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

By Matthew Dennison

An unforgettable depiction of the Roman empire on the top of its energy and succeed in, and an elegantly sensational retelling of the lives and instances of the twelve Caesars

One of the them used to be an army genius, one murdered his mom and fiddled whereas Rome burned, one other earned the nickname "sphincter artist". Six in their quantity have been assassinated, dedicated suicide―and 5 of them have been increased to the prestige of gods. they've got come all the way down to posterity because the "twelve Caesars"―Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. lower than their rule, from forty nine BC to advert ninety six, Rome was once reworked from a republic to an empire, whose version of regal autocracy might live on within the West for greater than 1000 years.

Matthew Dennison bargains a superbly crafted series of colourful biographies of every emperor, triumphantly evoking the luxurious, license, brutality, and class of imperial Rome at its zenith. yet in addition to vividly recreating the lives, loves, and vices of this motley crew of despots, psychopaths and perverts, he paints a portrait of an period of political and social revolution, of the bloody overthrow of a proud, five-hundred-year-old political process and its substitute by means of a dictatorship which, opposed to all of the odds, succeeded extra convincingly than oligarchic democracy in governing an unlimited foreign landmass.

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It used to be now not a poet’s dying, even supposing Caesar had written poetry – one composition, thoroughly known as ‘The Journey’, undertaken at the twenty-four-day march from Rome to additional Spain. fairly it was once the demise of a guy who had sown and reaped mightily. As he introduced at Marcus Lepidus’ banquet whereas dissent fomented, his selection had continuously been for a quickly demise. Conspiracy didn't thwart that ultimate ambition. Given his obvious overlook for the nice opinion of Rome’s governing classification, his future, as Plutarch concluded, used to be ‘not lots unforeseen as... unavoidable’. 2 Compulsively adulterous, topic to the aphrodisiac of energy as he resisted submission in some other point of his existence, he cultivated a legend of non-public contrast and vaulting audacity during which none believed extra totally than he. At a time while unbridled vanity used to be inculcated within the majority of senators’ sons, Caesar succumbed in fantastic type. three He dreamed, a soothsayer defined to him, that he used to be destined to rule the realm: a stressed spirit, unchecked power and an irrational want for paramountcy drove him in the direction of that preposterous target. ‘Caesar’s many successes,’ Plutarch wrote, ‘did now not divert his average spirit of firm and ambition to the joy of what he had laboriously completed, yet served as gas and incentive for destiny achievements, and begat in him plans for destiny deeds, and a keenness for clean glory, as if he had used up what he already had. ’4 these achievements have been to alter the political map of Europe and divert the process Western background, connecting the untamed lands of the north with the tradition and, in time, trust platforms of the south; opposed to that, reorganization of the calendar and a month named in his honour look small beer. What Suetonius describes as ‘incredible powers of patience’ facilitated feats of comic-book bold and derring-do, and doggedness within the face of competition which, in numerous kinds, proved unrelenting. For seven days following Caesar’s homicide, the solar was once darkish as though eclipsed; skies above Rome delighted to the nightly visual appeal of a comet of surpassing splendour universally said via the credulous because the lifeless man’s soul. In dying he used to be deified; his legend had began in existence. If a number of the evil that he did lives after him, as Shakespeare has Mark Antony assert in his funeral oration for Caesar, now not the entire sturdy lies interred along with his bones. five Revisionism all started with the final of these dagger wounds. Even Cicero, whose dating with Caesar used to be notoriously afflicted, admitted that ‘his personality was once an amalgamation of genius, approach, reminiscence, tradition, thoroughness, mind and industry’. 6 On each point Caesar was once himself the architect of his personal mythology: we will observe that it's a trait of these who aspire to pre-eminence. His seven books of Commentaries at the Gallic conflict, overlaying the interval of his proconsulship of Gaul from fifty eight to fifty two BC, current his self-appointed job of subduing Gaul for the empire (and himself) within the gentle of army manoeuvres necessitated within the pursuits of nationwide safety.

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