The History Book Club discussion


Comments Showing 1-50 of 77 (77 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
This is a thread which will be dedicated to the discussion of the Roman Emperors.

This is not a non spoiler thread.

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod

Julio-Claudian dynasty - Emperors 1 - 5:
Reigned 27 BC - AD 68

1. Augustus (Octavian) 27 BC-AD 14

2. Tiberius 14 - 37

3. Caligula 37 - 41

4. Claudius 41 - 54

5. Nero 54 - 68

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 07:20AM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod

The Year of the Four Emperors - Reigned 68 - 69 AD (the first three of this grouping) and then the final one of the four began his reign also in 69 AD and reigned until 79 AD. The last emperor of this group began the Flavian Dynasty.

6. Galba 68 - 69 AD

7. Otho 69 AD

8. Vitellius 69 AD - also the beginning of the Flavian Dynasty

9. Vespasian 69 - 79 AD

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 07:20AM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod

The Flavian Dynasty - Reigned from 69 AD until 96 AD.

The first Flavian Dynasty Emperor was Vespasian who was listed already as the 9th Roman Emperor in The Year of the Four Emperors. He and his two sons Titus and Domitian make up the Flavian Dynasty.

9. Vespasian 69 - 79 AD

10. Titus 79 - 81 AD

11. Domitian 81 - 96 AD

message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
Article on Roman Emperor (Principate)

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 07:21AM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod

Nerva–Antonine dynasty - Reigned from 96 AD until 192 AD.

12. Nerva 96 - 98 AD

13. Trajan 98 - 117 AD

14. Hadrian 117 - 138 AD

15. Antoninius Pius 138 - 161

16. Here there are two:

Marcus Aurelius 161 - 180 AD
Lucius Verus 161 - 169 AD

17. Commodus 180 - 192 AD

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 07:21AM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod

Nerva - Trajan dynasty or The Ulpian Dynasty- Reigned from 96 AD until 138 AD.

12. Nerva 96 - 98 AD

13. Trajan 98 - 117 AD

14. Hadrian 117 - 138 AD

These emperors were already listed before but this is a different combination.

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 07:21AM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod

The Antonine Dynasty - Reigned from 138 - 192 AD

15. Antoninius Pius 138 - 161

16. Here there are two:

Marcus Aurelius 161 - 180 AD
Lucius Verus 161 - 169 AD

17. Commodus 180 - 192 AD

These emperors were already listed before; but this is a different combination and subset - same Emperors listed 15 - 17.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 10, 2010 07:22AM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod

The Five Good Emperors - Reigned from 96 AD - 180 AD - These included everyone from Nerva through Marcus Aurelius (they did not count Lucius Verus who was a co-Emperor as a sixth good emperor - possibly because he died and Aurelius carried on. Commodus was not considered one of the good emperors and is considered to be the Emperor responsible for the beginning of the decline.

Here are the Five Good Emperors:

12. Nerva 96 - 98 AD

13. Trajan 98 - 117 AD

14. Hadrian 117 - 138 AD

15. Antoninius Pius 138 - 161

16. Here there are two:

Marcus Aurelius 161 - 180 AD
Lucius Verus 161 - 169 AD

These Emperors have been listed before.

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
I must have been tired last night because I had to move two posts from this thread to the main weekly non spoiler thread.

This thread is not non spoiler so you can discuss any Roman Emperor.

The weekly thread #1 only encompasses Augustus (Octavian) through Commodus (the first 17 mentioned in Chapter One) so only the first 17 may be discussed over there.

message 11: by Scott (new)

Scott (scapp) | 3 comments This graphic from wikipedia's List of Roman Emperors seems handy as well:

message 12: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I have read one pretty good book (so I think anyhow) on Augustus by Anthony Everitt titled "The First Emperor: Caesar Augustus and the Triumph of Rome".

