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SOCIAL STUDIES DIARY

Rise of the Early Roman Republic

An audaciously daring narrative in which the most important feature of this work is that it presents the reader with an overview of the early history of Rome, but more than that, it focuses the reader’s attention to those unique and often hidden cultural features that contributed to create a unique ancient Roman mindset or civic outlook. Another feature related to the final section of each chapter is entitled: “Reflections on Becoming Roman.” This section is designed to “pull together” the general historical elements from each chapter and to then address them in terms of the ways they helped to create a unique Roman citizenship. The final section of each chapter contains two parts – the first part containing the author’s narrative regarding the sources that he used in general, and the second part containing a review of one exceptional recommended reading. The later chapters of the book include a special section entitled: “Recent Scholarship”, which explores the work of recent scholars’ “revisionists” perspectives related to the traditional ancient sources.
This is a unique work that “uses” the historical format to set the stage in order to address those cultural forces that were at work in shaping the unique Roman mindset, or outlook, that made the Romans the ancient world’s most militarily powerful city-state. The Romans were a mixed lot of cultures from the beginning, and as a result, they had to find a way of shaping their citizens’ outlook into a cohesive whole. They became masters of the practical and utilitarian; in other words, they were not theoretic, nor was their approach to solving problems an expression of classical intellectualism. Although they possessed a sense of idealism, they were best described as utilitarian practical and extremely tenaciously willing to sacrifice to overcome all obstacles.
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