Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Gates of Rome

(Emperor #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  20,043 ratings  ·  867 reviews

The ultimate Rome story

From the spectacle of gladiatorial combat to the intrigue of the Senate, from the foreign wars that secure the power of the empire to the betrayals that threaten to tear it apart, this is the remarkable story of the man who would become the greatest Roman of them all: Julius Caesar.

In the city of Rome, a titanic power struggle is about to shake the R

Kindle Edition, 392 pages
Published 2013 by HarperCollins (first published November 26th 2002)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Gates of Rome, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Caldog I haven't read this book but I have read the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden, which is about Ghengis Khan. His writing style doesn't put too much…moreI haven't read this book but I have read the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden, which is about Ghengis Khan. His writing style doesn't put too much emphasis on the violence itself, more on the results of the violence. There's a few sex scenes but the most detail it goes into is roughly "She undid her deel (coat) and it slipped from her body". So I honestly think this should be fine, unless The Emperor series is written differently. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,043 ratings  ·  867 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Will M.
I've been amazed by quite a few historical fiction already, but none of this specific genre. Rome is one of my favorite places ever since I was young. I aced my third year in high school where we had Greek, Roman, and Egyptian History. Those 3 are my main interest, kindly include Russian History but I haven't read anything about that though.

I know that this novel is high on the inaccuracy, but the author made a note in the end anyway. He said that he intentionally had to do the inaccuracy to ma
Jun 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
William Bernhardt, author of Nemesis, is quoted on The Gates of Rome as saying "what Robert Graves did for Claudius, Conn Iggulden now does for...Julies Caesar." This would be true of Robert Graves was a thriller writing moron willing to ignore factual history at a moment's notice for mere literary convenience.

In his historical note afterward, Iggulden does mention that most of Julius Caesar's childhood is a mystery to historians. Iggulden could be forgiven for taking his liberties in with this
Conn Iggulden vivid imagination and superior prose make of The Gates of Rome a great historical fiction. Most of Julius Caesar’s growing up years are a mystery, so this is basically a work of fiction. But as such it is thoroughly a compelling read. What emerges is a coming of age tale set in the Roman Empire, where the author imagines a vibrant characterization of the early years of the man who would become the most powerful ruler of his era. In a note, Iggulden does mention that most of Julius ...more
*** 3 ***

I think most people faced with a work of Historical Fiction based on well researched and known historical characters, tend to look for the historical truth, despite knowing that the works are romanticized and fictionalized. I think in the case of Gaius Julius Caesar it would be even harder to take dramatic licenses and let the author's imagination run free, because he is such a famous figure in history, it is hard to create timelines without being called on it. In this book the author d
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It has been a bloody long time since I last had a review to do that felt this easy to write. This book was so cut and dry for me. It falls into a class of read that I never fail to find the words to elaborate on.
One of the nicest negative review words a reviewer could draw upon - incompatibility. The sweetest way to say that I thought it was bad, but maybe it isn't the authors fault.

If we were in a relationship, this book and I, I would be saying to it "I want you to know that i
Scott  Hitchcock
A good first book in the series but not nearly as compelling as his Genghis series. The story is good, consistent and well written but it's also a bit boring. I'll still finish out the series but why does every author write about Rome and this time period in such pedantically humorless tones? The Khans weren't exactly Comedy Central material and yet there's so much more humor and personality in that series.

It's not just Igulden. Every author who takes on this time period does so in such a monot
Review of the audiobook narrated by Robert Glenister.

Even though I love history and historical fiction, I've never found Roman history interesting. I've never known exactly why. I love ancient Egypt, the pre-colonization civilizations of the Americas, any history after the Romans, just not the Romans (or Greeks if I can group those two time periods together). My solution was that a great historical fiction novel set in that period would do the trick to jump-start my interest. This is not that no
Lance Greenfield
Action-packed historical drama

