cicero and Tacitus - and takes a fresh look at both scholarly controversies and popular interpretations of the ancient world, from The Golden Bough to Asterix. The fruit of over thirty years in the world of classical scholarship, Confronting the Classics captures the world of antiquity and its modern significance with wit, verve and scholarly expertise.
  • AAAKN
    EH Gombrich
    • £8.99
    • RRP £9.99
    • Save £1.00
    In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks, and "Eine kurze Weltgeschichte fur junge Leser" was published in Vienna to immediate success, and is now available in twenty-five languages across the world. In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colourful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind's experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity's achievements and an acute witness to its frailties.The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history.
  • ARGZI
    Edith Hall
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
    • Save £2.00
    They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. They built the Parthenon and the Library of Alexandria. They wrote the timeless myths of Odysseus and Oedipus, and the histories of Leonidas' three hundred Spartans and Alexander the Great. But who were the ancient Greeks? And what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? Here, Edith Hall gives us a revelatory way of viewing this geographically scattered people, visiting different communities at various key moments during twenty centuries of ancient history. Identifying ten unique traits central to the widespread ancient Greeks, Hall unveils a civilization of incomparable richness and a people of astounding complexity - and explains how they made us who we are today. "A thoroughly readable and illuminating account of this fascinating people...This excellent book makes us admire and like the ancient Greeks equally." (Independent). "A worthy and lively introduction to one of the two groups of ancient peoples who really formed the western world." (Sunday Times). "Throughout, Hall exemplifies her subjects' spirit of inquiry, their originality and their open-mindedness." (Daily Telegraph). "A book that is both erudite and splendidly entertaining." (Financial Times).
  • AXZAQ
    Martha A. Strawn
    • £48.00
    • RRP £60.00
    • Save £12.00
    In the Hindu world-view, threshold is a profoundly important concept that represents a passage between one space and place and another, creating a visual bridge between the secular and the sacred. Accordingly, the literal threshold a person crosses when entering and exiting a home or business symbolizes the threshold one crosses between the physical and spiritual realms of existence. Hindus have long believed it is possible to affect a person's well-being by using diagrams to sanctify the "threshold space." The diagrams do so by "trapping" ill will, evil, bad luck, or negative energy within their colorful and elaborate configurations, thereby cleansing those who traverse the space and sending them on their way with renewed spirit, positive energy, and good luck and fortune. The creation of the threshold diagrams is steeped in Indian history and culture going back thousands of years. Practiced by women, it was long considered a vernacular art. But, as this pioneering book reveals, the diagrams represent highly sophisticated mathematical and cosmological underpinnings that have been handed down from one generation of women to the next.
  • AKGDQ
    Edward Gibbon
    • £49.99
    • RRP £60.00
    • Save £10.01
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has always maintained its initial appeal to both the general public and scholars alike. Its sheer scale is daunting, encompassing over a millennium of history, covering not merely the Western Empire from the days of the early emperors to its extinction in AD 476, but also the Eastern Empire, which lasted for another thousand years until the Turks vanquished it in 1453. But Gibbon!
  • ATHVR
    Franck Goddio
    • £32.00
    • RRP £40.00
    • Save £8.00
    Beneath the waters of Abukir Bay, at the edge of the Nile Delta, lie the submerged remains of the ancient Egyptian cities Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion, which sank over 1,000 years ago but were dramatically rediscovered in the 20th century and brought to the surface by marine archaeologists in the 1990s. These pioneering underwater excavations continue today, and have yielded a wealth of ancient artefacts, to be exhibited in Britain for the first time in 2016. Through these spectacular finds, this book tells the story of how two iconic ancient civilizations, Egypt and Greece, interacted in the late first millennium bc. From the foundation of Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion as trading posts to the conquest of Alexander the Great, through the ensuing centuries of Ptolemaic rule to the ultimate dominance of the Roman Empire on the world stage, Greeks and Egyptians lived alongside one another in these lively cities, sharing their politics, religious ideas, languages, scripts and customs. Greek kings adopted the regalia of the pharaoh; ordinary Greek citizens worshipped in Hellenic sanctuaries next to Egyptian temples; and their ancient gods and mythologies became ever more closely intertwined. This book showcases a spectacular collection of artefacts, coupled with a retelling of the history by world-renowned experts in the subject (including the sites' long-term excavator), bringing the reader face-to-face with this vibrant ancient society. Accompanies the most sensational exhibition of ancient Egyptian and Greek discoveries to be held in the UK for decades, opening at the British Museum.
