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The Twelve Caesars: The Dramatic Lives of the Emperors of Rome Paperback – August 19, 2014
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The author of Livia, Empress of Rome (2011) imitates Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars. Designed to interest readers in the original, it characterizes ancient Rome’s top dogs, from Julius Caesar to Domitian, through several means. Handling cautiously the salacious details in which Suetonius reveled, Dennison relates the reputations Suetonius, augmented by Tacitus, imposed on the––well, what were the leaders of the Roman Empire to be called in the first century CE? The title implied the nature of the regime. Dictator-for-life Julius Caesar posed as a restorer of the Republic, as did the princeps (first citizen), Augustus. It fell to the later Caesars in the sequence to forthrightly acknowledge a monarchy by adopting the title of emperor. Not that all of them were interested in government. The lurid images of Caligula and Nero as appetite-driven psychopaths derives from Suetonius, who, as Dennison underscores, favored the military chieftain who emerged victorious from the civil wars of 69 CE, Vespasian. With lapidary pith, Dennison wrestles with the calumnies and biases of ancient sources to produce fascinating portraits. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Dennison offers his own idiosyncratic take on these twelve caesars . . . [his] approach combines thoughtful reflection and analysis with gossipy irreverence in a bewitching cocktail." --"Daily Express" on "The Twelve Caesars"
"Unputdownable . . . these histories from 2,000 years ago are riveting in their insight, black humor, and sheer readability." --"Daily Mail "on "The Twelve Caesars"
"An erudite, nuanced, and engrossing portrait of a turbulent era and of an empress demonized for refusing to be invisible." --"Publishers Weekly "on "Livia, Empress of Rome
"Fascinating." --"Vogue "on "The Last Princess"
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