The First Emperor Caesar Augustus and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt by Anthony Everitt
Publishers blurb:
Caesar Augustus is one of the most fascinating figures in history. Plucked as teenager from provincial obscurity by his great-uncle Julius Caesar, who adopted him posthumously in his will, Augustus transformed the chaotic Republic into an orderly imperial autocracy. His consolidation of the Roman empire arguably laid the foundations of Europe.Although a sickly young man, with a tendency to fall seriously ill at moments of crisis, Augustus taught himself to be brave and was intelligent, painstaking and patient. He worked extraordinarily hard, and, within a generation, had rebuilt Rome, transforming it into a splendid metropolis and centre for civil government and the arts. In this dynamic and engaging biography, Anthony Everitt uncovers the deeply human character of this extraordinary man. It is also an exhilarating portrait of Roman social customs and politics.

Another book covering Augustus that I own but have not read is "Augustus: Godfather of Europe" by Richard Holland.

Augustus Godfather of Europe by Richard Holland by Richard Holland
Publishers blurb:
'He subjected the whole wide earth to the rule of the Roman people' The Deeds of the Divine Augustus This is the dramatic story of the provincial outsider, born in a backwater and with no expectations of power, who came to found Europe. Through his pax romana Augustus created a united Europe and enabled ideas, and Christianity, to spread throughout its territories. In this new book, Richard Holland explores to the full the extraordinary, complex nature of the young and inexperienced tyro who found himself in charge of the most expansive empire on earth; the able politician, fully aware of the 'spin' necessary to make his policies work effectively; the possessive and demonstrative lover who took his second wife from her husband when she was pregnant with her husband's child; the gambler who played for the highest of stakes; the vain man who could be tyrannical and unforgiving, and yet show kindness to a slave. Those he mixed with have sauntered through the pages of history and taken their rightful place upon the stage - Cleopatra, Anthony, Julius Caeser; while Augustus, though just as, and perhaps more, influential, than any, remains elusive. In this book we will come to know not only Augustus the ruler, but Augustus the man of flesh and blood.

message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
Thank you very much Aussie Rick for those fabulous adds.

message 14: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3223 comments Mod
Here's another good book about Augustus.

Augustus by G.P. Baker by G.P. Baker.

Written in 1937, it does have a sort of old-fashioned feel to it, but Baker has a very dry wit and I like his style. You can get a feel for it by reading the first few pages on He's also written biographies of Sulla, Tiberius and Hannibal.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
Thank you so much for the add does look good.

message 16: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Anthony Everitt has also recently (2009) published a biography on Hadrian:

Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt by Anthony Everitt
Publishers blurb:
Acclaimed author Anthony Everitt, whose Augustus was praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a narrative of sustained drama and skillful analysis,” is the rare writer whose work both informs and enthralls. In Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome–the first major account of the emperor in nearly a century–Everitt presents a compelling, richly researched biography of the man whom he calls arguably “the most successful of Rome’s rulers.”
Born in A.D. 76, Hadrian lived through and ruled during a tempestuous era, a time when the Colosseum was opened to the public and Pompeii was buried under a mountain of lava and ash. Everitt vividly recounts Hadrian’s thrilling life, in which the emperor brings a century of disorder and costly warfare to a peaceful conclusion while demonstrating how a monarchy can be compatible with good governance. Hadrian was brave and astute–despite his sometimes prickly demeanor–as well as an accomplished huntsman, poet, and student of philosophy.
What distinguished Hadrian’s rule, according to Everitt, were two insights that inevitably ensured the empire’s long and prosperous future: He ended Rome’s territorial expansion, which had become strategically and economically untenable, by fortifying her boundaries (the many famed Walls of Hadrian), and he effectively “Hellenized” Rome by anointing Athens the empire’s cultural center, thereby making Greek learning and art vastly more prominent in Roman life.
With unprecedented detail, Everitt illuminates Hadrian’s private life, including his marriage to Sabina–a loveless, frequently unhappy bond that bore no heirs–and his enduring yet doomed relationship with the true love of his life, Antinous, a beautiful young Bithynian man. Everitt also covers Hadrian’s war against the Jews, which planted the seeds of present-day discord in the Middle East.
Despite his tremendous legacy–including a virtual “marble biography” of still-standing structures–Hadrian is considered one of Rome’s more enigmatic emperors. But making splendid use of recently discovered archaeological materials and his own exhaustive research, Everitt sheds new light on one of the most important figures of the ancient world.

