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

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9781250023537: The Twelve Caesars: The Dramatic Lives of the Emperors of Rome

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.

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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.

From Booklist:

The author of Livia, Empress of Rome (2011) imitates Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars. Designed to interest readers in the original, it characterizes ancient Rome’s top dogs, from Julius Caesar to Domitian, through several means. Handling cautiously the salacious details in which Suetonius reveled, Dennison relates the reputations Suetonius, augmented by Tacitus, imposed on the––well, what were the leaders of the Roman Empire to be called in the first century CE? The title implied the nature of the regime. Dictator-for-life Julius Caesar posed as a restorer of the Republic, as did the princeps (first citizen), Augustus. It fell to the later Caesars in the sequence to forthrightly acknowledge a monarchy by adopting the title of emperor. Not that all of them were interested in government. The lurid images of Caligula and Nero as appetite-driven psychopaths derives from Suetonius, who, as Dennison underscores, favored the military chieftain who emerged victorious from the civil wars of 69 CE, Vespasian. With lapidary pith, Dennison wrestles with the calumnies and biases of ancient sources to produce fascinating portraits. --Gilbert Taylor

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Dennison, Matthew
Published by St. Martin's Press, New York (2013)
ISBN 10: 125002353X ISBN 13: 9781250023537
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Book Description St. Martin's Press, New York, 2013. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 385 p. Contains: Illustrations, black & white. Audience: General/trade. Bookseller Inventory # 768940

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Dennison, Matthew
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