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A Brief History of the Private Lives of the Roman Emperors Paperback – February 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762433663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762433667
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"* 'This is the sort of book that gives ancient history a good name.' - Sunday Telegraph * '...informative fun...' - TLS * 'Lively and amusing - the Emperors enjoyably monstrous.' - Observer" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Antony Blond, a former publisher, now lives in France and is the author of a number of books including Jew Made in England and The World of Simon Raven. He writes regularly for Spectator and Literary Review.

Customer Reviews

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shainat on August 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at a local library, thinking to use it for research. I was wrong. There is nothing in this book that could not have been found in Suetonius, or, failing that, a quick Google search. Even if my intent was to read this for entertainment, I would have been severely disappointed. Mr. Blond writes like he has spent too long reading old books without knowing how the authors wrote them. Some sentences are overly long, run on sentences, sprinkled with commas and semicolons. Others are short and choppy. The author attempts to joke several times without any great success. The overall result gives the reader a headache.

If the writing is bad, the facts are worse. The title purports to cover all (or at least a good sampling) of the Roman Emperors. Instead, this book covers exactly 6 men, one of whom (Julius Caesar) was not an emperor of anything. The problems continue. Within three pages, he switches from having 5,500 men in a legion to having 6,000. He invents a new dynasty, called the Julio-Flavian; decides, apparently without any research, that the Roman circus is descended from the Greek Olympics; and on two different pages, gives the names of two different emperors that ended the Roman games. Mr. Blond has constant problems with numbers. Gaius Marius could not have possibly appointed Julius Caesar to the position of priest of the cult of Jupiter when Caesar was 19(as Mr. Blond purports) as Marius had been dead for 5 years by that point. In the year 48 BCE, Cleopatra was 21 years and her brother and husband Ptolemy XIII was 13, not 18 and 10 respectively. (I can forgive Mr. Blond for this, however, as George Bernard Shaw makes the same mistake.) What is more baffling, however, is that Mr. Blond states, contrary to all evidence, that Julius Caesar was stabbed 27 times.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By lit prof on March 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is not a well-written, well-researched book by a scholar or expert; it appears to be a collection of random information pulled together from miscellaneous sources by an autodidact. I'm curious how he managed to get it published. If you want juicy stories about the Roman emperors, buy a copy of Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars--it's where most of Blond's information seems to come from, anyway.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Cisler on September 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have a fascination with Rome and its history. This is the worse book I have (almost) read on it. I only made it about half way. It is so mixed match and contradictory. It really appears as if Blond was rushed and just plugged in a bunch of quotes where he thought was necessary. His facts don't seem to match some of the others I've read. If you really want to read a good Roman History author read some of Adrian Godlsworthy's books. He is a great author on the subject.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David on September 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
Read this book last week on a flight to Europe. The wording is extremely difficult to follow and the organization of the chapters is so poor you will get DIZZY.
However, there are a few interesting Tid Bits in the book. Such as how Nero probably Did not start the famous Fires in Rome and other interesting accounts of the insanity of Emperor Caligula. Also it shed a little more light into the undervalued Emperor Cladius. Also good chapter on Roman and jewish relationships
Again, the wording is so poor that it almost felt like I was reading a book in a different language.
I would read this book maybe just pick a few chapters of interest and make sure you have plenty of Tylenol for head aches.
Overall a 2/5
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