"The author of biographies of Augustus and Cicero, British scholar Everitt now combines academic expertise with lively prose in a satisfying account of the emperor who ruled Rome from 117 to 138 C.E., the man Everitt says has a good claim to have been the most successful of Rome's leaders. As a youth, Hadrian became the protégé and adopted ward of future emperor Trajan. (Homosexual emperors, including Hadrian, often adopted a successor, a procedure that worked better than letting pugnacious generals fight it out.) After suppressing the Jewish revolt that had begun under Trajan, Hadrian abandoned several of his predecessor's conquests as indefensible. Traveling the empire, he shored up its defenses, which included building Hadrian's Wall in England and another across Germany. Nearing the end of a prosperous, mostly peaceful reign, he adopted two men who also ruled successfully: Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. Everitt presents the Roman Empire, in what he calls tempestuous and thrilling times, as an almost ungovernable collection of polyglot nations dominated by ambitious, frequently bloodthirsty and unscrupulous men. Readers will wonder how Rome lasted so long, but they will enjoy this skillful portrait of a good leader during its last golden age." - Publishers Weekly

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 22, 2010 07:21PM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
Great review...I did not know that Hadrian was homosexual. I never wondered about his adoptions..I guess I assumed he was married (Sabina). I now understand the reasons for the adoptions better. Actually his adoption choices were good ones.

Interesting paragraph:

What distinguished Hadrian’s rule, according to Everitt, were two insights that inevitably ensured the empire’s long and prosperous future: He ended Rome’s territorial expansion, which had become strategically and economically untenable, by fortifying her boundaries (the many famed Walls of Hadrian), and he effectively “Hellenized” Rome by anointing Athens the empire’s cultural center, thereby making Greek learning and art vastly more prominent in Roman life.

Thank you Aussie Rick.

message 18: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I think the Roman system of adoption usually allowed a smooth transfer of power without the in-fighting that sometimes occured. Caesar adopted Octavian who became Augustus and ruled Rome for many good years (probably not a good example since war did break out not longer after his assumption of power).

Another interesting but slighty different book on Hadrian is; "Following Hadrian: A Second-Century Journey through the Roman Empire" by Elizabeth Speller.

Following Hadrian A Second-Century Journey through the Roman Empire by Elizabeth Speller by Elizabeth Speller (not read)
"This is an odd if appealing amalgam, which the publisher describes as "part travelogue, biography and fictional memoir," recounting the life of second-century Roman emperor Hadrian when the empire was at its peak of power. The memoir is not Hadrian's (though he did in fact write an autobiography that has been lost to us), but that of Julia Balbilla, an aristocratic woman, poet and good friend of Hadrian's wife. Inspired by Marguerite Yourcenar's novel about the emperor, and attempting to flesh out the skimpy historical record and give readers a taste of real life during the Roman Empire, Speller, a classics scholar, entwines excerpts from the fictional diary with historical narrative to relate the life of Hadrian, "a great and brilliant emperor" and "a passionate and incessant traveler." Through the imagined words of Julia, Hadrian becomes a man of flesh and blood: "his hair was more brown than golden and the poetry rather better than the wits gave him credit for. It was the same with his alleged cowardice in the wars and his womanising." This is a pleasing introduction to the ancient world." - Publishers Weekly

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 23, 2010 08:22AM) (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
Some great finds Aussie Rick and some illuminating details about the reasons for the adoptions, etc. I just could not figure out why the adoptions since these folks were married and I assume would have their own progeny. I wondered why these unions were all childless. Odd situations.

message 20: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Domenech | 14 comments Augustus is possibly my favorite Roman Emperor. He mantained stability, he built infrastructure, and he avoided extremes in general. Sadly, succesors such as Caligula and Nero didn't follow his example.

message 21: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Hi Daniel, Augustus is also one of my favourite Emperor's as well. One of the best books that I have read on him recently was:

Augustus The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt by Anthony EverittAnthony Everitt

message 22: by Chakara (new)

Chakara | 14 comments I think it would be good for me to check out some of you alls recs I have been studying Egypt Cleopatra and later and of course I have come across from the Egyptian point of view the disowning of Cleopatra son by Cesar when he died. Adopting his nephew instead of naming his true son as his heir (sp? sorry dont have time to check it lol).

