Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

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Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got this book for a history class, can't put it down :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book we meet Augustus and the people around him, in Rome and elsewhere. We also are introduced to the culture and politics of Rome during this period of its history. This book is well written and informative; I recommend it for anyone who enjoys history.
Gregor1066 More than 1 year ago
Well worth the money and time to read. The research Everitt has performed to provide this biography is unbelievable and is difficult to put it down. He as an amazing person to actually come up against some of the most powerful people in the world and end up becoming the Emperor. I look forward to my next trip to Rome to see his home. It is very balanced and relates to the reader the realities of the times and life. Highly Recommend this book. Kudos to Everitt. I also read his Hadrian and it too is outstanding.
LarryA-62 More than 1 year ago
This was a thorough and scholarly treatment of Augustus' life and times. Well-written, though at times it seemed tedious because of the scholastic desire to remain non-committal on questionable points that had little support in written records. Overall, I found it an enlightening presentation of its subject, and I learned a great deal from it. At times, the author seemed a little too eager to explain the sexual mores of the time. At other times, his comments seemed appropriate to the subject at hand.
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JGolomb More than 1 year ago
Anthony Everitt's "Augustus" is a solid biography on one of history's most influential people. Augustus, born Gaius Octavius September 23, in 63 BC, lived to the ripe old age of 77 and ruled the Roman Empire for almost 45 years...both staggering amounts of time considering the average lifespan 2000 years ago and the average lifespan of Roman politician. He is arguably one of the most impactful individuals ever to roam the earth. His existence intersected Julius Caesar (his grand-uncle and adopted father), Marc Antony (primary competitor for the Roman throne), Cleopatra (Antony's lover, and co-competitor for Roman throne), Jesus Christ (born during his reign), the Battle of Teutoberg Forest (key moment in empire's expansion). Everitt provides peeks into Augustus' life at all stages and ages. Some of the views are limited, thin or highly speculative as necessitated by the sources at Everitt's disposal. As he does in his biography of another engimatic Roman leader, "Hadrian", Everitt speculates and analyzes multiple sources when inconsistencies arise. Much time is spent laying out the political atmosphere, and complex interrelationships that provide the context and backdrop for this incredibly intense period of history. What's enjoyable about Everitt is his narrative approach to the biography. Many elements of Augustus' life are highlighted with vignettes and stories. I particularly enjoyed his chapter on the day in the life of the Emperor, cobbled together from specific and non-specific references. The chapters on his adopted father's rise and downfall are fascinating as well, though it's difficult to keep up with the names of people, places and battles. It's particularly frustrating keeping track of individuals with similar names (there were two different "Brutuses" involved in Caesar's murder, for example). Everitt does his best to reminding the reader of re-introduced characters. "Augustus" is similar to Everitt's "Hadrian" in that one comes away unable to fully reconcile what kind of man Augustus was. How did the younger Octavian go from a sickly and almost accidental high stakes political player, to the self assured rebuilder of the Roman world? Everitt writes that he was "devious, untrustworthy, and bloodthirsty. But once he established his authority, he governed efficiently and justly, generally allowed freedom of speech, and promoted the rule of the law." Family was important - he and Livia were together for 50 years - but when his limits were tested, he reacted severely. In his later years, Augustus' daughter Julia was shut out of his life and exiled for the remainder of hers. His grandson Agrippa Postumus, while the only remaining successor by blood, was also banished. Everitt points to Augustus' political reforms as some of his most courageous feats even though some took tweaking over time to get right, and some never stuck at all. He attempted to reset moral perspectives of the Roman elite. He instituted a governmental bureaucracy (Augustus-aucracy?) that paved the way for governmental growth (and, oddly enough, greater efficiencies). The book is fact-filled, well written, highly notated and comes with several maps, photos and drawings, and a list of suggested reading. For those interested in a very readable biography of Augustus, but also a anthropological study of the time in which he lived, then I'd highly recommend this book.
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dacttylion More than 1 year ago
Augustus is an entertaining read and somewhat informative, but it is weighed down by a number of statements by Everitt of which we could say: "That's just your opinion, man." What is particularly frustrating is the way that Everitt presents his opinion as if it is yet another researched fact. This makes me doubt the historical validity of the book in general, because Everitt obviously cannot separate fact from prejudice.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Everitt biography of Augustus is excellent. The book has it all sex, voilence, murder and conspiracy. He was Rome's first Emperor and yet not enough is written about him. Overall I enjoyed and learned a great deal about Rome's first Emperor and enjoyed the journey through history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many biographies, and a few books on Roman history, but this is one of the best books to combine the two ever. Everitt combines scholarship with a clear narrative style, mixing narrative with quotes from contemporary authors such as Ovid, Virgil, Livy, etc. He also lucidly describes Roman life in the age of Augustus with depth and clarity. Everitt's love of the subject(s) he writes about is obvious throughout, and it is hard not to fall in love too. It moves really fast through history at times, but this can be blamed more on the lack of authoritative biographical and historical records than on any fault of the author. Definitely a must read for any Classical History buffs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A splendid insight into the life of Octavian and his rise to power. Well researched and well written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As in his earlier book on Cicero, Everett achieves with apparent ease to bring the life and times of Augustus to the reader in a most appealing and riveting manner. Honest to a fault when it comes to historic lacunas, Everett mixes facts and general background in a way that he creates a continuing story line that keeps the reader's attention from the first page. Clearly, a 'must-read', even for those whose interest in history is more peripheral.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get out. Now.