"Augustus" by Anthony Everitt

Now I'm not a big biography reader and probably wouldn't have cracked this one if it hadn't been assigned. But damned if I'm not enjoying it. Everitt makes a good biographer for several reasons. Rather than relate facts a la textbook he tells a story complete with family feuds, gossip, fashion, animal sacrifice, incest -- all those things that make ancient Rome so fascinating. Another point in Everitt's favor is the way he fills in cultural and historical background without slowing things down. Neither does he concentrate on Caesar Augustus at the cost of neglecting other interesting personalities that pop up. This is an excellent source on Julius Caesar as well as Augustus. And let us not forget Cleopatra and the contemptible Marc Antony. What draws you in, though, from the beginning with Everitt's introduction is that he's not afraid of using a little creativity and imaginative intuition. With discretion, of course; this is ultimately a credible historical account. It just happens to be an interesting, easy to read historical account. Go figure.

No comments:

Post a Comment