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A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome: Daily Life, Mysteries, and Curiosities

By Alberto Angela

The roar of frenzied spectators inside the Coliseum during a battle between gladiators. A crowd of onlookers gathered around a slave driver. The wondrous plenty of banquets where flamingos are roasted whole and wine flows like rivers. The silence of the baths and the boisterous taverns . . . Many books have dealt with the history of ancient + Read More..
The roar of frenzied spectators inside the Coliseum during a battle between gladiators. A crowd of onlookers gathered around a slave driver. The wondrous plenty of banquets where flamingos are roasted whole and wine flows like rivers. The silence of the baths and the boisterous taverns . . . Many books have dealt with the history of ancient Rome, but none has been able to bring its readers so near to daily life in the Imperial capital.

This extraordinary voyage of exploration, guided by Alberto Angela with the charm of a born story- teller, lasts twenty- four hours, beginning at dawn on an ordinary day in the year 115 A.D., with Imperial Rome at the height of its power. The reader wakes in a rich patrician home and discovers frescoes, opulent furnishings and richly appointed boudoirs. Strolling though the splendors of the Roman Forum, one overhears both erudite opinions from learned orators and local ribaldry floating out from the public latrines. One meets the intense gazes of Roman matriarchs strolling the streets, looks on as a banquet is prepared, and is afforded a peek into the sexual habits and fetishes of Roman patricians and plebs.

For all those who have ever dreamed of traveling back in time, Alberto Angela's narrative style will come as a welcome change to dry historical tomes. Rich in atmosphere and historical information, A Day in Ancient Rome is a voyage into a world both distant to us in time and surprisingly near in its habits, mores, and passions.
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A Literary Companion to Rome: Including Ten Walking Tours

By John Varriano

Rome, the Eternal City; it is here, perhaps more than anywhere else, that the visitor is conscious of the echoes of antiquity. Artists, writers, historians, poets--all have included Rome in their travels; and their reactions--whether amazement, adulation, or surprise--have added to the city's allure. James, Isben, Dickens, Goethe, Woolf, and Wilde are among those who have written with + Read More..
Rome, the Eternal City; it is here, perhaps more than anywhere else, that the visitor is conscious of the echoes of antiquity. Artists, writers, historians, poets--all have included Rome in their travels; and their reactions--whether amazement, adulation, or surprise--have added to the city's allure. James, Isben, Dickens, Goethe, Woolf, and Wilde are among those who have written with passion about Rome, and through them we rediscover a city of grandeur and intimacy, as vibrant and sensual as ever.

Arranged as a series of walks through the city, this book is both an illuminating guide for the visitor to Rome and a delight to read at home for those who love the city and want to enrich their knowledge of it.
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A Soldier of the Great War

By Mark Helprin

From acclaimed novelist Mark Helprin, a lush, literary epic about love, beauty, and the world at war.

Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university + Read More..
From acclaimed novelist Mark Helprin, a lush, literary epic about love, beauty, and the world at war.

Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the Great War intervenes.

Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, tall and proud, meets an illiterate young factory worker on the road. As they walk toward Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers away, the old man—a soldier and a hero who became a prisoner and then a deserter, wandering in the hell that claimed Europe—tells him how he tragically lost one family and gained another.

The boy, envying the richness and drama of Alessandro's experiences, realizes that this magnificent tale is not merely a story: it's a recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and above all, a love song for his family.
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A Violent Life

By Pier Paolo Pasolini

Revealing that a beautiful and cultured European city has a dark and dangerous underbelly, this novel chronicles the violent lives of Rome's slum inhabitants.

Born in a shantytown, Tommaso Puzzilli was once young and hopeful, but he soon succumbs to life on the streets, where he must resort to crime and prostitution simply to stay alive.

Written by + Read More..
Revealing that a beautiful and cultured European city has a dark and dangerous underbelly, this novel chronicles the violent lives of Rome's slum inhabitants.

