Twelve Caesars by Matthew Dennison

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In this irreverent and gossipy history Matthew Dennison gives us all the depravity – observing that Tiberius trained boys to swim behind him to lick his genitals...
-Guardian

Synopsis

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.

 

About Matthew Dennison

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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.
 
Published June 25, 2013 by St. Martin's Press. 401 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Twelve Caesars
All: 2 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Pindar on Feb 22 2013

In this irreverent and gossipy history Matthew Dennison gives us all the depravity – observing that Tiberius trained boys to swim behind him to lick his genitals...

Read Full Review of Twelve Caesars | See more reviews from Guardian

Kirkus

Below average
on Apr 07 2013

...those searching for a richer analysis of Roman culture and government during this era should read Adrian Goldsworthy or Michael Grant.

Read Full Review of Twelve Caesars | See more reviews from Kirkus

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