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Book Summary: The story of how images of Roman autocrats have influenced art, culture, and the representation of power for more than 2,000 years. What does the face of power look like? Who gets commemorated in art and why? And how do we react to statues of politicians we deplore?
Book Summary: A vividly detailed retelling of the lives and times of the Roman emperors traces how their reigns marked Rome's shift from a republic to an influential empire, offering a sequence of biographies that offers insight into the political and social dynamics of each ruler's time. By the author of The Last Princess.
Book Summary: Gaius Julius Caesar (13 July 100 BC - 15 March 44 BC), usually called Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He is also known as a notable author of Latin prose. In 60 BC, Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey formed a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power as Populares were opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar's victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC, extended Rome's territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Julius Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the Channel and the Rhine, when he built a bridge across the Rhine and crossed the Channel to invade Britain. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC. With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Julius Caesar found himself with no other options, but to cross the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms. Civil war resulted and Caesar's victory in the war put him in an unrivalled position of power and influence. After assuming control of government, Julius Caesar began a programme of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar. He gave citizenship to many residents of far regions of the Roman Empire. He initiated land reform and support for veterans. He centralised the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed "dictator in perpetuity", giving him additional authority. His populist and authoritarian reforms angered the elites, who began to conspire against him. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus and Decimus Junius Brutus. A new series of civil wars broke out and the constitutional government of the Republic was never fully restored. Caesar's adopted heir Octavian, later known as Augustus, rose to sole power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power and the era of the Roman Empire began. Much of Julius Caesar's life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns and from other contemporary sources, mainly the letters and speeches of Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust. The later biographies of Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch are also major sources. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history.
Book Summary: Bestselling classical historian Barry Strauss delivers “an exceptionally accessible history of the Roman Empire…much of Ten Caesars reads like a script for Game of Thrones” (The Wall Street Journal)—a summation of three and a half centuries of the Roman Empire as seen through the lives of ten of the most important emperors, from Augustus to Constantine. In this essential and “enlightening” (The New York Times Book Review) work, Barry Strauss tells the story of the Roman Empire from rise to reinvention, from Augustus, who founded the empire, to Constantine, who made it Christian and moved the capital east to Constantinople. During these centuries Rome gained in splendor and territory, then lost both. By the fourth century, the time of Constantine, the Roman Empire had changed so dramatically in geography, ethnicity, religion, and culture that it would have been virtually unrecognizable to Augustus. Rome’s legacy remains today in so many ways, from language, law, and architecture to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Strauss examines this enduring heritage through the lives of the men who shaped it: Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Diocletian, and Constantine. Over the ages, they learned to maintain the family business—the government of an empire—by adapting when necessary and always persevering no matter the cost. Ten Caesars is a “captivating narrative that breathes new life into a host of transformative figures” (Publishers Weekly). This “superb summation of four centuries of Roman history, a masterpiece of compression, confirms Barry Strauss as the foremost academic classicist writing for the general reader today” (The Wall Street Journal).
Book Summary: An essential primary source on Roman history and a fascinating achievement of scholarship covering a critical period in the Empire As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, the scholar Suetonius had access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eyewitness accounts) to produce one of the most colourful biographical works in history. The Twelve Caesars chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Caesar and Augustus, to the decline into depravity and civil war under Nero and the recovery that came with his successors. A masterpiece of observation, anecdote and detailed physical description, The Twelve Caesars presents us with a gallery of vividly drawn—and all too human—individuals. James B. Rives has sensitively updated Robert Graves's now classic translation, reinstating Latin terms and updating vocabulary while retaining the liveliness of the original. This edition contains a new chronology, further reading, glossaries, maps, notes and an introduction discussing Suetonius' life and works. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Book Summary: The twelve monumental silver-gilt standing cups known as the Aldobrandini Tazze constitute perhaps the most enigmatic masterpiece of Renaissance European metalwork. Topped with statuettes of the Twelve Caesars, the tazze are decorated with marvelously detailed scenes illustrating the lives of those ancient Roman rulers. The work’s origin is unknown, and the ensemble was divided in the nineteenth century and widely dispersed, greatly hampering study. This volume, inspired by a groundbreaking symposium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, examines topics ranging from the tazze’s representation of the ancient world to their fate in the hands of nineteenth-century collectors, and presents newly discovered archival material and advanced scientific findings. The distinguished essayists propose answers to critical questions that have long surrounded the set and shed light on the stature of Renaissance goldsmiths’ work as an art form, establishing a new standard for the study of Renaissance silver.