Friday, January 25, 2008

YEAR OF ROME: Sketches of 92 That "Wore the Purple" A Great Value

The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476” by Michael Grant is a treasure trove of information about the scores of men that held the “office” of Roman emperor. What’s fascinating about reading the 500-to-2,500-word biographical sketches is the dismal survival rates of these poor schlubs. The vast majority of them suffered unnatural deaths, most murdered by their own troops or family members! The variety of the ways Roman Emperors died is exhaustive including one that very well might have been struck by lightning (Carus in A.D. 283.) The most remarkable period for such happenings was the middle of the 3rd Century when rival emperors, secessionists and usurpers abound. Practically all ended up the victim of his successors.

It’s not all death and intrigue in Grant’s indispensable reference book, but a lot of it is. This book is ending up to be a key resource for my “Year of Rome”. Grant’s book can be found in the bargain shelves at most Barnes and Noble booksellers. If you want an inexpensive and authoritative look at these important man nearly lost to history pick this one up.

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