Conn Iggulden seemed to like my review of his "quick read," Blackwater, almost as much as I enjoyed reading that book. Being in a one-to-one conversation gave me the opportunity to ask him if he would recommend his Emperor series to anyone who had enjoyed the shorter story. He was very honest in admitting that he didn't know but advised me to walk into a bookshop, pick up The Gates of Rome, read the first chapter then decide whether to replace it on the shelf or buy
Jul 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not much to say about this one. Way too much of a kid-gloves YA vibe and outright fucking with history. Iggulden's excuses in the author's note don't do it for me. His Genghis series seems to be a billion times more well-written and cognizant of historical fact.
Jim Gifford
Jun 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, I didn't like this book. There are any number of things with which I took exception, but first and foremost is his treatment of Caesar's mother, Aurelia Cotta. In The Gates of Rome she is portrayed as epileptic, and those who know her consider her deranged. But this is generally refuted by a historical record that paints her as a model Roman woman and mother who was highly regarded among all classes of her Roman contemporaries. Colleen McCullough adopted this line in her series of no ...more
Thomas Edmund
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really happy with this book - I see many have slammed the story of historical inaccuracies, so I think its fair to read this as fiction based on history, rather than in any way accurate. Nonetheless the story is pretty strong and what I especially liked was the vividness of the prose. There was enough detail to make the story clear, without bogging the world down in the particulars.

Only a couple of beefs with the novel. First it was too obviously the first of a series, the two MCs had barely beg
Fred Shaw
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden, narrated by Robert Glennister. A Blackstone Audio book. Volume #1 of the Emperor Series.

This a historical fictiion novel of the Roman Empire at the end of the Republic era and the beginning of the Kings era. Well written, the story comes alive and is difficult to put down. Iggulden has really done his homework as the events in the book match the historical timelines. This is my first of Iggulden’s books and not the last. I highly recommend it.
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
The first of the 'Emperor' series. This one is Ceasar and Brutus, one the honored son the other the adopted bastard, growing up on a farm outside of Rome. Thats right, you heard me. This series of books creates a completely new Ceasar narrative, one that only vaguely tracks the actual history. Unfortunately, one might say. There is little authenticity in this series. If that doesnt bug you then its a nice pulp read for a sunny day.
Dec 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My edition of this book has 597pg's, not 448pg's as stated. This was a damn good read that I thoroughly enjoyed. My eldest brother recommended this book to me, then told me that one of the character's in this book reminded him of me *smiling*. I had no bloody idea which one ;) But found it even more interesting finding out. The answer to that particular mystery was 'Marcus Brutus'. Nice to know I was slightly cocky as a teenager *laughing*.

It's the tale of Caesar's life from childhood/early tee
Andrew Parry
Hmmm...I'm slightly bemused by the consistent 4+ star reviews here. I love historical fiction, but the likes of George MacDonald Fraser and Patrick O'Brian have set the bar high so I perhaps I have unfairly high expectations.
I have to say this is fairly basic stuff. Lacking in drama and character. I managed to get through to the end because I was on holiday (in Rome, as it happens) and had no other books with me.
The most disappointing aspect is that it doesn't really capture the classical period
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, overdrive
I decided to go back to the beginning of this series after having read and enjoyed the final book which was about Augustus, not Caesar. Unfortunately, I wasn't really interested in the young Caesar and his friend Marcus. I would rather read about the politics and intrigues of Rome (relayed in an historically accurate way to the extent possible) rather than the constant fights and battles in this book. If the next book of the series doesn't improve, I'm done with it.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you look at people's reviews of this book you will notice that how someone likes it depends on how much or what they've read on the subject. Those of us who have read Colleen McCullough's wonderful series on Rome (starting with "The First Man in Rome") are not impressed by "The Gates of Rome". I knew pretty quickly that I wasn't going to like this book, but kept going, maybe because I had made the huge mistake of buying the book rather than checking it out from the library. I'd read Mr. Iggul ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Historically it's a mess. There is virtually no character development. The writing style is pretty pulpy with non-stop action and it's an easy escapist read. There are other Roman series out there far superior. Iggulden may improve as he writes more books, but he's not my 'cup of tea' from this one and I have no desire to read any more of his novels.
I enjoyed the first half of the novel. But when the Marius-Sulla civil war kicked in, I lost all respect for it. Iggulden admits in his closing historical remarks that he took great liberties with the historical record and proceeds to summarize the real history. He abandoned the history almost entirely, and the reader is left with an alternate history that only vaguely relates to what really happened. It's a crime.

One of the worst examples is, (view spoiler)
Yahoo.... boy oh boy... how much do I love these sort of books?

I started with Conn Iggulden when my wife bought me Wolf of the Plains for me to read on a flight to Berlin last year... needless to say I loved it.

I bought Gates of Rome form Tesco [on offer] and read it in few days... I loved that too.... wow... does this man write books that are esy to read? YES YES YES...

On a visit to Rome last weekend I started the next in the "Emporer" series - "The Death of Kings"/.... it's outstanding.

