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British author Everitt begins his biography of Augustus (63 B.C.– A.D. 14) with a novelistic reconstruction of the Roman emperor's last days, offering a new spin on his murder at the hands of his wife, Livia. Everitt presents the death as an assisted suicide intended to speed and secure the transition of imperial power to his stepson Tiberius. Later, Everitt presents a careful historical argument for this theory—and, save for a few other shadowy incidents such as the banishment of the poet Ovid, he keeps guesswork to a minimum, building his narrative carefully on solid evidence. Everitt (Cicero) makes Augustus's rapid rise through Roman society comprehensible to contemporary readers, deftly shifting through the major phases of his life, from childhood through his adoption by his great-uncle Julius Caesar to the power struggle with Mark Antony that ended with Augustus's recognition as both imperator and princeps, or "first citizen." Everitt also neatly presents his subject's complex personality, revealing how Augustus secured a political infrastructure that would last for centuries while reportedly keeping up a highly active sex life, all the while fighting off longstanding rumors of cowardice in battle. This familiar story is fresh again in this lively retelling. (Oct. 17)
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*Starred Review* Everitt, whose biography of the great orator Cicero evoked Rome on the cusp of empire with dazzling energy, again captures the color of the city and an era in a biography of Rome's first bona fide emperor. Born Gaius Octavius in a town south of the city, Octavius wasn't automatically marked for a political career. But his family was related to Julius Caesar by marriage, and the great general took the boy under his wing and made him his protege. After Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE, Octavius was surprised to learn that his mentor had formally adopted him in his will, making the 19-year-old a serious contender for power in Rome. Required to deal with both Caesar's enemies and his old allies, Octavius' power wasn't truly solidified until he went to war with and defeated Mark Antony, his chief political rival. Taking the name Caesar Augustus, the young man wisely and judiciously implemented changes to take Rome from unstable republic to thriving empire. Everitt's writing is so crisp and so lively he brings both Rome and Augustus to life in this magnificent work, a must-read for anyone interested in classical times. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I've just finished reading Augustus by Anthony Everitt, and I have to say I was extremely disappointed. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Joe
Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor is a good way to learn about not only Augustus himself but Rome also. Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. B. Sun
A fun read about an immense figure that is at once well written and accessible. It is not thoroughly academic in its presentation but if you enjoy reading historical biography you... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael Kissel