I understand why he would do so, but it still was a SMDH moment.

message 23: by Chakara (last edited Jun 09, 2012 07:19AM) (new)

Chakara | 14 comments oh what I mean to say is to learn about things from the nephews point of view sounds great I will have to check some of these out but im trying to hold back as I still have two huge books on Cleopatra to finish and a book on Tut thats really intresting.

message 24: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 09, 2012 09:01AM) (new)

Rozzer Suetonius. Been reading and re-reading him all my life. A brutal and lascivious portrait of the early Roman emperors. To an extent that makes one wonder about accuracy. It occurred to me recently to ask myself whether, if Suetonius was indeed accurate, his tales of the outlandish doings of the early emperors reflect what contemporaries in the Senatorial and Equites classes were doing. For forty years I thought that Suetonius was just giving vent to the repressed outrage of the propertied classes after the deaths of all the early emperors, outrage they couldn't express during the lives of those emperors. Now I'd like to know if there's a different way of reading Suetonius. Comments? Opinions? Book recommendations?

message 25: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3223 comments Mod
Chakara, the way I understand it, Caesar couldn't have married Cleopatra, even if he'd divorced Calpurnia, because she was foreign (I think there were laws to that effect). And the Roman people would never have accepted Caesarion, even if Caesar had wanted him to succeed him, for the same reasons; additionally, he was illegitimate.

And educate me, please. SMDH???

message 26: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Beware the Ides of March! Below is a clip of the killing of Caesar from the 1953 film Julius Caesar, starring Louis Calhern, James Mason, Sir John Gielgud, and Edmund O'Brien to name just a few.

message 27: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3223 comments Mod
That's a really good movie, Jill. I just wish Patrick Stewart were in a movie playing Caesar. He looks just like one of the busts of Caesar.

message 28: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) I liked it as well, Vicki and thought Louis Calhern did a pretty good job as Caesar and I love James Mason as Brutus. It was a little tough accepting Edmund O'Brien in his role since he was usually a cop or an insurance investigator!!
I didn't know Patrick Stewart looks like Caesar.....see if you can find a picture of the bust and please post it up here....I'd like to see it. Thanks.

message 29: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3223 comments Mod

Patrick Stewart

message 30: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) are right. All he needs are the bangs!!!! He would make a great Caesar and he has the Shakespearean experience. Thanks for the pics!!

message 31: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Caligula: A Biography

Caligula A Biography by Aloys Winterling by Aloys Winterling (no photo)


The infamous emperor Caligula ruled Rome from A.D. 37 to 41 as a tyrant who ultimately became a monster. An exceptionally smart and cruelly witty man, Caligula made his contemporaries worship him as a god. He drank pearls dissolved in vinegar and ate food covered in gold leaf. He forced men and women of high rank to have sex with him, turned part of his palace into a brothel, and committed incest with his sisters. He wanted to make his horse a consul. Torture and executions were the order of the day. Both modern and ancient interpretations have concluded from this alleged evidence that Caligula was insane. But was he?

This biography tells a different story of the well-known emperor. In a deft account written for a general audience, Aloys Winterling opens a new perspective on the man and his times. Basing Caligula on a thorough new assessment of the ancient sources, he sets the emperor's story into the context of the political system and the changing relations between the senate and the emperor during Caligula's time and finds a new rationality explaining his notorious brutality.

message 32: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Vespasian

Vespasian by Barbara Levick by Barbara Levick (no photo)


From a pre-eminent biographer in the field, this well-documented and illustrated biography examines the life and time of the emperor Vespasian and challenges the validity of his perennial good reputation and universally acknowledged achievements.

Examining received opinions on Vespasian, Barbara Levick examines how this plebeian and uncharismatic Emperor restored peace and confidence to Rome and ensured a smooth succession.

Outlining how he gained military experience and political skills, Levick goes on to explore how Vespasian coped with the military, political and economic problems of his reign, and his evaluation of the solutions to these problems, before she finally examines his posthumous reputation.

message 33: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments 69 AD: The Year of Four Emperors

69 AD The Year of Four Emperors by Gwyn Morgan by Gwyn Morgan (no photo)


The Year of Four Emperors, so the ancient sources assure us, was one of the most chaotic, violent and frightening periods in all Roman history: a time of assassinations and civil wars, of armies so out of control that they had no qualms about occupying the city of Rome, and of ambitious men who seized power only to lose it, one after another.