Born in a shantytown, Tommaso Puzzilli was once young and hopeful, but he soon succumbs to life on the streets, where he must resort to crime and prostitution simply to stay alive.

Written by an author who ultimately suffered the same chilling fate as one of his characters, this fictional account offers a startling portrait of the very real tragedies of urban poverty.
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Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy

By John Julius Norwich

A New York Times bestseller.

In a chronicle that captures nearly two thousand years of inspiration and intrigue, John Julius Norwich recounts in riveting detail the histories of the most significant popes and what they meant politically, culturally, and socially to Rome and to the world.

Norwich presents such popes as Innocent I, who in the fifth century + Read More..
A New York Times bestseller.

In a chronicle that captures nearly two thousand years of inspiration and intrigue, John Julius Norwich recounts in riveting detail the histories of the most significant popes and what they meant politically, culturally, and socially to Rome and to the world.

Norwich presents such popes as Innocent I, who in the fifth century successfully negotiated with Alaric the Goth, an invader civil authorities could not defeat; Leo I, who two decades later tamed (and perhaps paid off) Attila the Hun; the infamous “pornocracy”—the five libertines who were descendants or lovers of Marozia, debauched daughter of one of Rome’s most powerful families; Pope Paul III, “the greatest pontiff of the sixteenth century,” who reinterpreted the Church’s teaching and discipline; John XXIII, who in five short years starting in 1958 instituted reforms that led to Vatican II; and Benedict XVI, who is coping with today’s global priest sex scandal.

Epic and compelling, Absolute Monarchs is an enthralling history from “an enchanting and satisfying raconteur” (The Washington Post).
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Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of An Empire

By Simon Baker

Ancient Rome is the story of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Focusing on six turning points in Roman history, Simon Baker's absorbing narrative charts the rise and fall of a political machine unmatched in its brutality, genius, and lust for power.

From the conquest of the Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC to the destruction + Read More..
Ancient Rome is the story of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Focusing on six turning points in Roman history, Simon Baker's absorbing narrative charts the rise and fall of a political machine unmatched in its brutality, genius, and lust for power.

From the conquest of the Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC to the destruction of the empire at the hands of barbarian invaders 700 years later, we discover the pivotal episodes in Roman history. At the heart of this account are some of the most powerful rulers in history—men like Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero, and Constantine.

Putting flesh on the bones of these legendary figures, Baker looks beyond the dusty caricatures to explore their real motivations, ambitions, intrigues, and rivalries. The superb narrative, full of energy and imagination, is a brilliant distillation of the latest scholarship and a wonderfully evocative account of ancient Rome.
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Angels & Demons: A Novel

By Dan Brown

The explosive Robert Langdon thriller from Dan Brown, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno.

An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. An unthinkable target. When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to his first assignment to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol—seared into the + Read More..
The explosive Robert Langdon thriller from Dan Brown, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno.

An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. An unthinkable target. When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to his first assignment to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol—seared into the chest of a murdered physicist—he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy—the Catholic Church.

Langdon’s worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican’s holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.

Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.

Critics have praised the exhilarating blend of relentless adventure, scholarly intrigue, and cutting wit found in Brown’s remarkable thrillers featuring Robert Langdon. An explosive international suspense, Angels & Demons marks this hero’s first adventure as it careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.
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As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel

By Rudy Rucker

Peter Bruegel's paintings---a peasant wedding in a barn, hunters in the snow, a rollicking street festival, and many others---have long defined our idea of everyday life in sixteenth- century Europe. They are classic icons of a time and place in much the same way as Norman Rockwell's depictions of twentieth-century America. We know relatively little about Bruegel, but + Read More..
Peter Bruegel's paintings---a peasant wedding in a barn, hunters in the snow, a rollicking street festival, and many others---have long defined our idea of everyday life in sixteenth- century Europe. They are classic icons of a time and place in much the same way as Norman Rockwell's depictions of twentieth-century America. We know relatively little about Bruegel, but after years of research, novelist Rudy Rucker has built upon the what is known and has created for us the life and world of a true master who never got old.

