The Twelve Caesars: The Dramatic Lives of the Emperors of Rome

The Twelve Caesars: The Dramatic Lives of the Emperors of Rome

by Matthew Dennison


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, August 28


An unforgettable depiction of the Roman empire at the height of its power and reach, and an elegantly sensational retelling of the lives and times of the twelve Caesars

One of the them was a military genius, one murdered his mother and fiddled while Rome burned, another earned the nickname "sphincter artist". Six of their number were assassinated, two committed suicide—and five of them were elevated to the status of gods. They have come down to posterity as the "twelve Caesars"—Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. Under their rule, from 49 BC to AD 96, Rome was transformed from a republic to an empire, whose model of regal autocracy would survive in the West for more than a thousand years.

Matthew Dennison offers a beautifully crafted sequence of colorful biographies of each emperor, triumphantly evoking the luxury, license, brutality, and sophistication of imperial Rome at its zenith. But as well as vividly recreating the lives, loves, and vices of this motley group of despots, psychopaths and perverts, he paints a portrait of an era of political and social revolution, of the bloody overthrow of a proud, five-hundred-year-old political system and its replacement by a dictatorship which, against all the odds, succeeded more convincingly than oligarchic democracy in governing a vast international landmass.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250049124
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/19/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 745,839
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

MATTHEW DENNISON is the author of the critically acclaimed The Last Princess and Livia, Empress of Rome. As a journalist, he contributes to The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Country Life, and The Spectator. He is married and lives in London and North Wales.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations x

Note on the text xi

Family Trees xii

Introduction 1

I 'Too great for mortal man' Julius Caesar 7

II 'All clap your hands' Augustus 39

III 'Ever dark and mysterious' Tiberius 67

IV 'Equally furious against men and against the gods' Gaius Caligula 101

V 'Remarkable freak of fortune' Claudius 131

VI 'An angler in the lake of darkness' Nero 159

VII 'Equal to empire had he never been emperor' Galba 189

VIII 'If I was worthy to be Roman emperor… Otho 217

IX 'A series of carousals and revels' Vitellius 241

X 'The fox changes his fur, but not his nature' Vespasian 263

XI 'The delight and darling of the human race' Titus 303

XII 'But the third'? Domitian 331

Bibliography 361

Notes 367

Glossary 379

Index 381

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Twelve Caesars: The Dramatic Lives of the Emperors of Rome 1.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book as a casual history buff, not an academic.  I'm sure in the hundreds of pages of tortured prose and endless punctuation there's a story.  I just don't have the patience to find it.  I made it through 1 caesar then threw the book away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This popular historical book at first glance held the promise of a well documented narrative on the life and times of Rome's 12 Ceasars. However, the narrative itself was written in a strianed, cumbersome and almost disconnected manner that undermined the fluidity and cohesiveness of the entire book. In this respect the book was a disappointment.