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 suicideand 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.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|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
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.