The Illustrated History of the Roman Empire
August 9, 2002 10:45 AM   Subscribe

The Illustrated History of the Roman Empire claims to be the leading on-line resource for Roman history, with over 70mb of content. They have many short essays and lots of graphics and interactive maps. The UI could be better (especially for the maps), but it's a good time sink just the same.
posted by ewagoner (9 comments total)
Very cool site. It's one of the best (if not the best) historically related site(s) I've seen with respect to content for any history related subject. There may be some better sites out there, but they're mostly tied to academic libraries and I'm not even sure those sites are open to the general public or the average undergraduate student. I also really like the children's section. One problem I have with it is the unimaginative layout, but that's a minor point. Overall, I give it a big "bravo." ewagoner, great find.
posted by Bag Man at 11:00 AM on August 9, 2002

I just came back from finding an old National Geographic map of Ancient Greece in my office's snack room, and now this? And just when I've finished reading The Elusive Embrace and am about to go buy The Greek Achievement after work today? This is eeeeeeerie.
posted by Tin Man at 11:16 AM on August 9, 2002

Great information there but does anyone else find it funny to see the "Catch the Bouncing Ball" ad there at the top?
posted by cowboy at 11:25 AM on August 9, 2002

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I've got a funny feeling about this site -- could anyone else figure out who wrote the history sections? I couldn't find any author, and there are no footnotes, bibliography, or evidence of any editing. Not something that inspires confidence.

And as for the leading resource for Roman history, I'd say that the Perseus project has that title, but that's just my personal fave.
posted by ptermit at 12:02 PM on August 9, 2002

As far as I can tell, the whole site is a labor of love by one Franco Cavazzi. He does have a number of "visitor contributions", and those are all labelled with the author's name.

The Perseus Project certainly is a better scholarly source, but you've got to know what you're looking for.
posted by ewagoner at 12:26 PM on August 9, 2002

I've found Dr. Lynn Harry Nelson's medieval history lectures to be an astounding layman's resource, especially in terms of insights per N words. Reading through these I realized how many things fit together and causal chains that brought about events. For instance, I'd never understood why the empire was so vulnerable to barbarians, other than hoary tales of debauched elites and lead poisoning. But when I learned that the interiors of many provinces were failing economically and depopulating, and that many of the barbarian settlements were actually a means of Rome reinvigorating its agricultural base, it became much clearer.

(I now have several books on the period on my infinitely expanding reading list.)
posted by dhartung at 12:37 PM on August 9, 2002

I like it ewagoner. i've added this site to my bookmarks and I thank you but I'd prefer to think of it as a community site - built around a love of Roman history - than as a reference site like the Perseus project. Apples, Oranges.

I'll admit to feeling uncomfortable when I clicked on 'links' and got the following text:

Please - before you go looking elsewhere - consider if what you are seeking isn't on the very site you're already on !
After all, this site is the biggest resource on the history of the Roman empire !
For those of you having second thoughts if they might have missed something, just skip back to the home page, to have another look. For those of you with unanswered questions, remember that the on-site bulletin board and the e-mail facility are always open to you

The bold is his not mine. To be fair, after you click 'links' again then you do get a nice selection of links. He just needs to 'let go' a bit. :)
posted by vacapinta at 12:47 PM on August 9, 2002

Dan, I've just finished listening to an unabridged reading of How the Irish Saved Civilization. The author, Thomas Cahill, wrote the book after noticing the lack of texts covering the transition from Roman rule to medieval times. He spends considerable time discussing how the Roman villa estates evolved into proto-fiefdoms, mostly due to irregularities in the Roman tax laws during the end days. Germanic settlements, etc. were also well handled. It was good to see someone fill in the details after "... and so Romulus Augustus abdicated to the Germanic Odoacer the Scirian, thus ending the Roman Empire. The End."
posted by ewagoner at 12:47 PM on August 9, 2002

nice resource. but if your interests lie outside classic western civilizations, try mesoweb for an exploration of mesoamerican cultures. it, too, has many short essays, lots of images, and interactive features. you can even 'ask the archeologists' ...
posted by priyanga at 7:55 AM on August 11, 2002

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