The Twelve Caesars

The Twelve Caesars The Twelve Caesars Of Ancient Rome Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus Domitian Form A Fabulous Series The Themes Of Countless Legends, These Men Were Infamously Depicted In Suetonius S Lives Of The Caesars As Strange At Best Hideously Villainous At Worst Delving Into The Personalities Of These Rulers, Classical Historian Michael Grant Attempts To Sort Fact From Rumor To Determine How Each Of These Men Used Their Unlimited Authority Black White Illustrations. 4 5Clear overview of the first twelve Roman emperors including Caesar Grant roughly bases his survey on Suetonius s De Vita Caesarum for the bibliographic profiles, as well as Tacitus s Annals for historical background He pursues a clear line of comparison for all twelve emperors, considering their management of the Senate, praetorian guard, and management of imperial duties Useful for a brief overview with a clear message, but without much ambiguity Good for a first step in the Roman imperial history. Is it dated Maybe, I don t know, I m not as up on ancient history as I could be But what I can tell you about this, is that Grant writes with insight, drawing lines between classical authors like Suetonius, Tacitus, and Juvenal among others and contemporary scholarship to flesh out the lives of the first dozen Caesars, and he does so with a wry sense of humour to boot It s not light reading, but it s highly readable, even for general audiences, and it s compelling I barely put it down Recommended for ancient history buffs, or anyone who liked HBO s old Rome series I read this in tandem with Suetonius Lives of the Caesars This book uses Suetonius as its primary source but expands the biographies by using other sources and places each Caesar in his historical and sociological context Also, it tries to separate out or at least re consider some of the hearsay recorded by Suetonius I think the big take away here was that having absolute power over the known world was an exhausting job and only few Augustus, Claudius, Vespian did it well. If you wish to impress your friends with a knowledge of ancient Rome but only have time to read one book then you won t go too far wrong with Michael Grant.Very well researched and tightly written Grants wry humour is especially enjoyable It s an academic work but than suitable for the general reader One you can return to again and again. Not as scandelous as a certain BBC production but interesting none the less. Clearly aimed at famous Suetonius s work by the same title, Grant s book supplements the former account with many sources from Tacitus and Dio Cassius to modern researchers in Roman History and new findings Even important, mere narration of the events is combined with an attempt to analyze and explain them Even for those familiar with the subject, there are many discoveries to be made The Author does a great job demonstrating just what a tremendously back breaking duty the job of a Roman Emperor was and how it indeed broke even the strongest of people Time and again we see how without a well executed transition plan a rule of a Caesar ended in a often violent disruption and a crisis only Augustus and Vespasian were lucky enough to grow a fitting successor.Thanks to the Author, we are able to see each of the Caesars not as a superficial one dimensional collection of pop history facts Caligula Of course, he made his horse a Consul but as complex multi faceted characters Everyone started with the best intentions, everyone got broken by the duty, sometimes in an ugly way The Author quotes the famous Lord Acton s maxim Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and there is hardly a better book to drive that point home.Still, it is amazing to witness how the eternal Republic rather quickly transitions into an absolute monarchy while still loudly proclaiming the adherence to the Republican ideals As uncomfortable as it might be, there are some lessons for all of us to learn it is indeed a very short way from LIBERTAS POPVLI to LIBERTAS AVGVSTI In nuce what a pleasure Probably the best book on one of the most interesting and important periods of Roman History highly accessible, yet deep enough Most importantly, the Author undertook a titanic work of combining multiple sources both ancient and new to present a well rounded picture I you plan to read Suetonius, I highly recommend reading this one first. 2 Stars Didn t enjoy a majority of the book but finished it for some reason probably stubbornness Audio Book Aside from Julius and a tiny amount about Augustus, Caligula, and Nero, I don t know much about the early Caesars I thought this book would be a good starter book, and I guess it is The problem with this book was mostly if not entirely because of the audiobook Although the reader has a great voice I thought she sounded like Judi Dench , her voice was mostly the same tempo and cadence Because of this, I often found my mind wandering and had to go back and listen to large chunks of it again As far as the content, Grant gives an overview of each Caesar s persona but often just skims the political events during their reign To be fair, I probably would have retained if I had read the book instead of listening to it Ultimately, I was left wanting , so this book did inspire me to read about Rome. Modeled in the same way as Suetonius Lives of the Caesars but using Suetonius, Tacitus, Cassius Dio and other authors to write an engaging narrative of the emperors. This was a very light read, which is not necessarily a bad thing Grant includes a lot of information on how these first rulers impacted the political development of the early principate, and their effect on their immediate surroundings, the city of Rome Grant makes an interesting point about the crushing work load that the position entailed, and it was fascinating to look at these men through that lens He critically uses multiple classical sources Suetonius, Tacitus, Livy, Philo, Virgil, Seneca, and Juvenal, among others, as well as many secondary sources Not an academically rigorous book, but a pleasant read, nonetheless. Grant s work is like an expanded companion to reading Suetonius, a complement of additional readings and input from other contemporary or relevant ancient voices on the Caesars suitably footnoted for reference , and woven into an informative and insightful narrative of their lives Imagine reading Suetonius in the study of the Caesars with an eminent classicist beside you to add questions, comments, and apprise you as go I picture this work rising out of Grant s research and lectures An invaluable study source as well as an enjoyable read.

[BOOKS] ✸ The Twelve Caesars  By Michael Grant –
  • Hardcover
  • 282 pages
  • The Twelve Caesars
  • Michael Grant
  • English
  • 09 August 2017
  • 9780760700884