The magnificent and definitive history of the Eternal City, narrated by a master historian.
Why does Rome continue to exert a hold on our imagination? How did the "Caput mundi" come to play such a critical role in the development of Western civilization?
Ferdinand Addis addresses these questions by tracing the history of the "Eternal City" told through the dramatic key moments in its history: from the mythic founding of Rome in 753 BC, via such landmarks as the murder of Caesar in 44 BC, the coronation of Charlemagne in AD 800 and the reinvention of the imperial ideal, the painting of the Sistine chapel, the trial of Galileo, Mussolini's March on Rome of 1922, the release of Fellini's La Dolce Vita in 1960, and the Occupy riots of 2011.
City of the Seven Hills, spiritual home of Catholic Christianity, city of the artistic imagination, enduring symbol of our common European heritage—Rome has inspired, charmed, and tempted empire-builders, dreamers, writers, and travelers across the twenty-seven centuries of its existence. Ferdinand Addis tells this rich story in a grand narrative style for a new generation of readers.
Filmmaker and journalist Addis breathes new life into nearly 3,000 years of tumultuous Roman history, citing the elusive nature of Rome's historical meaning as the impetus for this sweeping chronicle. Bookending his account with the myth of Romulus and the fantastical cinema of Federico Fellini, Addis delves into significant Roman moments and figures: the Second Punic War with Hannibal's Carthage, Julius Caesar's assassination, Constantine's conversion to Christianity, the crowning of Charlemagne, the corrupt popes of the Theophylact and Borgia families, Petrarch, Michelangelo, Garibaldi's wars to reunify Italy, and fascism's rise under Mussolini. Addis's singular accomplishment, however, is filling in the gaps between these events with novelistic passages on architecture, religious practices, poetry, and the love lives of some of Rome's most notorious libertines. The tale of Rome's many incarnations republic, empire, heart of the warring Christian kingdoms of the Middle Ages, the capital of a modern unified Italy is one of splendor and death, impressively told with passion, analytical expertise, and wit.