In 69 AD, Gwyn Morgan offers a fresh look at this period, based on two considerations to which insufficient attention has been paid in the past. First, that we need to unravel rather than cherry-pick between the conflicting accounts of Tacitus, Plutarch and Suetonius, our three main sources of information. And second, that the role of the armies, as distinct from that of their commanders, has too often been exaggerated. The result is a remarkably accurate and insightful narrative history, filled with colorful portraits of the leading participants and new insights into the nature of the Roman military Morgan ranges from the suicide of Nero in June 68 to the triumph of Vespasian in December 69. In between, three other emperors hold power. We meet Galba, old, tightfisted and conservative, who was declared emperor in June 68 and assassinated in January 69. Otho, once Nero's boon companion, who was responsible for murdering Galba, seized power in a coup in Rome in January 69 and, to everybody's surprise, committed suicide three months later in a vain attempt to end the civil wars. Vitellius, as indolent as he was extravagant, who was put forward by two ambitious lieutenants, recognized by the senate in Rome once they heard of Otho's death in April, and cut down by Vespasian's partisans in the last days of December. And then there is Vespasian, the candidate who looked least likely to succeed, but (according to Tacitus) was still the first to be improved by becoming emperor.

A strikingly vivid account of ancient Rome, 69 AD is an original and compelling account of one of the best known but perhaps least understood periods in all Roman history.

message 34: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments AD69: Emperors, Armies and Anarchy

AD69 Emperors, Armies and Anarchy by Nic Fields by Nic Fields


With the death of Nero by his own shaky hand, the ill-sorted, ill-starred Iulio-Claudian dynasty came to an ignominious end, and Rome was up for the taking. This was 9 June, AD 68. The following year, commonly known as the ‘Year of the Four Emperors’, was probably one of Rome’s worst.

Nero's death threw up a critical question for the Empire. How could a new man occupy the vacant throne in Rome and establish a new dynasty? This situation had never arisen before, since in all previous successions the new emperor had some relation to his predecessor, but the psychotic and paranoid Nero had done away with any eligible relatives. And how might a new emperor secure his legal position and authority with regards to the Senate and to the army, as well as to those who had a vested interest in the system, the Praetorian Guard? The result was that ambitious and unscrupulous generals of the empire fell into a bloody power struggle to decide who had the right to wear the imperial purple.

Tacitus, in his acid way, remarks that 'one of the secrets of ruling had been revealed: an emperor could be created outside Rome'. This was because imperial authority was ultimately based on control of the military. Thus, to retain power a player in the game of thrones had to gain an unshakable control over the legions, which were dotted along the fringes of the empire. Of course, this in turn meant that the soldiers themselves could impose their own choice. Indeed, it turned out that even if an emperor gained recognition in Rome, this counted for nothing in the face of opposition from the armies out in the frontier provinces. It was to take a tumultuous year of civil war and the death of three imperial candidates before a fourth candidate could come out on top, remain there, and establish for himself a new dynasty. Nic Fields narrates the twists and turns and the military events of this short but bloody period of Roman history.

message 35: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments The Emperor Domitian

The Emperor Domitian by Brian W. Jones by Brian W. Jones (no photo)


Domitian, Emperor of Rome AD 81-96, has traditionally been portrayed as a tyrant, and his later years on the throne as a `reign of terror'. Brian Jones' biography of the emperor, the first ever in English, offers a more balanced interpretation of the life of Domitian, arguing that his foreign policy was realistic, his economic programme rigorously efficient and his supposed persecution of the early Christians non-existent.

Central to an understanding of the emperor's policies, Brian Jones proposes, is his relationship with his court, rather than with the senate. Roamn historians will have to take account of this new biography which in part represents a rehabilitation of Domitian.

message 36: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Domitian: Tragic Tyrant

Domitian Tragic Tyrant by Patricia Southern by Patricia Southern


Domitian was only nineteen when he made his first appearance in the senate. It was also his first meeting with the men who were to bring about his downfall. Following his assassination in 96 AD after a reign that had lasted fifteen turbulent years, the senate declared the memory of this, the last of the Flavian emperors damned forever. Why?

