- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books (January 31, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 046500895X
- ISBN-13: 978-0465008957
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Caesar: A Biography
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From the Back Cover
James Boswell called him ‘the greatest man of any age’. As politician and diplomat, writer and lover, but above all as a military genius, Julius Caesar is one of the most perennially fascinating figures in history. Christian Meier’s biography is the definitive, modern account of Caesar’s life and career, and places him within the wider context of the crisis of the Roman republic. Written specifically for a general readership, this authoritative, stimulating book serves, amongst other things, as a reminder to those who believe that men are mere servants of historical forces that the great individual still has an unarguably significant part to play.
“Meier’s is a compulsively readable, scholarly, imaginative, and almost poetic account.”
PETER JONES, 'Sunday Telegraph'
“A subtle and complex inquiry into the nature of politics and power in the late Republic … Meier builds up a convincing portrait of a man with a restless need for achievement but no master plan … His 'Caesar' goes well beyond the confines of biography to present a radical analysis of a political system in decline, and the opportunities it afforded one of the most brilliant and unscrupulous individuals of all time.”
JOAN SMITH, 'Independent on Sunday'
“This book of Meier’s … has become a book of great historical importance and literary glory, portraying the most fascinating ruler of the ancient world in his historical context, and in all his humanity, against the background of a Rome shattered by civil war.”
INGE FRESE, 'Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung'
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But certain things are just fudged over, and left unclear. I only discovered by reading at the same time in Finley Hooper's "Roman Realities" (o.p.; get it out of the library) that Clodius, who was a wild man and sometime ally/enemy of Caesar, as well as Cicero and others, was the same Clodius who forced Caesar to divorce his wife Pompeia when Clodius allegedly tried to seduce her by dressing as a female slave and infiltrating Caesar's house. This is only symptomatic. The whole Catilinarian conspiracy is similarly befogged with intrigue, which of course it was at the time; but it is the duty of the historian to clarify such events.
All in all, I much prefer Michael Grant's book on Caesar, which is now o.p. too. However, it was shorter, more succinct, and not as rich in speculation as Meier's. This book is very thought-provoking at times, but don't rely on it to give you a coherent picture of this time. For Caesar's remarkable personality, though, it's probably the best.