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This searching interpretation of the past and present addresses fundamental questions about the fall of the Roman Empire. Why did ancient culture, once so strong and rich, come to an end? was it destroyed by weaknesses inherent in its nature? or were mistakes made that could have been avoided - was there a point at which Greco-Roman society took a wrong turn? and in what ways is modern society different Western history is split into tow discontinuous eras, Aldo Schiavone tells us: the ancient world was fundamentally different from the modern one. He locates the essential differences in a series of economic factors: a slave-based economy, relative lack of mechanisation and technology, the dominance of agriculture over urban industry. Also crucial aspects of the ancient mentality; disdain for manual work, a preference for transcending (rather than transforming) nature, a basic belief in the permanence of limits. The author's examination of the ancient world, "the eternal theatre of history and power", offers a stimulating opportunity to view modern society in light of the experience of antiquity.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674009837
ISBN-10: 0674009835
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 149mm x 19mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 1-Oct-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Aldo Schiavone

Aldo Schiavone is Professor of Roman Law and Director of the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane.

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