Greg Woolf, Rome: An Empire’s Story (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 384 pp., $29.95.
Rome: An Empire's Story THE ROMAN Empire casts a long shadow. It may not have been the largest empire ever to exist, but it was one of the largest, and few if any can match its longevity. The Romans ruled Italy by the end of the fourth century BC, dominated the entire Mediterranean world by the middle of the second century BC and in the years to come ruled from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Euphrates in the east, from what is now Scotland in the north to the Sahara desert in the south. This achievement was all the more remarkable in an age when no person or idea could travel faster than a ship could sail or a horse gallop. The last emperor to rule in the western provinces was deposed in 476. The last to rule from Constantinople—established in the fourth century AD as a new Rome, with its own seven hills and senate—lost his city to the Turks in 1453.