Aurelian and the Third Century

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Routledge, 2004 M01 14 - 328 pages

Aurelian and the Third Century provides a re-evaluation, in the light of recent scholarship, of the difficulties facing the Roman empire in the AD 260s and 270s, concentrating upon the reign of the Emperor Aurelian and his part in summoning them.

With introduction examining the situation in the mid third century, the book is divided into two parts:

* Part 1: deals chronologically with the military and political events of the period from 268 to 276
* Part 2: analyzes the other achievements and events of Aurelian's reign and assesses their importance.

A key supplement to the study of the Roman Empire.


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TL;DR- How much should you pay for this book? No more than 40 USD.
This book has it all! The actual series of events, the religious world of the Roman world, the global economy, mainly focusing
on Aurelian's attempt to stop the inflation of his empire's currency, and an excellent geo-political analysis on the multiple emperors who carved up their domains ultimately setting the stage for Aurelian's inhuman reconquest of the entire Roman empire.
Watson goes into sufficient detail on Aurelian's military campaigns against Zenobia and Zabdas, and the last Gallic emperor, Tetricus II, the prime meat of the book. However, he also discusses in depth the emperor's attempts at managing the economy and, of course, his holy enterprise on bringing Sol Invictus to the forefront of the Roman lifestyle. We not only get a list of what Aurelian did, but we get a proper protagonist with clear-cut motives.
It's all an engaging read, and it's very easy to digest. Unlike other titles like "Failure of Empire" by Noel Lenski, I wasn't looking up definitions every other page.
The only drawback is that it's a short read, but it certainly is a worthwhile one!

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About the author (2004)

Alaric Watson has a PhD from King's College London in Roman history and has taught Roman history at the University of North London and Queen Mary and Westfield College. He is now a Barrister in Lincoln's Inn.

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