  • AWIIL
    John Romer
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    This definitive, multi-volume history of the world's first known state reveals that much of what we have been taught about Ancient Egypt is the product of narrow-minded visions of the past Drawing on a lifetime of research, John Romer chronicles the history of Ancient Egypt from the building of the Great Pyramid through the rise and fall of the Middle Kingdom: a peak of Pharaonic culture and the period when writing first flourished. He reveals how the grand narratives of nineteenth and twentieth-century Egyptologists have misled us by portraying a culture of cruel monarchs and chronic war. Instead, based in part on discoveries of the past two decades, this extraordinary account shows what we can really learn from the remaining architecture, objects and writing: a history based on physical reality.
  • AYSMQ
    Professor Ben Kiernan (Yale Un
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    This book narrates the history of the different peoples who have lived in the three major regions of Viet Nam over the past 3,000 years. It brings to life their relationships with these regions' landscapes, water resources, and climatic conditions, their changing cultures and religious traditions, and their interactions with their neighbors in China and Southeast Asia. Key themes include the dramatic impact of changing weather patterns from ancient to medieval and modern times, the central importance of riverine and maritime communications, ecological and economic transformations, and linguistic and literary changes. The country's long experience of regional diversity, multi-ethnic populations, and a multi-religious heritage that ranges from local spirit cults to the influences of Buddhism, Confucianism and Catholicism, makes for a vividly pluralistic narrative. The arcs of Vietnamese history include the rise and fall of different political formations, from chiefdoms to Chinese provinces, from independent kingdoms to divided regions, civil wars, French colonies, and modern republics. In the twentieth century anticolonial nationalism, the worldwide depression, Japanese occupation, a French attempt at reconquest, the traumatic American-Vietnamese war, and the 1975 communist victory all set the scene for the making of contemporary Viet Nam. Rapid economic growth in recent decades has transformed this one-party state into a global trading nation. Yet its rich history still casts a long shadow. Along with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Viet Nam is now involved in a tense territorial standoff in the South China Sea, as a rival of China and a <"partner>" of the United States. If its independence and future geographical unity seem assured, Viet Nam's regional security and prospects for democracy remain clouded.
  • BMHEG
    Prof. Dr. Angelos Chaniotis
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    The ancient world that Alexander the Great transformed in his lifetime was transformed once more by his death. The imperial dynasties of his successors incorporated and reorganized the fallen Persian empire, creating a new land empire stretching from the shores of the Mediterranean to as far east as Bactria. In old Greece a fragile balance of power was continually disturbed by wars. Then, from the late third century, the military and diplomatic power of Rome successively defeated and dismantled every one of the post-Alexandrian political structures. The Hellenistic period (c. 323-30 BC) was then one of fragmentation, violent antagonism between large states, and struggles by small polities to retain an illusion of independence. Yet it was also a period of growth, prosperity, and intellectual achievement. A vast network spread of trade, influence and cultural contact, from Italy to Afghanistan and from Russia to Ethiopia, enriching and enlivening centres of wealth, power and intellectual ferment. From Alexander the Great's early days building an empire, via wars with Rome, rampaging pirates, Cleopatra's death and the Jewish diaspora, right up to the death of Hadrian, Chaniotis examines the social structures, economic trends, political upheaval and technological progress of an era that spans five centuries and where, perhaps, modernity began.
