- Hardcover: 296 pages
- Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (June 17, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0500251282
- ISBN-13: 978-0500251287
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sons of Caesar: Imperial Rome's First Dynasty 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
When Rome became a republic in 509 BC, its citizens so deplored the idea of monarchy they would not even allow a foreign king into the city. Despite such thinking, the Republic's institutions were vulnerable to the power, money and influence of its aristocracy. Matyszak's book is an engrossing and expertly assembled presentation of Rome's first families, the Julio-Claudian line of leaders whose example, Matyszak argues, "continues to convince many that an effective autocracy is superior to a dysfunctional democracy." Two of Matyszak's main reasons for re-examining this oft-explored era are to overturn common myths, including the widely-accepted, "facile" explanation for Rome's downfall-strain caused by expansion and military campaigns-and to prove that empire is not always a dirty word. Matyszak follows the slow transformation of a republican government into an expansive imperial power, beginning with the awkward reconciliation between Julius Caesar's declaration of dictatorship and the existing Roman constitution, and continuing in small but significant steps amid civil wars and familial infighting. His profiles, from Julius to Nero, are fresh looks at characters marred by caricature and misconception, and his analysis of Rome's transformation is both instructive and precient, and will give those who employ the term "empire" in contemporary public dialogue much to consider. 90 illustrations.
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About the Author
Philip Matyszak has a doctorate in Roman history from St. John’s College, Oxford, and is the author of numerous books, including the bestselling The Greek and Roman Myths: A Guide to the Classical Stories, as well as Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s (Unofficial) Manual and Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day.
Top customer reviews
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I plan on reading everything I can get from this author. I just wish his publisher would not charge so much for his Kindle editions :)
He still addresses the rumors and innuendos of such authors as Suetonius, though seems to place these actions in the perspective of their times and questions the likelihood that they even occurred.
Granted, there is little if any way to confirm the entertaining gossip of Suetonius though trying to put a shine on the perceived rotten apple of Caligula after nearly two millenia of bad press is admirable but certainly a minority opinion.
The text appears to be a positive rendering of the Caesars and their contributions to the creation of and the century of stability that was the Roman Empire prior to the death of Nero.
Though for all the positives, the creative accounting utilized by the author does not do much towards altering the balance sheets of history. Despite all the positives, the negatives weigh heavily against these figures as they will against our present day best and worst in the centuries to come.
Overall, the book should be read as a compliment along with Tacitus, Suetonius and Dio et al.
While not the best book written on the subject, it encapsulates the Julio-Claudian dynasty excellently.
It provides a fairly detailed account of what each Caesar accomplished. Written in a conversational manner, it is easy to read and gives a good account of this families reign.
It deserves a place among your Roman history books.