Why this book?
Peace is always a rare and precious thing and this makes the “Roman Peace” all the more remarkable, and I wanted to understand how it came about. I wanted also to understand what the Roman Empire meant to the people who lived in it. What was it like for the other peoples in the ancient world who found themselves living next to the Roman Empire, or were incorporated into it, whether by force or choice? It is simplistic to demonize empires—just as it once was to celebrate them uncritically—and there is a danger of turning conquered peoples into passive and virtuous victims of imperialist aggression. The truth is more complicated, and looking at Roman power from the viewpoint of Romans and outsiders provides many relevant insights to our own world.
But wasn’t "Pax Romana" the peace imposed by the victors, whose conceit was that they were bringing civilization to barbarians?
The Romans fought a lot of wars, and never granted other peoples equal status. Other kingdoms and states were either allies or real or potential enemies. Peace made Rome and its allies safe. Only once they were well on their way to establishing a large and permanent empire did the Romans begin to talk of a duty to bring peace, order, and the rule of law to a wider world. This was not achieved solely or even primarily by force. People wanted to be Roman. Peace became a reality, even if imperfect.
Praise for Caesar:
"This book makes and insightfully explains the leap from Caesar the soldier and general to Caesar the statesman and nation builder. It's better than any book I've ever read on him, and more incisive."—Wall Street Journal
"An authoritative and exciting portrait not only of Caesar but of the complex society in which he lived."—Steven Coates, New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Adrian Goldsworthy is the author of numerous acclaimed books, including biographies of Julius Caesar and Augustus. He lectures widely and consults on historical documentaries for the History Channel, National Geographic, and the BBC. He lives in the UK.