Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Julius Caesar Hardcover – May 13, 2008
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
From Publishers Weekly
Historian Freeman (The Philosopher and the Druids: A Journey Among the Ancient Celts) paints a flattering portrait of Caesar in this admirable biography, exalting his cunning, military skill, political insights and allegiance to the plebeian class. In fast-paced prose and detailed historical sketches, Freeman traces Caesar's life from early youth onward, covering his marriage and service as a priest (or pontifex); his election to pontifex maximus in 63 B.C.; his command of Roman forces in the Gallic Wars; his ascension to leader of the republic; and his famous assassination. Drawing on Caesar's own writings, Freeman portrays him as a brilliant military strategist whose defense of Roman land in the Gallic Wars extended the rule of Rome from Italy to the Atlantic. Caesar returned to Italy in 49 B.C. and became dictator three years later, seeking to improve the republic through civic reforms, including the taking of a proper census, the building of a library, the codification of Roman law and the conversion of Rome to a solar calendar. Although Freeman's biography reveals little new information about Caesar, his cultural and historical knowledge bring the emperor to life and humanize him in a way no writer before him has succeeded in doing. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The character and exploits of Gaius Julius Caesar continue to fascinate both historians and laymen, with good reason. His military conquest of Gaul spread Roman civilization beyond the confines of the Mediterranean Basin. His political reforms laid the basis for the imperium established by Augustus. His personal story is loaded with drama and adventure. Freeman, a classics professor at Luther College, has written a compact but thorough account of the life and achievements of this historical giant. He traces Caesar’s family background, his patrician upbringing, and his early public career as he strove to survive in the tumult of the political chaos and civil wars that plagued the republic in the first century BCE. As Caesar’s political career advanced, he became, Freeman argues, a consummate manipulator who was prepared to take huge risks by reaching out to the plebeian class. This bold and sometimes reckless approach is even more evident in his military campaigns. Ultimately, as Freeman indicates, his willingness to challenge powerful vested interests led directly to his murder. This is a fine biography best suited for general readers. --Jay Freeman
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Historical narrative often falls into one of two categories: either too in-depth for the average reader and perhaps geared more towards scholarly readers, or too shallow and prejudiced. Freeman's book should be on the must-read list for students of Latin and Classics. I especially enjoyed his chapters on Caesar’s Gallic War which, to a non-specialist like myself, improved even on Caesar himself. But my favorite element in the book is more difficult to pin down in a few words. Freeman elegantly portray this great man as the genius he was in so many ways, but a genius who succumbed to a lust for power to which we are all susceptible. He shows Caesar as a great man, indeed, one of the greatest, but a man for all that. His biography successfully evokes in the reader a real pathos for Caesar as we watch such greatness decline into almost a caricature of all the res publica detested. The reader is not angry with Caesar in his last years, only immensely disappointed as we watch the moral and political decay of such greatness. Freeman's ability to strike this marvelous emotion in his readers makes this a truly superior work. Highly recommended!
Where we are, there is Rome. We borrow our philosophy from the Greeks and get on with the business of conquering the world. For us Romans, the world is all that is the case. The importance of oaths in our Classical world cannot be overstated. Oaths underpinned the legal system in Greece and continue to do so in our sacred Rome. One of the concepts that we Romans have learned well is that of the oath. To wit, p. 159 in the text, “Caesar did not show mercy twice.” We know the quality of mercy, but we are not to be made the fool.
What is an oath to us? An oath is a conditional self-curse consisting of three components, 1) a declaration, an assertion of a truth, or promise of future performance or forbearance, e.g. “We will be your ally in the future.” 2) a superior power upon which the oath is made, usually one of our gods, e.g., “so help me…, or by Jove” 3) the nature of the curse that you are calling down upon yourself, hence the self-curse nature of an oath e.g., “…may I be struck down by the wrath of Jupiter should I violate my oath.”
For us Romans, trust is essential. Fides is a great deity of ours, the goddess of trust and good faith. She is one of our oldest and most venerated deities. To breech an oath is to offend against the divine. Even Cicero makes this much clear. Who are we Romans? We Romans are the people who keep our word and value the doing so in others. Woe be it upon those who break an oath in dealing with us.
An oath is a statement validated by superhuman power, Caesar, later the divine Julius, in this case. Phillip Freeman provides numerous examples of how Caesar, in the fashion of the Great Alexander, and as a future Napoleon would imitate in the same manner but without the same success, confirmed defeated leaders in their original positions upon condition of an oath of loyalty to Caesar and thus Rome. Violation of the oath is the greatest offense not just against Caesar and Rome but against the goddess herself requiring the swiftest and greatest retribution possible which is often death to all men the prison of slavery for all women and children, standing structures razed to the ground, assets seized as war booty and utter devastation of the land. The text makes clear that our Roman notion of the sacred oath animates so much of our combat actions and political policies. For those who violate an oath of alliance made to Caesar, it was not the gods they had to fear, it was wrath of Caesar that puts the fear of the gods into the violator. Ask the Eburones Tribe about the wages of rebellion after having earlier surrendered, that is if you can find any left to ask. Ask Ambiorix, king of the Eburones; if you can find him - let us know!
We Are Rome!
To the book in itself. This is the third book by Phillip Freeman that I have read. This one, as with the others, has a very pleasing and easy narrative style which makes the book read like a page turning novel. The book provides an enjoyable reading experience, almost a guilty pleasure, as a welcome distraction from reading German philosophers whose last names start with “H”. My only criticism is the battle descriptions with no accompanying maps.