In sixteen chapters, each headed by a reproduction of one of the famous works, Rucker brings Bruegel's painter's progress and his colorful world to vibrant life, doing for Bruegel what the best-selling Girl with a Pearl Earring did for Vermeer. We follow the artist from the winding streets of Antwerp and Brussels to the glowing skies and decaying monuments of Rome and back. He and his friends, the cartographer Ortelius and Williblad Cheroo, an American Indian, are as vivid on the page as the multifarious denizens of Bruegel's unforgettable canvases.

Here is a world of conflict, change, and discovery, a world where Carnival battles Lent every day, preserved for us in paint by the engaging genius you will meet in the pages of As Above So Below.
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Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities

By Alex Marshall

The pulse of great cities may be most palpable above ground, but it is below the busy streets where we can observe their rich archaeological history and the infrastructure that keeps them running. In The Secret Lives of Cities journalist Alex Marshall investigates how geological features, archaeological remnants of past civilizations, and layered networks transporting water, electricity, and + Read More..
The pulse of great cities may be most palpable above ground, but it is below the busy streets where we can observe their rich archaeological history and the infrastructure that keeps them running. In The Secret Lives of Cities journalist Alex Marshall investigates how geological features, archaeological remnants of past civilizations, and layered networks transporting water, electricity, and people, have shaped these cities through centuries of political turbulence and advancements in engineering — and how they are determining the course of the cities' future.

From the first-century catacombs of Rome, the New York subway system, and the swamps and ancient quays beneath London, to San Francisco's fault lines, the depleted aquifer below Mexico City, and Mao Tse-tung's extensive network of secret tunnels under Beijing, these subterranean environments offer a unique cross-section of a city's history and future.

Stunningly illustrated with colorful photographs, drawings, and maps, The Secret Lives of Cities reveals the hidden worlds beneath our feet, and charts the cities' development through centuries of forgotten history, political change, and technological innovation.
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Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane

By Andrew Graham-Dixon

“This book resees its subject with rare clarity and power as a painter for the 21st century.” New York Times Book Review

In a bravura performance, Andrew Graham-Dixon explores Caravaggio’s staggering artistic achievements, delving into the original Italian sources to create a masterful profile of the mercurial painter. This New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the + Read More..
“This book resees its subject with rare clarity and power as a painter for the 21st century.” New York Times Book Review

In a bravura performance, Andrew Graham-Dixon explores Caravaggio’s staggering artistic achievements, delving into the original Italian sources to create a masterful profile of the mercurial painter. This New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year features more than eighty full-color reproductions of the artist’s best paintings. 40 pages of color illustrations; 4 maps

“The most gifted art critic of his generation.” Robert Hughes
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Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

By Amara Lakhous

A compelling mix of social satire and murder mystery.

A small culturally mixed community living in an apartment building in the center of Rome is thrown into disarray when one of the neighbors is murdered. An investigation ensues and as each of the victim's neighbors is questioned, the reader is offered an all-access pass into the most colorful + Read More..
A compelling mix of social satire and murder mystery.

A small culturally mixed community living in an apartment building in the center of Rome is thrown into disarray when one of the neighbors is murdered. An investigation ensues and as each of the victim's neighbors is questioned, the reader is offered an all-access pass into the most colorful neighborhood in contemporary Rome. Each character takes his or her turn center-stage, giving evidence, recounting his or her story the dramas of racial identity, the anxieties and misunderstandings born of a life spent on society's margins, the daily humiliations provoked by mainstream culture's fears and indifference, preconceptions and insensitivity. What emerges is a moving story that is common to us all, whether we live in Italy or Los Angeles.

This novel is animated by a style that is as colorful as the neighborhood it describes and is characterized by seemingly effortless equipoise that borrows from the cinematic tradition of the Commedia all Italiana as exemplified by directors such as Federico Fellini.

At the heart of this bittersweet comedy told with affection and sensitivity is a social reality that we often tend to ignore and an anthropological analysis, refreshing in its generosity, that cannot fail to fascinate.
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Conclave: A novel

By Robert Harris

The best-selling author of Enigma and Fatherland turns to today's Vatican in a ripped-from-the-headlines novel, and gives us his most ambitious, page-turning thriller yet--where the power of God is nearly equaled by the ambition of men.

The pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will + Read More..
The best-selling author of Enigma and Fatherland turns to today's Vatican in a ripped-from-the-headlines novel, and gives us his most ambitious, page-turning thriller yet--where the power of God is nearly equaled by the ambition of men.

The pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world's most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on Earth.

“Harris has written a gripping, smart book. . . . This could become the Catholic version of The Satanic Verses.” The New York Times Book Review
$10.00
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Coriolanus

By William Shakespeare

Set in the earliest days of the Roman Republic, Coriolanus begins with the common people, or plebeians, in armed revolt against the patricians. The people win the right to be represented by tribunes. Meanwhile, there are foreign enemies near the gates of Rome.

The play explores one reason that Rome prevailed over such vulnerabilities: its reverence for family bonds. + Read More..
Set in the earliest days of the Roman Republic, Coriolanus begins with the common people, or plebeians, in armed revolt against the patricians. The people win the right to be represented by tribunes. Meanwhile, there are foreign enemies near the gates of Rome.

The play explores one reason that Rome prevailed over such vulnerabilities: its reverence for family bonds. Coriolanus so esteems his mother, Volumnia, that he risks his life to win her approval. Even the value of family, however, is subordinate to loyalty to the Roman state. When the two obligations align, the combination is irresistible.

Coriolanus is so devoted to his family and to Rome that he finds the decision to grant the plebians representation intolerable. To him, it elevates plebeians to a status equal with his family and class, to Rome’s great disadvantage. He risks his political career to have the tribunate abolished—and is banished from Rome. Coriolanus then displays an apparently insatiable vengefulness against the state he idolized, opening a tragic divide within himself, pitting him against his mother and family, and threatening Rome’s very existence.
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Daisy Miller

By Henry James

Henry James' 1878 publication that brought him international fame, "Daisy Miller" is subtitled "A Study in Two Parts." The plot centers around a Europeanized American man named Winterbourne, who meets a nouveau riche American woman going by the name Daisy Miller.

A short novel, James wields the sword of fiction to craft a "study" of the roles of + Read More..
Henry James' 1878 publication that brought him international fame, "Daisy Miller" is subtitled "A Study in Two Parts." The plot centers around a Europeanized American man named Winterbourne, who meets a nouveau riche American woman going by the name Daisy Miller.

A short novel, James wields the sword of fiction to craft a "study" of the roles of men and women, social relationships, cultural intersection, the allure of money, foolishness and wisdom, the responsibilities of parents, and the impact of one's life upon others.
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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

By Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love touched the world and changed countless lives, inspiring and empowering millions of readers to search for their own best selves. Now, this beloved and iconic book returns in a beautiful 10th anniversary edition, complete with an updated introduction from the author, to launch a whole new generation of fans.

In her early + Read More..
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love touched the world and changed countless lives, inspiring and empowering millions of readers to search for their own best selves. Now, this beloved and iconic book returns in a beautiful 10th anniversary edition, complete with an updated introduction from the author, to launch a whole new generation of fans.

In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.
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History: A Novel

By Elsa Morante

History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding among remote farming villages in the mountains south of Rome. There she witnessed the full impact of the war and first formed the ambition to write an account of what history - the great political events driven by men of power, + Read More..
History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding among remote farming villages in the mountains south of Rome. There she witnessed the full impact of the war and first formed the ambition to write an account of what history - the great political events driven by men of power, wealth, and ambition - does when it reaches the realm of ordinary people struggling for life and bread.

The central character in this powerful and unforgiving novel is Ida Mancuso, a schoolteacher whose husband has died and whose feckless teenage son treats the war as his playground. A German soldier on his way to North Africa rapes her, falls in love with her, and leaves her pregnant with a boy whose survival becomes Ida's passion.

