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Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Classics: The Twelve Caesars
The Twelve Caesars
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
'Twenty-three dagger thrusts went home as he stood there. Caesar did not utter a sound...' This vivid, racy account of the men who wielded absolute power over ancient Rome - including maniacs, tyrants, warriors, sadists and murderers - is the source for nearly everything we know about one of the most dramatic periods in history.
Okay, so to give you guys a bit more information, Suetonius was the private secretary of Emperor Hadrian and he used the imperial archives along with eye witness accounts to create this book. It's a pretty epic biographical work! I wouldn't say it's for the casual reader either, fans of the time period will most definitely love this, whereas people with a casual interest might not find it as good as others, because there's a hell of a lot of information in this book, it's completely fascinating.
There are twelve sections, obviously, from Julius (the one who got shanked, speaker of the infamous 'friends, Romans, countrymen' line), and the founding of the Empire, through to his successors who kinda screwed it all up a little bit (looking at you Nero), and then the recovery of the Empire with guys who, quite frankly, I had never heard of before reading this book. Not going to lie to you.
There's all kinds of information in this book on each of them, military, family, what they looked like, achievements, and so on. You get a tonne of information in numbered points, and they paint vivid pictures of each individual person. Quite frankly, I was reading about some of them and it was like Game of Thrones and I was sitting there reading like...how did these people actually exist? It was eye opening to say the least, and it completely blew my mind that not only did they exist, but that they got away with everything they did. The book really does bring them all to colourful life.
In addition to that, the Pocket Penguin edition has a term and place name glossary in the back, some family trees and pages of notes with even more information to help you as you read. Okay sure, it may have been a bit of a slog at points, but it makes for a very interesting read nonetheless!