Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World

Written by Adrian Goldsworthy
Review by Cathy Powell

Historian Adrian Goldsworthy chronicles the rise of Rome, revealing how the Romans came to control so much of the world.  He goes into great detail, starting with the rise of the Republic through the age of Julius Caesar and Augustus and then further on to cover the various Roman emperors who reigned in an era of prosperity and peace. Goldsworthy handles the subject with care, balancing how the Romans carried themselves also in terms of their relations with other peoples within the areas that they ended up taking care of outside of the Italian peninsula.  He includes descriptions of the various political positions that could be held within a career. The Romans did wage war on many people that they came across in their travels outside of the Italian peninsula.  However, they were good at what they did and managed to expand their empire accordingly.  Their tactics were self-serving, and they travelled further afield to expand Rome’s hold on territory.  The concept of Pax Romana was not perfect – it took hundreds of years to perfect.  It was imposed after conquest, whether the local population wanted it or not. The inclusion of maps, photos, a fairly detailed timeline and a glossary at the end adds to the overall appeal of the book.