Around these two other characters come and go, each caught up by the war which is like a river in flood. We catch glimpses of bombing raids, street crimes, a cattle car from which human cries emerge, an Italian soldier succumbing to frostbite on the Russian front, the dumb endurance of peasants who have lived their whole lives with nothing and now must get by with less than nothing.
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I, Claudius

By Robert Graves

I, Claudius (written in 1934) is a novel by English writer Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of the Roman Emperor Claudius. Accordingly, it includes the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC to Caligula's assassination in 41 AD.

The 'autobiography' of Claudius continues (from Claudius' accession + Read More..
I, Claudius (written in 1934) is a novel by English writer Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of the Roman Emperor Claudius. Accordingly, it includes the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC to Caligula's assassination in 41 AD.

The 'autobiography' of Claudius continues (from Claudius' accession after Caligula's death, to his own death in 54) in Claudius the God (1935). The sequel also includes a section written as a biography of Herod Agrippa, contemporary of Claudius and future King of the Jews. The two books were adapted by the BBC into an award-winning television serial, I, Claudius.

In 1998 the Modern Library ranked I, Claudius fourteenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present.
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Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

By Robert Harris

From the bestselling author of Fatherland and Pompeii, comes the first novel of a trilogy about the struggle for power in ancient Rome.

In his “most accomplished work to date” (Los Angeles Times), master of historical fiction Robert Harris lures readers back in time to the compelling life of Roman Senator Marcus Cicero. The re-creation of a vanished biography + Read More..
From the bestselling author of Fatherland and Pompeii, comes the first novel of a trilogy about the struggle for power in ancient Rome.

In his “most accomplished work to date” (Los Angeles Times), master of historical fiction Robert Harris lures readers back in time to the compelling life of Roman Senator Marcus Cicero. The re-creation of a vanished biography written by his household slave and righthand man, Tiro, Imperium follows Cicero’s extraordinary struggle to attain supreme power in Rome.

On a cold November morning, Tiro opens the door to find a terrified, bedraggled stranger begging for help. Once a Sicilian aristocrat, the man was robbed by the corrupt Roman governor, Verres, who is now trying to convict him under false pretenses and sentence him to a violent death. The man claims that only the great senator Marcus Cicero, one of Rome’s most ambitious lawyers and spellbinding orators, can bring him justice in a crooked society manipulated by the villainous governor. But for Cicero, it is a chance to prove himself worthy of absolute power.

What follows is one of the most gripping courtroom dramas in history, and the beginning of a quest for political glory by a man who fought his way to the top using only his voice—defeating the most daunting figures in Roman history.
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Italian Journey: 1786-1788

By Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Goethe's account of his passage through Italy from 1786 to 1788 is a great travel chronicle as well as a candid self-portrait of a genius in the grip of spiritual crisis.
Goethe's account of his passage through Italy from 1786 to 1788 is a great travel chronicle as well as a candid self-portrait of a genius in the grip of spiritual crisis.
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Livy: The Early History of Rome

By Titus Livy

With stylistic brilliance and historical imagination, the first five books of Livy's monumental history of Rome record events from the foundation of Rome through the history of the seven kings, the establishment of the Republic and its internal struggles, up to Rome's recovery after the fierce Gallic invasion of the fourth century B.C.

Livy vividly depicts the great + Read More..
With stylistic brilliance and historical imagination, the first five books of Livy's monumental history of Rome record events from the foundation of Rome through the history of the seven kings, the establishment of the Republic and its internal struggles, up to Rome's recovery after the fierce Gallic invasion of the fourth century B.C.

Livy vividly depicts the great characters, legends, and tales, including the story of Romulus and Remus. Reprinting Robert Ogilvie's lucid 1971 introduction, this highly regarded edition now boasts a new preface, examining the text in light of recent Livy scholarship, informative maps, bibliography, and an index.