The surviving record relates tales of unbelievable depravity - Domitian's reign being described as the darkest in history, full of terror and uncertainty. Suetonius documents all Domitian's eccentricities, idiosyncrasies and crimes in ascending order of seriousness, culminating in the list of executions of senators - ten in fifteen years. But was his reign as bad as it has been portrayed? Why did contemporary authors have no good word for him even though their careers were advanced by his imperial favour?

Many of the emperor's earlier achievements were enduring and well-advised - his administrative arrangements survived him, unchanged by later emperors - and his frontier wars were by no means ill-considered. Indeed, the number of senators murdered by him was far smaller than those killed by Claudius. Something indefinable had gone wrong between Domitian and the senate, but what? In this new in-depth study, Pat Southern distinguishes fact from fiction. She strips away the hyperbole and sensationalism from the literary record to present a clear picture of the youth and reign of a man who was not as black as he was painted but who caused undoubted suffering which must be accounted for. For the first time Domitian is examined from a psychological point of view, to reveal a living breathing individual - offering a more reasonable explanation of the tragedy of his reign to satisfy both his detractors and his few champions.

message 37: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Nerva and the Roman Succession Crisis of AD 96-99

Roman Succession Crisis of AD 96-99 and the Reign of Nerva (Roman Imperial Biographies) by John D. Grainger by John D Grainger (no photo)


The imperial succession at Rome was notoriously uncertain, and where possible hereditary succession was preferred. John Grainger's detailed study looks at aperiod of intrigue and conspiracy. He explores how, why and by whom Domitian was killed, the rule of Nerva, chosen to succeed him, and finally Nerva's own choice of successor, Trajan, who became a strong and respected emperor against the odds.

Perhaps most significantly Grainger investigates the effects of this dynastic uncertainty both inside and outside the ruling group in Rome, asking why civil war did not occur in this time of political upheaval.

The last time a dynasty had failed, in AD 68, a damaging military conflict had resulted; at the next failure in AD 192, another war broke out; by the third century civil war was institutionalized, and was one of the main reasons for the eventual downfall of the entire imperial structure. Grainger argues that though AD 96-98 stands out as the civil war that did not happen, it was a perilously close-run thing.

message 38: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Marcus Aurelius: A Life

Marcus Aurelius A Life by Frank McLynn by Frank McLynn (no photo)


Marcus Aurelius (121–180 AD) is one of the great figures of antiquity who still speaks to us today, more than two thousand years after his death. His Meditations has been compared by John Stuart Mill to the Sermon on the Mount. A guide to how we should live, it remains one of the most widely read books from the classical world.

But Marcus Aurelius was much more than a philosopher. As emperor he stabilized the empire, issued numerous reform edicts, and defended the borders with success. His life itself represented the fulfillment of Plato’s famous dictum that mankind will prosper only when philosophers are rulers and rulers philosophers.

Frank McLynn’s Marcus Aurelius, based on all available original sources, is the definitive and most vivid biography to date of this monumental historical figure.

message 39: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Tiberius

Tiberius by Robin Seager by Robin Seager (no photo)


Robin Seager has updated his classic biography of Tiberius, which focuses on the Emperor’s complex character as the key to understanding his reign. The most readable account available of the life of Tiberius, the second Roman emperor. Argues that Tiberius’ character provides the key to understanding his reign. Portrays Tiberius as a man whose virtues and beliefs were corrupted by power. Shows how Tiberius’ fears of conspiracy and assassination caused him to lose his grasp of reality. A new afterword discusses important new evidence that has come to light on the reign of Tiberius.

message 40: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments An upcoming biography:
Release date: August 26, 2014

Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor

Augustus From Revolutionary to Emperor by Adrian Goldsworthy by Adrian Goldsworthy (no photo)


Caesar Augustus’ story, one of the most riveting in western history, is filled with drama and contradiction, risky gambles and unexpected success. He began as a teenage warlord, whose only claim to power was as the heir of the murdered Julius Caesar. Mark Antony dubbed him “a boy who owes everything to a name,” but in the years to come the youth outmaneuvered all the older and more experienced politicians and was the last man standing in 30 BC. Over the next half century he reinvented himself as a servant of the state who gave Rome peace and stability, and created a new system of government—the Principate or rule of an emperor.

