The Antonines - Antonius, Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and Commodus - played a crucial part in the development of the Roman Empire, controlling its huge machine for half a century of its most testing period. Theirs was a period when art and literature were flourishing. It was also a time of social and political change, and there are still many unanswered questions: did the Antonines' rule contain the seeds of later decay? How did the Christians fare? Was Commodus as bad as he was made out to be? Michael Grant examines these issues with clarity and skill. The importance of the Antonines is manifold, but it mainly lies in the fact that they represented an `age of transition'. They were playing gigantic parts in the massive historical drama that was unfolding, a drama which was destined to transform the Roman Empire from its ancient mould and bring it into the Middle Ages. Michael Grant is one of the world's greatest writers on ancient history. He has had a distinguished academic career, most recently as Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast, and has published over fifty books.
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