The Origin of Empire: Rome from the Republic to Hadrian (264 BC - AD 138)

by David Potter

Hardcover, 2019



Call number



Profile Books (2019), Edition: Main, 448 pages


Starting with the Roman army's first foray beyond its borders and ending with Hadrian's death (138 CE), David Potter's panorama of the early Empire recounts the wars, leaders and social transformations that lay the foundations of imperial success. As today's parallels reveal, the Romans have much to teach us about power, governance and leadership.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Shrike58
While I'm giving this book four stars, I do have the sense that it ends on something of a whimper, as Potter takes you from the rise of Rome as an imperial power, with the First Punic War, ending with the reigns of Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius; men who cemented the image of the Roman Empire as one
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of the best of all possible worlds. The issue that Potter wrestles with is that the Roman republic never developed a good way of disciplining its military "contractors," once it became clear that a militia army was insufficient, and it is out of that mix of business and elite competition that the imperium emerged. Although Potter has insights to impart on every page, and offers intelligent critiques of the sources that have come down to us, I'm left with the impression that he attempted to do too much in the page count allotted to him.
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Original language


Physical description

448 p.; 6.38 inches


1846683874 / 9781846683879

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