Friday, June 5, 2015

Augustus: First Emperor of Rome by Adrian Goldsworthy

Augustus: First Emperor of Rome by Adrian Goldsworthy  -598 pages

This is another excellent exploration of the ancient Roman world by Goldsworthy (Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra).  The book brings to light an ambitious figure who ruled Rome for decades and analyzes the varied sources in a balanced manner. Caesar Augustus' power ultimately rested on his control of the army and his ruthless destruction of rivals. However, he is also revealed as a sensible ruler who encouraged the revival of the Senate after the civil wars and the cultural traditions valued by the common people. He applied his tireless energy to ensuring a peaceful transition of power upon his death, sometimes dealing quite harshly with his own family. Unfortunately, he outlived most of his potential heirs. Anthony Everitt's Augustus and Cicero are also recommended books on the topic.

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