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It's always a concern how many stars to give a treasured work of history. This book is of course a history, but also a piece of history and as necessary in the milieu of the great works of western literature as any other work from the period. As such, I give it 5 starts, and on it's own merit it was a very enjoyable read.
Beginning with Julius Caesar and ending with the reign of Domitian, Suetonius tells a tale that includes all the victories, works and scandals of each of the emperors in turn. There is some question as to the reliability of some of his sources, as experts have learned, but I think that this in no way diminishes the text. Like with any history, several sources should be considered and Suetonius should be the first with Tacitus next and whatever you can find to follow, as this is truly a fascinating period in Western history.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed this listen. I rarely listen to the same book twice but I will make an exception for this book!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
The twelve Caesars is a gripping account of the lives of men who shaped the early Roman empire, and a catalog of the corrupting influence of power on Rome and its leaders. In this book you can learn about the early empire, the laws and traditions if that's what you want. However, far better than the history is the story, we learn about the personal proclivities and pecadilloes of great men and in that we come closer to them than any textbook or tv show. We hear what an eloquent citizen thought about the leadership of Rome and in his voice we can imagine a multitude. This is a must for anyone who wants to feel the basic humanity at the core of the Empire, in all its wretched glory. I enjoyed every salacious minute.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is a grand entertainment, but if you're trying to decide between the full or an abridged version, do go abridged - there are an awful lot of lists and chunks of complicated legal procedure. The meat of this fascinating story are the awful, awful emperors. Listening to this fruity performance, you can immediately see why Robert Graves zoned in on Claudius - after the increasingly unbelievable outrages of his predecessors, a quietly competent emperor must have been a relief.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful