Rome: An Empire's Story by Greg Woolf

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The book Rome: an empire’s story, by Greg Woolf, is an excellent example of how the elites of Rome created an all-powerful image that would outlast Rome itself. Woolf states that many modern empires have made so much use of Roman symbols, and that it gives us a great sense of perspective on modern empires, but he argues “Rome has its own Romance (Woolf, p. 27).” Rome survived for around 1500 years. During those 1500 years Rome went through many different political changes. The elites of Rome including the Republic and Empire made these political changes in order to create this image that would create the power behind Rome. Greg Woolf’s “Rome: an empire’s story,” is a work that brings to life the details of the rise, and decline of the Roman Empire. One of the main ideas of the story is when Rome reached its ultimate point of definition, which is during the age of Virgil and Augustus. This was during the last decades of B.C.E. and first Decade or so of A.D. Augustus and Virgil created this image of what it means to be Roman, and how we today think of ancient Rome. Roman history is usually divided up into two periods the republican and empire. Most works begin the empire with Augustus. Woolf’s work shows how misleading this can be. The reason this is so misleading according to Woolf, is because starting with Augustus the leader of Rome is called “emperor” creating confusion between the forms of government being used and how society was governed. For two centuries before Augustus Woolf argues that what had been called the Roman Republic was actually an empire. The only difference from Augustus period and the two centuries before hand is that Rome ceased to expand. Augustus essentially changed the Roman image from a... ... middle of paper ... ... into Western Europe they found a different kind of climate. This climate which was colder and darker was very different than the moist warm air of Italy. Rome’s ability to Romanize the known world was as simple as introducing new agriculture ways and foods. It was the movement of creating this Romanization that gave other societies the need to tribute and follow Rome’s authority. This is a great example of how the conquers’ displayed their luxury goods and culture leaving native elites eager to become Romanized. By the end of the Roman Empire the capital had moved out of Italy and into foreign lands. The old capital of Rome was taken over by barbarians and had nowhere near the population it once had. The Roman Empire had lost its power over the world, but it never lost its image. The image that Woolf argues was created by movement and not institutions.

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