• Pax Romana

  • War, Peace, and Conquest in the Roman World
  • By: Adrian Goldsworthy
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (412 ratings)

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Pax Romana

By: Adrian Goldsworthy
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Adrian Goldsworthy turns his attention to the Pax Romana, the famous peace and prosperity brought by the Roman Empire at its height in the first and second centuries AD. Yet the Romans were conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates to the Atlantic coast. Ruthless, Romans won peace not through coexistence but through dominance; millions died and were enslaved during the creation of their empire.

Pax Romana examines how the Romans came to control so much of the world and asks whether traditionally favorable images of the Roman peace are true. Goldsworthy vividly recounts the rebellions of the conquered and examines why they broke out, why most failed, and how they became exceedingly rare. He reveals that hostility was just one reaction to the arrival of Rome and that from the outset, conquered peoples collaborated, formed alliances, and joined invaders, causing resistance movements to fade away.

©2016 Adrian Goldsworthy (P)2016 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Pax Romana

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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2 stars if youve read goldsworthy; 2.5 or 3 if not

Hes an excellent writer and historian, well balanced and realistic.
this book however, has too much recycled material from his other books and some of the lengthy chapters are badly organized...especially 8 and 9..those chapters wore me out

the chapter on cicero's governorship are interesting


the intro and the conclusion are his same warning hes used in other books not to use rome as a lens for today etc etc etc

11 people found this helpful

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Not Goldworthy's Best

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend it to a friend unless they specifically wanted to review it within a larger body of study. I have read several of Goldworthy's other books and this is at the bottom of that list in terms of quality and academic integrity. In many respects it is a well researched and academically solid text, in others I have some concerns which I will address below.

Would you recommend Pax Romana to your friends? Why or why not?

See Above.

Have you listened to any of Derek Perkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to Derek Perkins before, but I thought he did a very good job in his narration. His speech was clear and the tonal quality of his voice was easy to listen to, even for extended periods of time.

Did Pax Romana inspire you to do anything?

No, nothing other than to keep reading and researching the vast and often complicated history of the Roman Empire.

Any additional comments?

I would have liked to give this book a higher rating, but could not bring myself to do so. For one, at times the dialog seemed to lag and in my opinion could have been presented in a more direct manner. In regards to academic integrity, it is apparent in several places (chapters 11-12) that Goldworthy is either pandering to popular Christian traditions or attempting to validate the historically questionable nature of the Pauline Epistles and Book of Acts. The use of such documents as historical sources, while questionable, isn't without some possible relevance in the construction of an argument or narrative. To give fair and impartial analysis of this period of history, contrasted against the contents of these sources, it is necessary for a serious historian to discuss (in more than just an aside) the numerous issues concerning the authenticity, authorship, biases, known forgeries and date of the original writings- as well as known internal inconsistencies before offering them in the same context as known (and historically credible) historical documents available through Roman and non-Roman sources. This is my chief complaint about the book. Otherwise I would have given it an overall rating of 4 stars.

10 people found this helpful

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Best of his books.

I have read (listened) all his Rome books. They are all good to very good but this is over the top wonderful. This is Rome at 20,000 feet with occasional landings. But he at his best in contrasting our view of things with 2016 eyes with how things were perceived over the last 1000 years. Sure Romans had terrible maps but so did Napoleon. This is a wonderful book which is better digested after reading a few of the earlier works. Bravo.

10 people found this helpful

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Very Interesting!

If you could sum up Pax Romana in three words, what would they be?

I am glad there are writers like Adrian Goldsworthy for Roman history to read . Very interesting and well narrated as well, so makes it a pleasure to listen to .

2 people found this helpful

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Great book, narrated to perfection.

An amazing book by the best historian on Roman culture and society governance and military. Derek Perkins flawlessly executes the narration of this book with proper pronunciation!

I can't get enough Adrian Goldsworthy, a phenomenal writer and historian in this book just adds to his already great collection. Pax Romana goes into huge detail all about Roman culture society governance and military and how that provided peace and safety for the empire. yet Adrian Goldsworthy does not sugarcoat how that happened and that the Roman Empire was not interested in providing peace as much as it was providing for itself.

1 person found this helpful

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A worthwhile addition to any library

I was dissapointed not to find more on agriculture. The entire Roman empire was made possible by agricultual surpluses and almost all residents in Roman lands were producing food. Were the people better fed clothed and shelterred as a result of the imperium? I remember one paper that mentioned rural people grew taller and more healthy after Rome itself was reduced from 500,000 to 50,000 population. More food available to those who produced it?

1 person found this helpful

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A Clarification of Pax Romana

I have just completed Goldsworthy’s bio of Antony &Cleopatra. They pair up well. And I recall a reviewer who complained because of the frequent use of “…we just don’t know…”. And for sure the author notes this frequently but unlike modern times, sources are limited and have large gaps in the Ancient World. So I really like Goldsworthy’s narrative style.

I highly recommend this book and now have a much greater understanding of this term - Pax Romana - that is thrown around so casually and often.

I’ve enjoyed all of his books, including the novels and pre-Pandemic I was lucky enough to visit Vindolanda, bring Roman Britain and the further flung Roman colonies into better focus. I hope you will enjoy all of his books.

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Incredibly good

One of the best books I've ever read on any subject. Mary Beard's SPQR and Suetonius' 12 Caesars are examples of excellent books on Rome, and Goldsworthy's other works are also excellent, but this book gives the fullest sense of what Rome was like. It provides context to all aspects of a society: military, culture, history, geography, economics, logistics, and others. This is the book to read if one wants the most complete picture of rome. Despite current usage, the Pax Romana didn't originally refer to the heyday of a declining empire. The original usage likely makes many uncomfortable: it referred to the peace and prosperity that followed Roman conquest of a foreign region unavailable in other conditions, largely due to infighting and lack of political will within the networks of tribes the Romans conquered. Many people won't like the fact that Roman conquest led to Better lives in many instances for the conquered. This does not automatically approve of Roman morality in terms of violence, but rather the Imperium's bureaucratic organization which proves so effective.

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A good overview

While not going into great detail, step by step, this is a solid broad overview of Rome.
What it was, what it did, etc.
If you're looking for an introduction to the Roman empire, here's your book.
Narrator was great.

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Superb analysis of Roman "peace"

The author is wonderfully informative of the details of Roman history. His conclusion is equally well balanced and judicious. I already heard it twice and will listen and learn from it again.