Sick Caesars: Madness and Malady in Imperial Rome

Overview

From the ascension of Augustus to the division of the eastern and western empires in 364, Sick Caesars investigates the illnesses that led to the rise and fall of the Roman emperors-and, to some extent, the Roman Empire itself. Continually plagued by plots and intrigues, the Caesars had every reason to live in fear and suspicion.

Michael Grant discusses how, aside from emotional anxieties, the emperors were visited by any number of diseases ...
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Overview

From the ascension of Augustus to the division of the eastern and western empires in 364, Sick Caesars investigates the illnesses that led to the rise and fall of the Roman emperors-and, to some extent, the Roman Empire itself. Continually plagued by plots and intrigues, the Caesars had every reason to live in fear and suspicion.

Michael Grant discusses how, aside from emotional anxieties, the emperors were visited by any number of diseases which the stress of their position seemed only to exacerbate. Alcoholism and epilepsy were two illnesses commonly shared by the Caesars, and the list of maladies goes on to include schizophrenia, hyperthyroidism, acute encephalitis, and congenital cerebral paralysis, to name just a few.

Their illnesses, both psychological and physical, helped shape the course of history: Aurelius probably would have invaded Germany had he not suffered from bad health, and Septimius Severus likely would have conquered the whole of Britain had his health not prevented him. The emotional disorders of the emperors run the gamut, from the mildly sadistic (Domitian was in the habit, in his free time, of pulling the wings off flies) to the bizarre (Caracalla was known to frequent brothels, driving out the prostitutes and prostituting himself in their place) to the frighteningly homicidal (Caligula stored the corpses of murdered women under his floorboards). Sick Caesars is an account, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, of men transformed, and more often deranged, by absolute power. Included are:

  • Julius Caesar
  • Trajan
  • Augustus
  • Hadrian
  • Tiberius
  • MarcusAurelius
  • Caligula
  • Commodus
  • Claudius
  • Caracalla
  • Domitian
  • Diocletian
  • Nerva
  • Constantine


About the Author:
Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, Michael Grant is the author of dozens of books on the ancient and classical worlds, including: Guide to the Ancient World, The Twelve Caesars, Saint Peter, and The Ancient Historians.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760741368
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2003
  • Pages: 178

Meet the Author

Michael Grant
Michael Grant

Michael Grant is the cocreator and cowriter of the bestselling middle-grade science fiction series Animorphs and Everworld. He lives in California with his wife, Katherine Applegate, and their two children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2004

    an excellent read

    well written and very informal. recomended to anyone interested in roman history.

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