If you need the entire history of the Roman Empire reduced into a nutshell, with fantastic maps and photographs of archaeological ruins and busts, then this is the book for you! The history of Roman civilization is a huge topic to tackle, especially in the span of a semester. As a Classics minor, I had a difficult time remembering the major dates, people, and places figuring from 800 BC to 540 AD, from the origins in Rome, to fall of the Western Empire. The Atlas provides a visual depiction of the rise and fall of Rome. I personally like being able to see a broad depiction in order to better understand the major themes of a civilization. Scarre provides detailed maps of important places of expansion, as well as information on trade, literacy, and cultural life in different periods. The timelines are excellent; the timeline is broken down into The Roman State, Building and Construction, Literature and Philosophy, and Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean. This book, however, cannot stand alone since it is a broad overview. It is a great companion to classical texts and textbooks on the Roman Empire. It is also perfect for a quick overview before an exam. For those simply interested the rise and fall of Rome, the Atlas provides a great overview with fantastic images.