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Rome Is Burning

Nero and the Fire That Ended a Dynasty

Anthony A. Barrett



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Princeton University Pres
05 January 2021
According to legend, the Roman emperor Nero set fire to his majestic imperial capital on the night of July 19, AD 64 and fiddled while the city burned. It's a story that has been told for more than two millennia - and it's likely that almost none of it is true. In Rome Is Burning, distinguished Roman historian Anthony Barrett sets the record straight, providing a comprehensive and authoritative account of the Great Fire of Rome, its immediate aftermath, and its damaging longterm consequences for the Roman world. Drawing on remarkable new archaeological discoveries and sifting through all the literary evidence, he tells what is known about what actually happened - and argues that the disaster was a turning point in Roman history, one that ultimately led to the fall of Nero and the end of the dynasty that began with Julius Caesar.

Rome Is Burning tells how the fire destroyed much of the city and threw the population into panic. It describes how it also destroyed Nero's golden image and provoked a financial crisis and currency devaluation that made a permanent impact on the Roman economy. Most importantly, the book surveys, and includes many photographs of, recent archaeological evidence that shows visible traces of the fire's destruction. Finally, the book describes the fire's continuing afterlife in literature, opera, ballet, and film.

A richly detailed and scrupulously factual narrative of an event that has always been shrouded in myth, Rome Is Burning promises to become the standard account of the Great Fire of Rome for our time.

'A thorough, high-quality work on Emperor Nero and the fire that destroyed Rome in 64 CE...

Sure to be the most enduring treatment of this major historical event for some time.' - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
By:   Anthony A. Barrett
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm, 
ISBN:   9780691172316
ISBN 10:   0691172315
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   05 January 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Anthony A. Barrett is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia and visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg. His many books include Caligula: The Abuse of Power and Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome. He is also the coeditor of The Emperor Nero: A Guide to the Ancient Sources (Princeton).

Reviews for Rome Is Burning: Nero and the Fire That Ended a Dynasty

A thorough, high-quality work on Emperor Nero and the fire that destroyed Rome in 64 CE. . . . Sure to be the most enduring treatment of this major historical event for some time. * Kirkus Reviews, starred review * Anthony Barrett has produced arguably the most comprehensive and detailed treatment of the fiery disaster. . . .Barrett's work exemplifies the latest, most detailed and generously illustrated narrative about the Great Fire to date, and would be an asset on the shelf of anyone, scholar or enthusiast, interested in the archaeology and history of Rome. * Popular Archaeology *

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