The Sons of Caesar: Imperial Rome's First Dynasty

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Overview

The story of one of the most colorful dynasties in history, from Caesar's rise to power in the first century BC to Nero's death in AD 68
This engaging new study reviews the long history of the Julian and Claudian families in the Roman Republic and the social and political background of Rome. At the heart of the account are the lives of six men—Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Neromen—who mastered Rome and then changed it from a democracy to a personal possession. It was no easy task: Caesar and Caligula were assassinated, Nero committed suicide, and Claudius was poisoned. Only Augustus and Tiberius died natural deaths and even that is uncertain.
The Julio-Claudian saga has a host of other intriguing characters, from Cicero, the last great statesman of the Republic, to Livia, matriarch of the Empire; the passionate Mark Antony and the scheming Sejanus; and Agrippina, mother of Nero and sister of Caligula, who probably murdered her husband and was in turn killed by her son. Set against a background of foreign wars and domestic intrigue, the story of Rome's greatest dynasty is also the story of the birth of an imperial system that shaped the Europe of today.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Modern historians like Matyszak (Chronicle of the Roman Republic) are not charmed by the stories handed down by the ancient historians. They can identify a ruthlessness in rulers unseen by earlier generations unable to reflect on the 20th century. Matyszak presents a worthy analysis of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, during which six men Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, Claudius, and Nero ruled over a period of more than a century. In his readable narrative, he emphasizes Caesar and Augustus's unprecedented brutality in establishing their rule, noting that not even Caligula's body count matched their own. Matyszak's distrust of Tacitus is particularly refreshing; he posits that Tiberius's competence as a ruler has not been adequately recognized because there has not been enough analysis of Tacitus's own motives. The evolution of the Roman Empire and the ways in which it is interwoven with the Julio-Claudian family is an old but fascinating theme. Despite its lack of footnotes, this book is an interesting exercise in historiography; recommended for public and academic libraries. (Illustrations not seen.) Clay Williams, Hunter Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500251287
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 6/12/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,438,168
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St. John’s College, Oxford. His books include Legionary, Gladiator, Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day, Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day, The Classical Compendium,
Chronicle of the
Roman Republic,
and The Greek and Roman Myths. He lives in
British Columbia, Canada.
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Table of Contents

Julio-Claudian family tree 8
1 Introduction : from republic to empire 12
2 Family fortunes 18
3 Julius Caesar : from a renegade to a god 36
4 From Octavian to Augustus : Caesar's deadly legacy 76
5 Tiberius : emperor by default 125
6 Gaius Caligula : fear and loathing at the imperial court 162
7 Claudius : the unexpected emperor 198
8 Nero : the death of a dynasty 142
9 Epilogue 274
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