Marcus Agrippa by Lindsay Powell
Right-Hand Man of Caesar Augustus

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Marcus Agrippa personified the term 'right-hand man'. As Emperor Augustus' deputy, he waged wars, pacified provinces, beautified Rome, and played a crucial role in laying the foundations of the Pax Romana for the next two hundred years - but he served always in the knowledge he would never rule in his own name. Why he did so, and never grasped power exclusively for himself, has perplexed historians for centuries.

In his teens he formed a lifelong friendship with Julius Caesar's great nephew, Caius Octavius, which would change world history. Following Caesar’s assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC, Agrippa was instrumental in asserting his friend’s rights as the dictator's heir. He established a reputation as a bold admiral, defeating Sextus Pompeius at Mylae and Naulochus (36 BC), culminating in the epoch-making Battle of Actium (31 BC), which eliminated Marcus Antonius and Queen Cleopatra as rivals. He proved his genius for military command on land by ending bloody rebellions in the Cimmerian Bosporus, Gaul, Hispania and Illyricum.

In Gaul Agrippa established the vital road network that helped turn Julius Caesar’s conquests into viable provinces. As a diplomat, he befriended Herod the Great of Judaea and stabilized the East. As minister of works he overhauled Rome's drains and aqueducts, transformed public bathing in the city, created public parks with great artworks and built the original Pantheon.

Agrippa became co-ruler of the Roman Empire with Augustus and married his daughter Julia. His three sons were adopted by his friend as potential heirs to the throne. Agrippa's unexpected death in 12 BC left Augustus bereft, but his bloodline lived on in the imperial family, through Agrippina the Elder to his grandson Caligula and great grandson Nero.

MARCUS AGRIPPA is lucidly written by the author of the acclaimed biographies Eager for Glory and Germanicus. Illustrated with color plates, figures and high quality maps, Lindsay Powell presents a penetrating new assessment of the life and achievements of the multifaceted man who put service to friend and country before himself.


“A gripping, thoroughly researched and hugely impressive biography of a key player in the transition from the Roman Republic to Augustus's Empire'.
– Saul David, University of Buckingham, author of WAR: From Ancient Egypt to Iraq.

“Augustus' ascent and reign are unthinkable without Marcus Agrippa. Surprisingly, there has been no biography of Agrippa in English for some eighty years. Powell's book admirably fills this gap and will be indispensable for anyone with a serious interest in this crucial historical period.”

– Karl Galinsky, University of Texas at Austin, author of Augustus: Introduction to the Life of an Emperor.

“Marcus Agrippa was one of history’s most intriguing right-hand men. Few played a greater role in the emperor Augustus’ success. In vigorous prose, and with a fingertip feel for Roman politics and war, Lindsay Powell brings Agrippa to life.”
– Barry Strauss, Cornell University, author of Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership.

Powell describes Agrippa as a devoted aide and indispensable deputy without whom Augustus could never have won the civil war to take power or ruled so successfully for so long. He was a talented general on land and a fine admiral at sea, he says, a pragmatic diplomat, a hard-working public official, a generous philanthropist, and a close friend and contemporary of the emperor. Among his topics are the new man in Rome, mastermind of victory at Actium, statesman of the Roman world, the noblest man of his day, and assessment.

About Lindsay Powell

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Lindsay Powell is a historian and writer who has a passion for the military history of the Roman Empire. A graduate of The University of Aston in Birmingham, he is a veteran of The Ermine Street Guard re-enactment society. He is news editor of Ancient Warfare magazine and has written for Military Heritage, Strategy and Tactics, and regularly contributes to Author of the acclaimed EAGER FOR GLORY and GERMANICUS, his latest book - MARCUS AGRIPPA - is about the life and swashbuckling exploits of Caesar Augustus' right-hand man. He is currently working on a new title detailing the commanders, campaigns and conflicts of the reign of Emperor Augustus. Visit him at
Published February 28, 2015 by Pen and Sword Military. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Marcus Agrippa


Agrippa reorganized the Roman navy with new ships, tactics and weapons, and it was Agrippa who crushed Sextus Pompey at the 36 BC battles of Mylae and Naulochus, giving Augustus control of Italy and Sicily.

Dec 29 2015 | Read Full Review of Marcus Agrippa: Right-Hand Ma...

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