The Life of A Colossus

Book - 2006
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Caius Julius Caesar remains the most famous Roman - and indeed one of the most famous people - ever to have lived. In this new biography, the first for many years, Adrian Goldsworthy tells the story of the man who has inspired politicians, military leaders and philanderers throughout history.
From the very beginning, Caesar's story makes dazzling reading. In his late teens he narrowly avoided execution for opposing the military dictator Sulla. He was decorated for valour in battle, captured and held to ransom by pirates, and almost bankrupted himself by staging games for the masses.
As a politician, he quickly gained a reputation as a dangerously ambitious maverick. By his early 30s he had risen to the position of Consul, and was already beginning to dominate the Senate. His affairs with noblewomen were both frequent and scandalous - he slept with countless other men's wives, seduced both mothers and their daughters, and had love affairs with everyone from Brutus's mother to the beautiful and enigmatic Cleopatra.
His greatest skill, outside the bedroom, was as a military commander. In a string of spectacular victories he conquered all of Gaul, invaded Germany, and twice landed in Britain - an achievement which in 55BC was greeted with a public euphoria comparable to that generated by the moon landing in 1969. In just thirty years he had risen from a position of virtual obscurity to become one of the richest men in the world, with the power single-handedly to overthrow the Republic. By his death, itself a spectacular event, he was effectively emperor of most of the known world.

Publisher: London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, c2006
ISBN: 9780297846208
Branch Call Number: 921 CAE
Characteristics: viii, 583 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps ;,24 cm


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jpmoran Oct 16, 2011

Very clear biography of Caesar by a prominent younger historian of ancient Rome. Does an excellent job of explaining the convoluted and highly personal politics of the late Roman Republic that revolved strongly around prominent individuals who were in fierce and ultimately violent and deadly competition with each other.

Goldsworthy writes well and, as a professional historian, is careful to identify what is firmly known from what is not and to identify the biases and relative credibility of the sources. He will give his opinions and even educated guesses on motivations for actions but is careful to identify such speculations for what they are. Even after nearly2100 years Caesar's career is amazing and fascinating.

Interesting, well written and certainly detail oriented....but tres dry! This is a great one to go to sleep by. All humor aside, this is well worth the read if you are a Ceasar fan.

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