A great layman's guide to the important Emperors who shaped the Roman Empire. As such, it's easy to flick to a particular emperor to learn about him, those around him, his influencers and what he did.
Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine
This non-fiction book is a modern take on Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus' Twelve Caesars, which was written in A.D. 121. Unlike Tranquillus, Strauss opts to focus on the most significant of the Roman Emperors instead of chronological biographies. He leaves out those Emperors who had short or insignificant reigns, although he does refer to them. Two of the most colourful Caesars - Claudius and Caligula - didn't make the list.
Ten Caesars is not an academic book so it is very accessible to the history buff who is interested in this period and the author is clear about where sources exist and where assumptions are made. Each emperor is fleshed out with depictions of his physical appearance, characteristics and achievements so that we are not faced with a series of facts and unpronounceable names that leave us with a mingled mass of information. Individual and distinct people are what we discover. Astounding to think that these are real people: you couldn't make up these characters.
One book manages to give an overview of more than three hundred years of one of the most successful and important empires the world has ever known. Read this and feel like a Roman expert. Highly recommended.
Ten Caesars is published by Simon and Schuster on 5 March 2019
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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