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Publisher's Summary

The gripping story of one of history’s most important and yet little-known wars, the campaign culminating in the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, whose outcome determined the future of the Roman Empire.

Following Caesar’s assassination and Mark Antony’s defeat of the conspirators who killed Caesar, two powerful men remained in Rome - Antony and Caesar’s chosen heir, young Octavian, the future Augustus. When Antony fell in love with the most powerful woman in the world, Egypt’s ruler Cleopatra, and thwarted Octavian’s ambition to rule the empire, another civil war broke out. In 31 BC, one of the largest naval battles in the ancient world took place - more than 600 ships, almost 200,000 men, and one woman - the Battle of Actium. Octavian prevailed and subsequently defeated Antony and Cleopatra, who eventually committed suicide.

The Battle of Actium had great consequences for the empire. Had Antony and Cleopatra won, the empire’s capital might have moved from Rome to Alexandria, Cleopatra’s capital, and Latin might have become the empire’s second language after Greek, which was spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean, including Egypt.

In this riveting and exciting history, Barry Strauss, ancient history authority, describes this consequential battle with the drama and expertise that it deserves. The War That Made the Roman Empire is essential history that features three of the greatest figures of the ancient world.

©2021 Barry S. Strauss. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The War That Made the Roman Empire

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  • 03-28-22

Highly detailed accounts

Parts of this book are easy listening whereas the whole is not. The high attention to detail of this writing makes it too academic for the tastes of many, I believe.

The characters all come across as extremely able and brave, in my opinion. Cleopatra in particular interested me because she was so strong in her own way. Each of the main characters was portrayed with great nuance.

I had the feeling that great turns of history can happen by chance, that nobody could have predicted their future. That gave me a sense of suspense yet I often had to push myself to continue listening.

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Interesting book.

What strikes me the most about this book is that the historical details are enlivened and colored with descriptions showing the humanity of the characters. Grant that the author sometimes goes out on a poetic limb and gets off on inspired assumptions, he lets us know that these are assumptions and that he is not getting into the historical figures' heads and telling us what they are thinking. In summary this books is an interesting read and makes for a cogent representation of a pivotal event in history.

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Excellent storytelling and history

One of the best audible books I have ever listened to. incredible story and expertly told.