I am no
Eric Smith
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans and those interested in Ancient Rome.
Shelves: historic-fiction
My first real trip into historical fiction other than the works of Jeff Shaara has turned out to be very enjoyable. This novel takes the stories of Ceasar back to his beginning and paints an spectacular picture of two young men growing up on the edge of Rome and the beginning ofr their rise to positions of power. Ceasar is captured in a way I have never seen before as he begins his journey from boyhood into the man that we all know from our history texts. I was unable to put it down and was draw ...more
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
Really? Even ignoring the fact that it's written like a Boy Scott tie in novel for 12 year old boys with ADD, the "history" in this book makes the movie 300 look like a historical documentary from national geographic. I understand changing things for fiction but this is just ridiculous. It's like a world war II novel were Hitler and Churchill grew up as childhood friends on a oil rig. First time in 20 years I haven't been able to finish a book.
Diana Stormblessed
This book covers a a very meaty subject and probably doesn't use enough pages to do it. The characters were poorly developed and were their relationships. I didn't connect with anyone and couldn't see how any of them actually connected with each other. Too bad because it had great potential.
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennie by: FirstReads!
Sigh. I have very mixed feelings about this book.

1. While I'm glad people are still showing interest in ancient Rome, don't we have enough fictionalizations of Julius Caesar? Aren't there other events in Roman history, other charismatic Roman personalities that we could focus on? Between Shakespeare and HBO, I'm all Caesared out. Write me a novel about Elagabulus. That would be bad-ass.

2. Dude. The writing is simplistic and awkward, and at least half the text described violent encounters in fair
Okay, so I get that many people are upset with this book, and I will be the first person to agree that it is NOT historically accurate.

However, I chose to ignore this while reading the book. Because when I read a book, I don't read it for accuracy. I read it because it's entertaining. And this book was definitely entertaining.

It starts off describing Caesar's early life in his home outside Rome. He grows up with Marcus Brutus (yes, I know, this is historically inaccurate). The story continues fr
Tanja Berg
What a disappointment! After first acquainting myself with this author through his Genghis Khan "Conqueror" series, I had high hopes. They were quickly dashed. It's amazing how a book about the early life of Julius Ceasar could be boring. He is an incredibly influential historical figure, he's even got a month named in his honor! Perhaps the rest will be better. I have the second book in this series that I got for free, and I will probably read it. This however, was a total dud. There wasn't a s ...more
Serene  Morticia
1.5 stars, rounded to 2.

I just wasn't keen on this one - I ended up skim reading the second half of the book and skipping to the end. I can't really fault anything, I think it was just a book I didn't like. (view spoiler)
Laura Tenfingers
A very disappointing read I'm afraid. I've previously read seven of Iggulden's books and have given them all 4-5 stars but this was just not in the same league.

My main issue was that there was no character development whatsoever. I kept thinking our MC was a loser and then he'd do something amazing and I'd realize the author expected me to know he was a badass now but somehow I'd missed all that. Hello, this is about Julius Cesar. He was a badass. I never felt that come through.

My second issue
As fiction, it was entertaining enough. As history, it was very poor. Robert Harris' Cicero trilogy is a much better example of how to write historical fiction set in this time period
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ancient & Medieva...: AUGUST 2014 (Group Read 1): The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden 66 126 Jan 21, 2015 11:42AM  
Is this the first of four books? 1 9 Jan 03, 2013 10:51AM  
Book giveaway 21 97 Aug 20, 2012 05:48AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Eagle's Prophecy (Eagle, #6)
  • Fire in the East (Warrior of Rome, #1)
  • The Forgotten Legion (Forgotten Legion Chronicles, #1)
  • Ship of Rome (Masters of the Sea, #1)
  • Wounds of Honour (Empire, #1)
  • Tyrant (Tyrant, #1)
  • Tribune of Rome (Vespasian, #1)
See similar books…
Also publishes under author name C.F. Iggulden.

I was born in the normal way in 1971, and vaguely remember half-pennies and sixpences. I have written for as long as I can remember: poetry, short stories and novels. It’s what I always wanted to do and read English at London University with writing in mind. I taught English for seven years and was Head of English at St. Gregory’s RC High School in Lo

Other books in the series

Emperor (5 books)
  • The Death of Kings (Emperor, #2)
  • The Field of Swords (Emperor, #3)
  • The Gods of War (Emperor, #4)
  • The Blood of Gods (Emperor, #5)
“Men respect the silent; they despise the garrulous. - Marius” 23 likes
“Perhaps he needs the money. Some of the men live too richly for their purses, if you understand me. Fame would allow him large debts, but everything has to be paid back in the end.” 5 likes
More quotes…