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The Twelve Caesars

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  245 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The twelve Caesars of ancient Rome (Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus & Domitian) form a fabulous series. The themes of countless legends, these men were infamously depicted in Suetonius's Lives of the Caesars as strange at best & hideously villainous at worst. Delving into the personalities of the ...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published April 15th 1996 by Barnes and Noble (first published 1975)
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This was a very light read, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Grant includes a lot of information on how these first rulers impacted the political development of the early principate, and their effect on their immediate surroundings, the city of Rome. Grant makes an interesting point about the crushing work load that the position entailed, and it was fascinating to look at these men through that lens. He critically uses multiple classical sources: Suetonius, Tacitus, Livy, Philo, Virgil, Sen ...more
Grant's work is like an expanded companion to reading Suetonius, a complement of additional readings and input from other contemporary or relevant ancient voices on the Caesars (suitably footnoted for reference), and woven into an informative and insightful narrative of their lives. Imagine reading Suetonius in the study of the Caesars with an eminent classicist beside you to add questions, comments, and apprise you as go. I picture this work rising out of Grant's research and lectures. An inval ...more
D.R. Pitcock
So prolific were these Caesars and Grant captures their individual color very well. Fear, loathing, More fear, and then murder is all here. You will not be bored.
Not as scandelous as a certain BBC production but interesting none the less.
Good book. But it only gives thumbnail sketches of the Caesar's lives. I wish it gave more.
James Irish
For those of us who are fascinated with ancient Rome, You cant go too far wrong with Michael Grant..Considering the time elapsed and te paucity of information it is an excellent and entertaining read. One you can return to again and again..
Sep 21, 2010 Susan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who take an Interest in the Roman Empire/the Twelve Caesars
Shelves: nonfiction
6/14/2011: (REVISED)
True, this isn't the worst book ever. It does have its interesting moments but considering the other recent nonfiction books I've discovered, I think I have to lower my ratings on this book. It IS boring in several parts. I never chose to voluntarily read it, and I never actually finished this book despite that this was assigned as my summer reading book. Only people who LOVE the Roman empire and the twelve caesars would enjoy every page of this book.
Grant's coverage makes for an interesting read for those interested in the Roman emperors and looking for general overviews rather than anything in-depth. He has a simple style that makes reading this easy rather than a headache, and as such, I'd recommend this to non-experts. People looking for scholarly sources, however, would probably find Grant's book of little use.
Not very good. The author gives a very brief rundown of each of the caesar's lives. In doing so, he many times jumps in time. In the rush through his subjects, he misses much of the details that give a complete picture of these men. Unless you are already familiar with his subjects, you will be lost. Youwill be much better off reading other books onthis subject.
Read this many years ago. My current reading of Taylor Caldwell's book on St. Luke set during this timeframe has me interested in rereading at least portions of this.
Monica Perez
Overviews of their personalities rather than the events of their reigns. good supplement to the more chronological narratives of roman history.
serious historian de-gossipifies the obvious primary source text for this interpretation. fairly straightforward & reliable.
A very informative take on Suetonius's book about the first twelve emperors of Rome. Very interesting and humanizing.
Shana Yates
Well-written and well-researched brief account of the twelve men who took the name Caesar.
In general, Michael Grant is awesome. Just read him if you're interested in Ancient Rome.
I was inspired to read this by the Rome TV series to be able to better tell fact from fiction.
Robert Ingram
A wonderful gift from a wonderful friend, John Windsor. I highly recommend this as a good read.
Varun Godbole
A good overview of their lives, personalities and how they rose to power.
Larry Van bibber
Interesting but just an overview
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Michael Grant was an English classisist, numismatist, and author of numerous popular books on ancient history. His 1956 translation of Tacitus’s Annals of Imperial Rome remains a standard of the work. He once described himself as "one of the very few freelances in the field of ancient history: a rare phenomenon". As a popularizer, his hallmarks were his prolific output and his unwillingness to ove ...more
More about Michael Grant...
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