Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

Everitt, Anthony
Random House 2006
ISBN 1-4000-6128-8
361pp
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.

Tagged: ancient rome, biography, classics

Permalink: http://books.amk.ca/2010/05/Augustus.html

%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

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