The Rise of Rome


Introduced by Michael Scott

One of the most influential classical histories, enhanced with magnificent full-page coin portraits. Introduced by Michael Scott.

Published price: US$ 94.95


The Rise of Rome

The most complete history of one of the world’s great empires, The Rise of Rome has influenced thinkers from Machiavelli to the Founding Fathers of the United States. It comprises five surviving books and two partial volumes from Polybius’ Histories, an ambitious, and originally vast work that explained how Rome conquered all the known regions of the civilised world. A leading politician, Polybius was born in Arcadia, Greece, in 200 BC and died around 117 BC. As the historian and broadcaster Michael Scott says in his new preface, this made him ‘an eyewitness to one of the greatest power shifts in Mediterranean history’.

Production Details

The Rise of Rome book

Translated by Robin Waterfield.

Three-quarter bound in buckram with a Modigliani paper side printed with eagle (detail) from a marble statue of Emperor Claudius as Jupiter, Rome, 41-54 AD.

Set in Albertina with Garamond Titling display.

616 pages.

Frontispiece and 32 pages of colour plates.

Book size: 10" × 6¼".

A fascinating meditation on how to govern and how to learn from history

Unlike that of other Roman historians, Polybius’ work was firmly anchored in his own lifetime. In fact, his first books were written so soon after the events they described, that – widely read by Greek and Romans alike – they may even have influenced the course of Rome’s ascension. Deported to Rome from his homeland after the Battle of Pydna in 168 BC, Polybius belonged to the vanquished. He adapted by forming friendships with powerful Romans, such as the general Scipio Aemilianus, alongside whom he witnessed the destruction of Carthage. Remarkably, he was also a trusted advisor to the Greeks as they reconstructed his homeland.

‘A crucial window into the mindset of a world which is indelibly interlaced into the fabric of our modern global society’

The Rise of Rome opens with a summary of the First Punic War (264–244 BC), the 20-year battle between Rome and Carthage that marked the beginning of Rome’s evolution from Republic to Empire and concluded with a subdued Carthage signing a peace treaty. The narrative begins in earnest in 220 BC, with the second clash between the two powers underway – the Carthaginians led by the tenacious Hannibal. The Romans gained control of the Western Mediterranean and moved east to conquer Greece. Polybius concludes with the destruction of Corinth in 146 BC, the year in which Carthage was finally obliterated. Mixing biography, ethnography, geography, historical narrative, and political and military analysis, The Rise of Rome is a fascinating meditation on how to govern and how to learn from history. This edition includes photographs, specially commissioned from the British Museum, of coins bearing portraits of prominent figures, such as Philip V of Macedon, and Marcus Claudius Marcellus, consul of the Roman Republic and military leader during the Second Punic War.


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Review by anon on 11th Jun 2015

Text: Illustrations: Binding: Rating: 5/5

"Incredible book, this is my first folio society book and it surely won't be the last, I'm still impressed by the level of perfection of almost everything about the book itself, it's definitely worthy."

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