CRITERIA FOR SELECTION THE OF THE FIVE “BEST” BOOKS The criteria for the selection of the five “best” books for this article is based on the following three considerations:
• Content – Content is related to the substance and the quality of information contained in each book. The determination of quality is, in part, the author’ subjective judgment. This judgment, to a degree, is based upon years of reading, contemplating, and writing, as well as the author’s experience with a large number of sources, both ancient and modern. Authors who were judged to be experts in their respective specialties related to Roman history wrote the five books listed in this article. This expertise was demonstrated by their mastery of content and sources. An important factor related to content is the ability to write coherently so that the content presented is accessible to the reader.
• Interpretation – Interpretation is related to the application of logic and judgment to provide the reader with a reasonable explanation of how the various events have influenced historical trends. Most authors generally strive to understand the social, economic, and political forces that often produce attitudes and beliefs in almost any culture, and it is generally accepted that attitudes and beliefs motivate social behavior. Mainly, authors strive to explain relationships as they pertain to those leaders who help to shape historical consequences. In addition, authors provided their readers with data and important elements of information that provide the reader with insights into historical outcomes.
• Structure – Historical forms of writing require authors to participate in researching accumulating reliable sources of information in order to shape their data. Data and various forms of information are structured by the author to provide the reader with a logical presentation in narrative form. The major task of the author is related to organizing and ordering events in a logical manner to guide the reader in a topical or chronological exploration of the narrative. For this writer, history is a form of literary craftsmanship in which the written text of the author(s)’ case study is found in making sense of past events. It is a form of a continuing dialogue that always is open to reinterpretation. These future reinterpretations of Roman history, undoubtedly, will be based upon the discovery of new content, a reinterpretation of old and new source materials, and/or the restructuring of the content according to new and varied patterns. Read More