In this highly anticipated biography Goldsworthy puts his deep knowledge of ancient sources to full use, recounting the events of Augustus’ long life in greater detail than ever before. Goldsworthy pins down the man behind the myths: a consummate manipulator, propagandist, and showman, both generous and ruthless. Under Augustus’ rule the empire prospered, yet his success was never assured and the events of his life unfolded with exciting unpredictability. Goldsworthy captures the passion and savagery, the public image and private struggles of the real man whose epic life continues to influence western history.

message 41: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Trajan, Lion of Rome: The Untold Story of Rome's Greatest Emperor

Trajan, Lion of Rome The Untold Story of Rome's Greatest Emperor by C.R.H. Wildfeuer by C.R.H. Wildfeuer (no photo)


In the year 67 AD Roman rule in Palestine descends into chaos when the Jews rise to dispel their masters. Emperor Vespasian calls upon Trajan's father Traianus, commander of the famed Tenth Legion, to help defeat the rebellion. After a terrible war Trajan resolves to become a soldier like him. As a young general and successful beyond his own expectations he is soon drawn into the conflict between the tyrant Emperor Domitian and Nerva, leader of the Senate. Nerva prevails, becomes emperor and appoints Trajan as his successor. His rule is tumultuous and short, and when Nerva dies Trajan s time has come. Can he prove himself against the temptations of power and the siren song of military glory? Can he defeat rapacious northern raiders from Dacia and hold off the Parthian empire - and at the same time retain his dignity in the face of unrelenting challenges from all sides? In Trajan - Lion of Rome the ancient world comes alive. Based on factual events, C.R.H. Wildfeuer takes the reader with him on a great adventure and to a time when the Roman empire controlled the western world from Scotland to the Persian Gulf. Enjoy this epic tale of political intrigue, social struggles, ambitious women and gruesome battles.

message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
Thank you Jerome

message 43: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Restorer of the World: The Roman Emperor Aurelian

Restorer of the World The Roman Emperor Aurelian by John F. White by John F. White (no photo)


The Roman Empire almost disintegrated in the 3rd Century AD, under the onslaught of barbarians and the defections of rebel governors, the general-emperor Aurelian restored the whole Roman world allowing the empire to survive just long enough for civilization to be salvaged after the Dark Ages. This is the first non-specialist book to be devoted to this extraordinary, yet little known, Roman emperor folowing his carrer from obscurity to savior of the Empire. The author's original research uses the most up-to-date interpretations of ancient literature and inscriptions to examine Aurelian's methods and achievements.

message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37667 comments Mod
Once again, thx

message 45: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments The Twelve Caesars: The Dramatic Lives of the Emperors of Rome

The Twelve Caesars The Dramatic Lives of the Emperors of Rome by Matthew Dennison by Matthew Dennison (no photo)


One of 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 colourful biographies of each emperor, triumphantly evoking the luxury, licence, 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, 500-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.

message 46: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Failure of Empire: Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century A.D.

Failure of Empire Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century A.D. by Noel Lenski by Noel Lenski (no photo)


Failure of Empire is the first comprehensive biography of the Roman emperor Valens and his troubled reign (a.d. 364-78). Valens will always be remembered for his spectacular defeat and death at the hands of the Goths in the Battle of Adrianople. This singular misfortune won him a front-row seat among history's great losers. By the time he was killed, his empire had been coming unglued for several years: the Goths had overrun the Balkans; Persians, Isaurians, and Saracens were threatening the east; the economy was in disarray; and pagans and Christians alike had been exiled, tortured, and executed in his religious persecutions. Valens had not, however, entirely failed in his job as emperor. He was an admirable administrator, a committed defender of the frontiers, and a ruler who showed remarkable sympathy for the needs of his subjects.

