From acclaimed classical historian, author of Ghost on the Throne a high-stakes drama full of murder, madness, tyranny, perversion, with the sweep of history on the grand scale.At the center, the tumultuous life of Seneca, ancient Rome's preeminent writer and philosopher, beginning with banishment in his fifties and subsequent appointment as tutor to twelve-year-old Nero, future emperor of Rome. Controlling them both, Nero's mother, Julia Agrippina the Younger, Roman empress, great-granddaughter of the Emperor Augustus, sister of the Emperor Caligula, niece and fourth wife of Emperor Claudius. James Romm seamlessly weaves together the life and written words, the moral struggles, political intrigue, and bloody vengeance that enmeshed Seneca the Younger in the twisted imperial family and the perverse, paranoid regime of Emperor Nero, despot and madman. Romm writes that Seneca watched over Nero as teacher, moral guide, and surrogate father, and, at seventeen, when Nero abruptly ascended to become emperor of Rome, Seneca, a man never avid for political power became, with Nero, the ruler of the Roman Empire. We see how Seneca was able to control his young student, how, under Seneca's influence, Nero ruled with intelligence and moderation, banned capital punishment, reduced taxes, gave slaves the right to file complaints against their owners, pardoned prisoners arrested for sedition. But with time, as Nero grew vain and disillusioned, Seneca was unable to hold sway over the emperor, and between Nero's mother, Agrippina--thought to have poisoned her second husband, and her third, who was her uncle (Claudius), and rumored to have entered into an incestuous relationship with her son--and Nero's father, described by Suetonius as a murderer and cheat charged with treason, adultery, and incest, how long could the young Nero have been contained? Dying Every Day is a portrait of Seneca's moral struggle in the midst of madness and excess. In his treatises, Seneca preached a rigorous ethical creed, exalting heroes who defied danger to do what was right or embrace a noble death. As Nero's adviser, Seneca was presented with a more complex set of choices, as the only man capable of summoning the better aspect of Nero's nature, yet, remaining at Nero's side and colluding in the evil regime he created. Dying Every Day is the first book to tell the compelling and nightmarish story of the philosopher-poet who was almost a king, tied to a tyrant--as Seneca, the paragon of reason, watched his student spiral into madness and whose descent saw five family murders, the Fire of Rome, and a savage purge that destroyed the supreme minds of the Senate's golden age.
" Gripping . . . Everitt combines a classical education with practical expertise. . . . He writes fluidly."--The New York Times "In the half-century before the assassination of Julius Caesar . . . Rome endured a series of crises, assassinations, factional bloodletting, civil wars and civil strife, including at one point government by gang war. This period, when republican government slid into dictatorship, is one of history's most fascinating, and one learns a great deal about it in this excellent and very readable biography."--The Plain Dealer "Riveting . . . a clear-eyed biography . . . Cicero's times . . . offer vivid lessons about the viciousness that can pervade elected government."--Chicago Tribune "Lively and dramatic . . . By the book's end, he's managed to put enough flesh on Cicero's old bones that you care when the agents of his implacable enemy, Mark Antony, kill him."--Los Angeles Times
Introduction by Daniel J. Boorstin
Illustrations by Giovanni Battista Piranesi Edward Gibbon's masterpiece, which narrates the history of the Roman Empire from the second century A.D. to its collapse in the west in the fifth century and in the east in the fifteenth century, is widely considered the greatest work of history ever written. This abridgment retains the full scope of the original, but in a breadth comparable to a novel. Casual readers now have access to the full sweep of Gibbon's narrative, while instructors and students have a volume that can be read in a single term. This unique edition emphasizes elements ignored in all other abridgments--in particular the role of religion in the empire and the rise of Islam.
The stories have been selected for the insights that they give us into the ancient world, with its different perspectives on life, honor, and personal relationships. Many of the tales seem outrageous (such as a statue being tried for murder), though to the ancients these were normal enough. As the author comments, "human nature has not changed much over the last three thousand years, but the manner in which it finds expression is sometimes dramatically different."
In these pages we find humorous quips by the emperor Augustus and wry observations by the philosopher Socrates. There are stories of ghastly crimes, incredible journeys, and some bizarre military mishaps, like the Macedonian troops who rushed to storm the walls of a Greek city, only to find that their ladders were six feet short.
Did you know that ...
- a Roman suffering from illness might be cured if rubbed all over with a puppy
- lentils cooked in saffron were a popular Greek aphrodisiac
- in the Roman marriage ceremony, the groom parts the bride's hair with a spear
- Caesar's horse had toes
From Robert Hughes, one of the greatest art and cultural critics of our time, comes a sprawling, comprehensive, and deeply personal history of Rome--as a city, as an empire, and as an origin of Western art and civilization.Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From there, he goes back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries. He explores in rich detail the formation of empire, the rise of early Christianity, the Crusades, the Renaissance, and takes us up to the present, through the rise and fall of Mussolini's fascism. Equal parts idolizing, blasphemous, outraged, and awestruck, Rome is a portrait of the Eternal City as only Robert Hughes could paint it.
Generally acknowledged to be Professor Bury's masterpiece, this panoramic and painstakingly accurate reconstruction of the Western and Byzantine Roman empire covers the period from 395 A.D., the death of Theodosius I, to 565 A.D., the death of Justinian. Quoting contemporary documents in full or in great extent, the author describes and analyzes the forces and cross-currents that controlled Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, the Persian and Teutonic regions; the rise of Byzantine power, territorial expansion, conflict of church and state, legislative and diplomatic changes; and scores of similar topics.
Detailed coverage of such important figures as Belisarius, Justinian, Procopius, Alaric, Attila, and many others is given as well as a complete contemporary account of a visit to Attila's court. The Vandal empire, the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Lombards, etc., are given extensive treatment. Professor Bury investigates the literary, cultural, and religious history of the period in great detail and relates it to the organization and development of the Eastern and Western empires and the diffusion of Byzantine culture into Italy.
"An important and valuable contribution to our knowledge of a period the history of which has been too much neglected." -- Classical Review.
A work of cartoon history with a touch of Edward Gorey's dark wit, Et Tu, Brute? is an irreverent, illustrated compendium of the deaths of all the Roman emperors, from Augustus to Romulus Augustulus. Here in all their glory are Nero (stabbing himself in the throat), Tiberius (smothered in his sleep by his successor), Caligula (killed by his own praetorian guard), Claudius (fed poisonous mushrooms by his wife), Commodus (strangled by his wrestling partner), Antoninus (died of a surfeit of cheese), and many more.