  • AWQYH
    • £23.96
    • RRP £29.95
    • Save £5.99
    A unique 'backstory' of Alexander and his successors: the biased historians, deceits, wars, generals, and the tale of the literature that preserved them. 'Babylon, mid-June 323 BCE, the gateway of the gods; prostrated in the Summer Palace of Nebuchadrezzar II on the east bank of the Euphrates, wracked by fever and having barely survived another night, King Alexander III, the rule of Macedonia for 12 years and 7 months, had his senior officers congregate at his bedside. Abandoned by Fortune and the healing god Asclepius, he finally acknowledged he was dying. Some 2,340 years on, five barely intact accounts survive to tell a hardly coherent story. At times in close accord, though more often contradictory, they conclude with a melee of death-scene rehashes, all of them suspicious: the first portrayed Alexander dying silent and intestate; he was Homeric and vocal in the second; the third detailed his Last Will and Testament though it is attached to the stuff of romance. Which account do we trust?' In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great is the result of a 'decade of contemplations on Alexander' presented as a rich thematic narrative Grant describes as the 'backstory behind the history' of the great Macedonian and his generals. Taking an uncompromising investigative perspective, Grant delves into the challenges faced by Alexander's unique tale: the forgeries and biased historians, the influences of rhetoric, romance, philosophy and religion on what was written and how. Alexander's own mercurial personality is vividly dissected and the careers and the wars of his successors are presented with a unique eye. But the book never loses sight of central aim: to unravel the mystery behind Alexander's 'unconvincingly reported' intestate death. And out of Grant's research emerges one unavoidable verdict: after 2,340 years, the Last Will and Testament of Alexander III of Macedonia needs to be extracted from 'romance' and reinstated to its rightful place in mainstream history: Babylon in June 323 BCE. Although the result a decade of academic research, In Search Of The Lost Testament Of Alexander The Great is written in an entertaining and engaging style that opens the subject to both scholars and the casual reader of history looking to learn more about the Macedonian king and the men who 'made' his story. It concludes with a wholly new interpretation of the death of Alexander the Great and the mechanism behind the wars of succession that followed.
  • BGRTD
    Professor Richard A. Gabriel
    • £21.56
    • RRP £26.95
    • Save £5.39
    Philip II of Macedonia (382-336 BCE), unifier of Greece, author of Greece's first federal constitution, founder of the first territorial state with a centralized administrative structure in Europe, forger of the first Western national army, first great general of the Greek imperial age, strategic and tactical genius, and military reformer who revolutionized warfare in Greece and the West, was one of the greatest captains in the military history of the West. Philip prepared the ground, assembled the resources, conceived the strategic vision, and launched the first modern, tactically sophisticated and strategically capable army in Western military history, making the later victories of his son Alexander possible. Philip's death marked the passing of the classical age of Greek history and warfare and the beginning of its imperial age. To Philip belongs the title of the first great general of a new age of warfare in the West, an age that he initiated with his introduction of a new instrument of war, the Macedonian phalanx, and the tactical doctrines to ensure its success. As a practitioner of the political art, Philip also had no equal. In all these things, Philip exceeded Alexander's triumphs. This book establishes Philip's legitimate and deserved place in military history, which, until now, has been largely minimized in favor of his son by the classicist writers who have dominated the field of ancient biography. Richard Gabriel, renowned military historian, has given us the first military biography of Philip II of Macedonia.
  • ALKWS
    John Julius Norwich
    • £19.89
    • RRP £24.95
    • Save £5.06
    Great cities marked the earliest development of civilization. From the worlds first true cities, in Mesopotamia, to the spectacular urban centres of the Maya in Central America, the places described here represent almost three millennia of human history, society and culture. Arranged geographically into five sections, each with an introduction by John Julius Norwich, Cities That Shaped the Ancient World takes a global view, beginning in the Near East with the earliest cities such as Ur and Babylon, Troy and Jerusalem. Africa gave rise to the conurbations of ancient Egypt such as Thebes and Amarna, and also the Ethiopian capital of Aksum. Glorious European metropolises, including Athens and Rome, ringed the Mediterranean, but also stretched to Trier on the turbulent frontier of the Roman empire. Asia had bustling commercial centres such as Mohenjo-daro and Xianyang, while in the Americas the Mesoamerican and Peruvian cultures stamped their presence on the landscape, creating impressive monuments, as at Caral and Teotihuacan.
  • AWVHW
    Professor Richard A. Gabriel
    • £19.99
    • RRP £25.00
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    Of the thousands of commanders who served in history's armies, why is it that only a few are remembered as great leaders of men in battle? What combination of personal and circumstantial influences conspire to produce great commanders? What makes a great leader great? Richard A Gabriel analyses the biographies of ten great generals who lived between 1481 BC and AD 632 in an attempt to identify the characteristics of intellect, psychology, personality, and experience that allowed them to tread the path to greatness. Professor Richard Gabriel has selected the ten whom he believes to be the greatest of them all. Those included, and more so those omitted, will surprise many readers. Conspicuous by their absence, for example, are Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun. Richard Gabriel, himself a retired soldier and professor at the Canadian Defence College, uses his selected exemplars to distil the timeless essence of military leadership.
