Julesmarie's Reviews > Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

Augustus by Anthony Everitt
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Sep 09, 12

bookshelves: rome, biography
Read from August 05 to September 08, 2012

This was definitely an interesting book, for more reasons that the author likely intended. This was the first biography I've read in which the opinions of the author were so unabashedly evident. Julius Caesar is discussed in tones of honor sometimes bordering on worship. Antony is vilified and villainized (to the extent that the author claims Antony had complete knowledge of the plan to assassinate Julius Caesar and chose to do nothing about it).

Once the narrative reached the point where Augustus fully came to power, however, I actually came to appreciate having the author so present. In the short histories I've read to prepare to teach Ancient Rome to my 3rd grace class, Augustus is often portrayed as cold, distant (the sole use of notes to communicate with his wife was frequently emphasized), and morally superior. This was the first time I was able to see Augustus in a different, more human, light. And I appreciated it.

Along that same line, I think my favorite thing about this book is that we were given glimpses into Augustus's relationships with his friends and family. Learning how big a role both Agrippa and Livia both apparently played in Augustus's success was fascinating. As was seeing the ways in which those relationships evolved and transformed as Augustus came more into power.

I enjoyed this book, and appreciated the more human and relate-able version of Augustus Caesar that it introduced me to.
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