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Book Review – Augustus: The Life Of Rome’s First Emperor

Beginning with a gripping account of Augustus’s death in AD 14 (the author speculates that Livia may have participated in an assisted suicide so that timeline for the transfer of power to Tiberius would go exactly as planned), Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor, by Anthony Everitt, is a ¬†fascinating account of the life of the first Roman emperor covers both the personal and political life of Augustus, who was shrewd and ruthless, cruel yet loyal to his friends, a master manipulator of public opinion, and a consummate propagandist who maintained the facade of being merely the “first citizen” in a republic, while holding sole power for forty years.

In addition to vividly sketching Augustus’s famous contemporaries–Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, among others–the author also presents a lively picture of life in ancient Rome, from weddings to funerals, from food to sexual mores.

A very enjoyable and informative book. I’m currently reading up on a lot of Roman history in preparation for my next novel, and I’m definitely going to be downloading this author’s biography of Emperor Hadrian next!

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