  • AZGCT
    Aidan Mark Dodson
    • £19.99
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.01
    The royal tombs of ancient Egypt include some of the most stupendous monuments of all time, containing some of the greatest treasures to survive from the ancient world. This book is a history of the burial places of the rulers of Egypt from the very dawn of history down to the country's absorption into the Roman Empire, three millennia later. During this time, the tombs ranged from mudbrick-lined pits in the desert, through pyramid-topped labyrinths to superbly-decorated galleries penetrating deep into the rock of the Valley of the Kings. The first book to embrace in detail the entire range of royal tombs, the present volume covers the full extent of royal funerary monuments, which comprised not only the actual burial place, but also the place where the worlds of the living and the dead came together in the temples built to provide for the dead pharaoh's soul.
  • AWVIM
    Don Taylor
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    In a single volume, Roman Republic at War catalogues and offers a brief description of every significant battle fought by the Roman Republic between 480 and 31 BC (and most of the minor ones too). The information in each entry is drawn exclusively from Ancient texts, in order to offer a brief description of each battle based solely on the information provided by the earliest surviving sources which chronicle the event. This approach provides the reader a concise foundation of information to which they can then confidently apply later scholarly interpretation presented in secondary sources in order to achieve a more accurate understanding of the most likely battlefield scenario. In writing the battle descriptions, the author has not sought analyse the evidence contained in the surviving accounts, nor embellish them beyond that which was necessary to provide clarity to the modern reader. He allows the original writers to speak for themselves, presenting the reader with a succinct version of what the ancient chroniclers tell us of these dramatic events. It is an excellent first-stop reference to the many battles of the Roman Republic.
  • AUPXP
    Adrian Goldsworthy
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    The Pax Romana is famous for having provided a remarkable period of peace and stability, rarely seen before or since. Yet the Romans were first and foremost conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates in the east to the Atlantic coast in the west. Their peace meant Roman victory and was brought about by strength and dominance rather than co-existence with neighbours. The Romans were aggressive and ruthless, and during the creation of their empire millions died or were enslaved. But the Pax Romana was real, not merely the boast of emperors, and some of the regions in the Empire have never again lived for so many generations free from major wars. So what exactly was the Pax Romana and what did it mean for the people who found themselves brought under Roman rule? Acclaimed historian Adrian Goldsworthy tells the story of the creation of the Empire, revealing how and why the Romans came to control so much of the world and asking whether the favourable image of the Roman peace is a true one. He chronicles the many rebellions by the conquered, and describes why these broke out and why most failed. At the same time, he explains that hostility was only one reaction to the arrival of Rome, and from the start there was alliance, collaboration and even enthusiasm for joining the invaders, all of which increased as resistance movements faded away. A ground-breaking and comprehensive history of the Roman Peace, Pax Romana takes the reader on a journey from the bloody conquests of an aggressive Republic through the age of Caesar and Augustus to the golden age of peace and prosperity under diligent emperors like Marcus Aurelius, offering a balanced and nuanced reappraisal of life in the Roman Empire.
  • ATHWE
    Franck Goddio
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    Beneath the waters of Abukir Bay, at the edge of the Nile Delta, lie the submerged remains of the ancient Egyptian cities Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion, which sank over 1,000 years ago but were dramatically rediscovered in the 20th century and brought to the surface by marine archaeologists in the 1990s. These pioneering underwater excavations continue today, and have yielded a wealth of ancient artefacts, to be exhibited in Britain for the first time in 2016. Through these spectacular finds, this book tells the story of how two iconic ancient civilizations, Egypt and Greece, interacted in the late first millennium bc. From the foundation of Naukratis and Thonis-Heracleion as trading posts to the conquest of Alexander the Great, through the ensuing centuries of Ptolemaic rule to the ultimate dominance of the Roman Empire on the world stage, Greeks and Egyptians lived alongside one another in these lively cities, sharing their politics, religious ideas, languages, scripts and customs. Greek kings adopted the regalia of the pharaoh; ordinary Greek citizens worshipped in Hellenic sanctuaries next to Egyptian temples; and their ancient gods and mythologies became ever more closely intertwined. This book showcases a spectacular collection of artefacts, coupled with a retelling of the history by world-renowned experts in the subject (including the sites' long-term excavator), bringing the reader face-to-face with this vibrant ancient society. Accompanies the most sensational exhibition of ancient Egyptian and Greek discoveries to be held in the UK for decades, opening at the British Museum.
