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"A modern, impartial study of the life of Germanicus is not only timely but overdue. For, apart from the enduring mystery of his death, Germanicus did come as close as anyone in the attempt to re-establish Roman rule from the Rhine to the Elbe. Had he succeeded, the history of the Roman Empire - and therefore of subsequent ages - would have been greatly different. It is worth examining how and why the attempt failed, and learning more about the man who made it." -- Philip Matyszak, author of The Sons of Caesar and Legionary: The Roman Soldier's Handbook "Biographies of Germanicus Caesar - arguably one of Rome's finest generals - are few and far between, sadly. When one is published, therefore, it gives cause for celebration - particularly when it's as good as the volume penned by Lindsay Powell. Meticulously researched, absorbing and well written, this is no dusty, academic tome, but a 'must have' text for any reader with an interest in Rome. Powell knows his subject matter inside out, and is to be highly commended on a most welcome addition to the biographies of Rome's most famous sons." -- Ben Kane, The Forgotten Legion Chronicles and Spartacus series. "GERMANICUS brings the reader face to bloody face with serious history and tells the story of a Roman emperor that might have been - principled, courageous and, above all else, sane! Excellent fare, and highly recommended." -- Anthony Riches, Empire series. "I particularly like Powell's narrative style. It is extremely readable, providing an educational narrative on a fascinating period of history. ... Powell has done an exemplary job of shedding light upon the character and accomplishments of this noteworthy Roman. I strongly recommend this book" -- Major Chris Buckham, Ancient Warfare, issue VIII.4 (September 2014).
About the Author
P. Lindsay Powell is the author of Eager for Glory (Pen & Sword, March 2011), a regular contributor to Ancient Warfare magazine and a veteran of The Ermine Street Guard. 'He is now working on a biography of Agrippa which will be published by Pen & Sword in 2014'
LINDSAY POWELL is news editor of Ancient Warfare and has written for Military Heritage and Strategy & Tactics magazines, Pen and Sword Books, Osprey Publishing and UNRV.com. He is a member of the Classical Association and the Historical Writers' Association, and a Friend of The Vindolanda Trust.
He is a historical detective motivated to uncover and tell the stories of the under-reported personalities and events of history in the belief that they deserve to be told if our knowledge and understanding of the past is to be complete. A historian, researcher and writer by training and vocation, Lindsay has a particular passion for the military history of the Roman Empire. He scours ancient documents, inscriptions, coins and museums for stories, and archaeological, engineering, medical and scientific reports to reveal deeper truths.
He began writing EAGER FOR GLORY when researching the Battle of Teutoburg, AD 9, and learned of the critical role Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Elder) played in establishing the Romans' presence in Germania Magna. He was astonished to find there was no book about him. EAGER FOR GLORY: The Untold Story of Drusus the Elder, Conqueror or Germania is the book he had hoped to find. "I think readers will be very surprised," he says, "at how important this relative of Augustus was in the formation of the early Roman Empire. He was a successful military commander, a gifted governor, a daring explorer, and a monumental builder. He was a loving husband and father, and a man admired by friend and foe alike. In this book I hope to have restored him to his rightful place in the eventful story of Ancient Rome".
The life of Drusus the Elder's son is the subject of Lindsay's latest book GERMANICUS. "Germanicus Caesar was Rome's most popular general who expunged the shame of the 'Varian Disaster' at Teutoburg in AD 9," says Lindsay. The book tells the story of how he was suddenly thrust into prominence, put down a mutiny of the Rhine legions, led military campaigns in Illyricum and Germania Magna, and earned a reputation as a formidable court advocate. Lindsay examines the possible causes of his mysterious death in Syria and follows the tragic fate of his wife and children. "GERMANICUS tells a compelling tale which inspired generations of painters and playwrights down the centuries and is told for the first time in this new biography," says Lindsay.
Writing COMBAT: ROMAN SOLDIER versus GERMANIC WARRIOR, 1st CENTURY AD enabled Lindsay to dive deeper into the German Wars he described in EAGER FOR GLORY and GERMANICUS. Working with acclaimed illustrator Peter Dennis, the author/artist team have produced a dramatic and visually exciting account of the battles at Teutoburg (AD 9), Idistaviso (AD 16) and Angrivarian Wall (AD 16), seen from the perspective of soldiers on both sides of the battlefields.
He is currently putting the finishing touches to a new book for Pen and Sword, MARCUS AGIPPA: RIGHT-HAND MAN OF CAESAR AUGUSTUS. It is the first book in English since 1937 to describe the life and achievements of this crucially important figure in Roman history. "The contribution of Marcus Agrippa to Augustus' success cannot be understated. In many ways he is the unsung hero," says Lindsay, "but it was clear from my research that he intended it to be that way". The book will be published in 2014 - the year of the bimillennary of Augustus' death.
Connections between the present and the past also fascinate him. Combining a researcher's skill at finding unexpected connections in everyday events and a historian's knowledge of source material, in ALL THINGS UNDER THE SUN: How Modern Ideas are Really Ancient, Lindsay takes a clear eyed and often witty look at modern times through the longer perspective of ancient history and reveals that, as the old adage goes, 'all things under the Sun, there's nothing new'. "Human societies have faced many of the same problems before," says Lindsay, "and if we're smart, we'll learn from the Past and pick the solutions that worked - and avoid those that didn't."
Lindsay divides his time between Austin, Texas and Wokingham, England.
Review first posted on Amazon.co.uk on 20 October 2013
After writing a book on Drusus the Elder (Germanicus' father), Lindsay Powell has just published a book on the somewhat better known son. Both books have a lot in common, although this one is longer and more detailed, largely because we know more about Germanicus than about his father. Both were portrayed as war heroes and "wonder boys", chiefly because of their victorious expeditions in Germany. Both were dashing and somewhat rash. Both died young. While the father died accidentally, the son seems to have been poisoned, as he himself believed.
There were however quite a few differences between them. Germanicus Iulius Caesar, as he became named (his initial name was Nero Claudius Drusus, was heavily influenced by his father's glory and reputation. As the book shows art times, the son used the same tactics and strategies as the father had in Germany. Times had changed, however. While the father had set off to conquer and pacify "Germania Magna", the son was in fact conducting retaliatory expeditions against the tribes that had a hand in the destruction of Varus' legions. Also, the son seems to have lived to be a bit older than his father and had the time to be sent to the East as a king of "viceroy" to govern and settle a number of disputes.
Germanicus, the grandson of Marcus Antonius the triumvir through his mother (Antonia), is also known for his family life and in particular his association and love match with Aggripina the Elder, the daughter of Agrippa (Augustus' right hand man when he was still only Octavian) and of Iulia, and his large family. His uncle was Tiberius. His brother became the Emperor Claudius who succeeded his son nicknamed "Caligula" during his youth by the legions on the Rhine.Read more ›
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Textbooks on Germanicus - arguably one of Rome's finest generals - are few and far between, sadly. When one is published, therefore, it gives cause for celebration - particularly when it's as good as the volume penned by Lindsay Powell. Meticulously researched, absorbing and well written, this is no dusty, academic tome, but a `must have' text for any reader with an interest in Rome. Powell knows his subject matter inside out, and is to be highly commended on a most welcome addition to the biographies of Rome's most famous sons.
Ben Kane, author of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome and Fields of Blood.
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