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Augustus: First Emperor of Rome by Adrian Goldsworthy

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Book Review by Lindsay Powell

The 2,000th anniversary of the death of Augustus has renewed interest in the man regarded as the founder of the Roman Empire and its first emperor. With a canny sense for timing, acclaimed military historian Adrian Goldsworthy has published a new biography of this important, and still controversial, historical figure.
The new biography joins his other well-received profiles of the great personalities of the Late Republic, Caesar: The Life of a Colossus (2006) and Antony and Cleopatra (2010). In his Introduction, Goldsworthy states his goal is to “tell Augustus' story afresh” (p. 11), and his mission is “to write as if this were a biography of a modern statesman, asking the same questions even if our sources make it difficult to answer them, and trying as far as possible to understand the real man” (p. 5). He makes clear that “this is not a history of the times, but a biography and thus, although wider events are considered, our attention is fixed on Augustus himself” (p. 11)...

....continue to the full review of Augustus: First Emperor of Rome by Adrian Goldsworthy

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Very good review, I'm myself about 3/4th in the book and I too have been quite surprised by the little room left to those who helped Octavian become Augustus. Agrippa in particular seems almost absent or at least made less important than he was, but also Maecenas. If you look at the index you see almost as many references to him as to Cicero. It is, I think, maybe due to the large introduction to the politics of Rome up to the death of Caesar, which might have been done in less depth without prejudice to the book. 

 

Had I done the review I would also have mentioned the choice, argumented but not that common, of calling Octavian by the name of Julius Caesar through the book. 

 

Still, good review and good book !

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