In lively style and rich detail, Lenski incorporates a broad range of new material, from archaeology to Gothic and Armenian sources, in a study that illuminates the social, cultural, religious, economic, administrative, and military complexities of Valens's realm. Failure of Empire offers a nuanced reconsideration of Valens the man and shows both how he applied his strengths to meet the expectations of his world and how he ultimately failed in his efforts to match limited capacities to limitless demands.

message 47: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome

Chronicle of the Roman Emperors The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome  by Christopher Scarre by Christopher Scarre (no photo)


This is the first book to focus on the succession of rulers of imperial Rome, using timelines and other visual aids throughout. Now no one need be in any doubt as to who built the Colosseum or when Rome was sacked by the Goths: Chronicle of the Roman Emperors provides the answers quickly and authoritatively.

The biographical portraits of the principal emperors from Augustus to Constantine, together with a concluding section on the later emperors, make the book a comprehensive history of imperial Rome. Colorful contemporary judgments by writers such as Suetonius and Tacitus are balanced by judicious character assessments made in the light of modern research. The famous and the infamous—Caligula and Claudius, Trajan and Caracalla—receive their due, while lesser names emerge clearly from the shadows for the first time.

message 48: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments Septimius Severus: Countdown to Death

Septimius Severus Countdown to Death. by Yasmine Zahran by Yasamin Zahran by Yasamin Zahran (no photo)


A rare biography of the Roman Emperor who presided as the Empire was at its largest extent, ahead of imminent decline.

Adopted son of Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus (AD 145–211) waged war against the Parthians, sacked Ctesiphon, extended the empire in United Kingdom, reinforced Hadrian's Wall, and finally died in York, England, cursing the English weather. His sons went on to found the Severan Dynasty.

message 49: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 3984 comments The Emperors of Rome: The Story of Imperial Rome from Julius Caesar to the Last Emperor

The Emperors of Rome The Story of Imperial Rome from Julius Caesar to the Last Emperor by David Potter by David Potter (no photo)


In 27 BC Octavian was proclaimed emperor by the Roman Senate and given the title 'Augustus'. He ruled over an Empire that embraced the territories of 25 some modern countries and had more than 50 million subjects. Its provinces stretched from Hadrian's Wall in the North to Egypt in the South, and from Portugal in the West to Syria in the East.

Emperors of Rome charts the 500 years that followed the triumph of Augustus, during which Rome reached heights of economic prosperity and cultural achievement, but also plumbed depths of anarchy, cruelty and chaos. It profiles the greatest and most notorious of the emperors - the autocratic Augustus, the feeble Claudius, the vicious Nero, the beneficent Marcus Aurelius, the maniac Commodus. But these colourful accounts of the Emperors are just part of a wider narrative charting the vicissitudes and ultimate decline of the Roman polity. All of the key events of Roman imperial history are described here, from the Golden Age of Augustus to the destruction of Pompeii, from the reorganization of the Empire under Diocletian in 284 to the division of the Empire into Eastern and Western halves in 395, and from Constantine's Edict of Milan of 313 to the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410.

message 50: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3223 comments Mod

Nero by Edward Champlin by Edward Champlin (no photo)


The Roman emperor Nero is remembered by history as the vain and immoral monster who fiddled while Rome burned. Edward Champlin reinterprets Nero's enormities on their own terms, as the self-conscious performances of an imperial actor with a formidable grasp of Roman history and mythology and a canny sense of his audience.

Nero murdered his younger brother and rival to the throne, probably at his mother's prompting. He then murdered his mother, with whom he may have slept. He killed his pregnant wife in a fit of rage, then castrated and married a young freedman because he resembled her. He mounted the public stage to act a hero driven mad or a woman giving birth, and raced a ten-horse chariot in the Olympic games. He probably instigated the burning of Rome, for which he then ordered the spectacular punishment of Christians, many of whom were burned as human torches to light up his gardens at night. Without seeking to rehabilitate the historical monster, Champlin renders Nero more vividly intelligible by illuminating the motives behind his theatrical gestures, and revealing the artist who thought of himself as a heroic figure.

"Nero" is a brilliant reconception of a historical account that extends back to Tacitus, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio. The effortless style and artful construction of the book will engage any reader drawn to its intrinsically fascinating subject.

« previous 1
back to top