  • AQVVB
    John S. Harrel
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    The war of 337-363 (which the author dubs the 'Nisibis War'), was an exception to the traditional Roman reliance on a strategic offensive to bring about a decisive battle. Instead, the Emperor Constantius II adopted a defensive strategy and conducted a mobile defence based upon small frontier (limitanei) forces defending fortified cities, supported by limited counteroffensives by the Field Army of the East. These methods successfully checked Persian assaults for 24 years. However, when Julian became emperor his access to greater resources tempted him to abandon mobile defence in favour of a major invasion aimed at regime change in Persia. Although he reached the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, he failed to take it, was decisively defeated in battle and killed. The Romans subsequently resumed and refined the mobile defence, allowing the Eastern provinces to survive the fall of the Western Empire. John Harrel applies his personal experience of military command to a strategic, operational, tactical and logistical analysis of these campaigns and battles, highlighting their long-term significance.
  • AUXFH
    Michael Kulikowski
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    Imperial Triumph presents the history of Rome at the height of its imperial power. Beginning with the reign of Hadrian in Rome and ending with the death of Julian the Apostate on campaign in Persia, it offers an intimate account of the twists and often deadly turns of imperial politics in which successive emperors rose and fell with sometimes bewildering rapidity. Yet, despite this volatility, the Romans were able to see off successive attacks by Parthians, Germans, Persians and Goths and to extend and entrench their position as masters of Europe and the Mediterranean. Imperial Triumph shows how they managed to do it. Michael Kulikowski describes the empire's cultural integration in the second century, the political crises of the third when Rome's Mediterranean world became subject to the larger forces of Eurasian history, and the remaking of Roman imperial institutions in the fourth century under Constantine and his son Constantius II. The Constantinian revolution, Professor Kulikowski argues, was the pivot on which imperial fortunes turned - the beginning of the parting of ways between the eastern and western empires. This sweeping account of one of the world's greatest empires is incisive, readable and authoritative.
  • AQWUT
    Tim Whitmarsh
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
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    How new is atheism? In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities. Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly suppressed the lively free-thinking voices of antiquity. Tim Whitmarsh brings to life the fascinating ideas of Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; and Epicurus and his followers. He shows how the early Christians came to define themselves against atheism, and so suppress the philosophy of disbelief. Battling the Gods is the first book on the origins of the secular values at the heart of the modern state. Authoritative and bold, provocative and humane, it reveals how atheism and doubt, far from being modern phenomena, have intrigued the human imagination for thousands of years.
  • AZEHI
    Simon Elliott
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
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    The Roman war machine comprised land and naval forces. Although the former has been studied extensively, less has been written and understood about the naval forces of the Roman Empire. Britain's navy, known as Classis Britannica until the mid-third century, was a strong fighting force in its own right. Its vessel types, personnel, tactics, roles and technology have never been studied in depth. Here in Sea Eagles of Empire Simon Elliott explores the story of this famed naval force, through the reigns of several Roman emperors, discussing the important role it played in military campaigns all across Europe and in policing the waters of the Roman Empire in Britain.
  • AXWRT
    Ilkka Syvanne
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    Caracalla has one of the worst reputations of any Roman Emperor. Many ancient historians were very hostile and Edward Gibbon later dubbed him 'the common enemy of mankind'. Yet his reign was considered by at least one Roman author to be the apogee of the Roman Empire. Guilty of many murders and massacres (including his own brother, ex-wife and daughter) he was, however, popular with the army, improving their pay and cultivating the image of sharing their hardships. Surprisingly this is the first full-length biography of this colourful character in English. Ilkka Syvanne explains how the biased ancient sources in combination with the stern looking statues of the emperor have created a distorted image of the man and then reconstructs the actual events, particularly his military campaigns and reforms, to offer a balanced view of his reign. The biography offers the first complete overview of the policies, events and military campaigns of the reign and explains how and why these contributed to the military crisis of the third century.