Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire

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9780816021352: Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire
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Identifies people, places, events, ideas, and artifacts associated with the Roman Empire

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From Booklist:

The introduction of this encyclopedia states that it "covers the most important personalities, terms and sites that played a part in Roman evolution from the period of Julius Caesar and the Gallic Wars (59-51 B.C.) to the fall of the Empire in the West (476 A.D.)." Bunson, who recently wrote The Vampire Encyclopedia and is called "a longtime student of the Roman empire," has written an excellent ready-reference source for the period.

The encyclopedia features just over 1,900 entries ranging from a few words ("Sororia-- The name for Juno as the goddess of puberty") to approximately 4,000. The longest entries, Christianity and Rome, are five pages. Based on a sampling, the Board estimates that close to 60 percent of the entries are biographical. All entries do an adequate job of defining the subject matter and placing it within the proper context of Roman history, although anyone interested in doing further research will be disappointed by the lack of bibliographies at the end of entries. The 56-entry unannotated bibliography at the conclusion of the work consists entirely of secondary sources and is paltry, considering how much has been written on the topic-- even taking into account that the volume was written for those with a casual, rather than scholarly, interest in the subject. The reader will be introduced to the most important primary-source material (i.e., writings of Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus, and others) only by reading the entries on those writers.

The encyclopedia does not disappoint in its generally excellent coverage of the Roman Empire. There are several entries that the general reader may be hard pressed to find in other reference works. Assassins, for example, lists all emperors who were killed along with who most likely performed the deeds; Coinage includes a list of the main coins used in the empire; and Festivals of the Roman Year provides a month-by-month listing. Although there are such general topical articles as Art and Architecture, Marriage and Divorce, and Social Classes, it is odd there are no entries for women or education, despite the fact works specifically on those topics are cited in the bibliography.

Bunson provides several tables and appendixes. The introduction has eight categories ("Government," "Warfare," etc.) with lists of corresponding articles. "Chronology of Major Events" briefly traces the period covered in the volume. Two appendixes conclude the work: "Emperors of the Roman Empire" and "Genealogies of Ruling Imperial Dynasties and Families." A glossary briefly defines 25 terms (e.g., consul, princeps), though most terms are defined in more detail in the work proper. Along with cross-references, a detailed index also provides access. The six black-and white maps are helpful.

There is no similar work, save for Diana Bowder's Who Was Who in the Roman World (Cornell Univ., 1980), which included some 1,000 biographical entries. Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire has its limitations, but given the reasonable price, it should be seriously considered by academic and public libraries.

From School Library Journal:

YA-Bunson has compiled a wealth of information into an encyclopedic arrangement that is easy to read, interesting, and concise. Beginning with a map and a chronology of major events, he defines the Roman Empire-people, places, and events-in entries that include charts, drawings, and maps. A made-to-order source for reports.
Linda Vretos, West Springfield High School, Springfield,
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780816045624: Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire (Facts on File Library of World History)

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ISBN 10:  0816045623 ISBN 13:  9780816045624
Publisher: Facts on File, 2002
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9780816031825: Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire

Facts ..., 1994
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