Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor
On one hand, Augustus could...more
The challenges facing the author include holes in the life story of the man who became A...more
The author quickly introduces Augustus as Octavian, the handsome and astute great-nephew of Julius Caesar. Trained in public administration by Caesar, Octavian was a person of delicate health who never became the warrior that his great-uncle was. In fact, he leaned heavily u...more
Any student of Roman history should have a handle on the life and times of Imperator no. 1, a...more
Born during Cicero's consulship, the young boy grows up in the period of political in...more
Everitt successfully navigated the difficult feat of writing about a great man, on whom there ar...more
Caesar was given short term autocratic power during time of war and people feared he wouldn't give it up, hence the attack on the ides of March by Republican Senators, includi...more
Based on this one, I want to read the same author's Cicero as well.
More important, though, is this question: what lesson did Augustus primarily draw from his long reign? What did he believe near its end? Well, at one point he quoted Virgil...more
A common cliche is that a given figure is complicated. Augustus, is in fact, complicated. Adopted by Julius Caesar, head of (several) revolts, credited for putting Rome on firm footing, and died just after orchestrating his dynasty, he deserves much of the accolades he is given.
Everitt gives a detaile...more
Ancient history is made up of bits of information from dated manuscripts and the plausible conjectures of historians. Reading this book, I would add that the personal biases of history writers fill in the information gaps which are especially large the farther back in time we go. The end result is a mix of fact and fiction, and like a scifi novel, the fiction needs to retain structural consistency with the rest of the facts.
With equal parts wonder and skepticism, this book takes one way back to...more
I'd read a few books that dealt with Octavian/Augustus in a supporting role to the infamous Cleopatra and her children. With one exception, I was way more interested in Octavian than Cleopatra (I may have declared I was Team Octavian). Not in a "clearly Octavian was superior" way, but because his character seemed more complex than Cleopatra and her kin's.
So I picked this book up, wanting to know more about Augustus and it did not disappoint me. The compl...more
Once the narrative reached the point where Augustu...more
Of this, Ever...more
Anthony Everitt's book is readable and informative but far from perfect. Some problems with this biography will be outlined in a moment, but let me state out the outset that I have some sympathy for Everitt's dilemma. The historical records during the century prior to Augustus becoming ruler of Rome are much more complete than after Augustus reestablished Rome as an Empire. Much of the record from the period after...more