Random House 2006
Date finished: 2010-05-22
Octavian, great-nephew of Julius Caesar, stepped into the power vacuum left after Caesar's assassination, forming an alliance with Mark Antony and Lepidus. Everitt surveys the scanty surviving documents and assembles a fragmentary portrait of the man who welded his dictatorship into an empire that lasted for centuries. While Rome continued to have a Senate, senators were not elected and had little power; government was fundamentally a military dictatorship. It's hard to form an assessment of Augustus's character -- too many details are lost, too many motivations unable to be drawn -- but he seems to have been a master of political maneuvers and a middling general. I was astonished to learn that Octavian/Augustus did this beginning when he was 19; he was commanding battles, assembling political allegiances, and forming a plan to take power over the Roman state.
%T Augustus %S The Life of Rome's First Emperor %A Everitt, Anthony %K biography, classics, ancient rome %@ 2010-05-22 %P 361pp %G ISBN 1-4000-6128-8 %D 2006 %I Random House %C New York