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The Complete Roman Emperor: Imperial Life at Court and on Campaign Hardcover – 4 Oct 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; First Edition edition (4 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500251673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500251676
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 0.3 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Sommer studied Ancient History, History, Greek and Latin Literature, Political Science and Near Eastern Archaeolgy at the Universities of Freiburg (GE), Basel (CH), Perugia (IT) and Bremen (GE) and obtained a doctorate at the University of Freiburg. He went on for post-doctoral studies at the University of Oxford's Wolfson College. He now teaches Ancient History at the University of Liverpool.

Michael's research interests span the political, cultural, economic and mental history of the ancient world, especially the Roman Empire and its provinces.

Product Description

Review

'Because the (Roman) government was so centered on individuals rather than institutions the only way to understand it is to understand the men who made it to the top. There can be few better guides in one volume than this.'
--Contemporary Review

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a most interesting, informative and entertaining book. It tells the story, not just of Rome, nor just of the Roman Empire, but of the life lived of Roman Emperors - from Augustus and the transition to Empire, Becoming Emperor, Being Emperor, Emperors on Campaign, and a chapter about Rome and Constantinople, the capitals of the Roman Empire itself. The first chapter summarises the Empire and its phases; and the last chapter charts the decline of the Empire in the West.

The book is liberally and beautifully illustrated; photos of artefacts and places, as well as reconstruction drawings of buildings, parts of Rome as it would have been, and cut-outs of buildings, so that the reader really gets an idea of what it must have been like to have lived in those places. Reconstructions of battles are also included, and lists of interest, such as buildings constructed by Emperors in Rome. Overall, the book is wonderfully presented and packaged.

This is a great book; great for someone with little or no pre-knowledge, right up to someone who has a good general knowledge and is interested to read more or new material that they may not have come across before. Highly recommended for anybody interested in reading on Rome, the Empire or the Emperors. This has inspired me to delve further into the lives of specific Roman Emperors, some of whom were clearly barking mad; others pious, or military; and some just generally intriguing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Emilia on 11 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A publication of great quality. Made for a wonderful Christmas present. I look great on the description but the real item surpassed expectations. Also, arrived earlier than expected.
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By DAVE on 13 April 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
WE LOVE IT, A GREAT BOOK...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
85 men, how they lived. 14 Feb. 2011
By Anibal Madeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Usually Thames and Hudson have high production Standards and this book is no exception: Hardcover, high quality pages, profusely illustrated - it's a beautifull book indeed.

Dozens of books about the Roman Empire are published monthly worldwide, so Sommer made a wise decision focusing on THE emperor. Obviously Empire and emperor are closely connected, but there are very few specific books about the life of roman emperors from an historical perspective and through all the periods of roman imperial history.
The book has very useful boxed features, tables and charts detailing things as diverse as the process of adoption so important in Rome, to the location of imperial palaces, among many other data. Most of the photos are very good and complement the text with competence. In the end you will find a very good bibliography and short biographies of all the emperors. Impressive how many emperors had tough lifes on campaign and suffered assassination, death in battle and even captivity! It was a job with low life expectancy - today the insurance costs would be quite high on the premium on this job.

But unfortunately this edition has several important shortcomings:

Mistakes:
Pág 38 "...the princeps, who at the moment of his death in AD 9 became the god divus augustus..."; Augustus died in 14 ad not in 9 AD

In page 84 there is a quote describing Maximinus Thrax attributing it to Suetonius, this quote is from Historia Augusta, when Maximinus was born, Suetonius already died many years ago...also related to Maximinus Thrax on page 187 it refers his ascension to the imperial purple on 238...also incorrect, it was in 235.

Bias:
The author is severely biased against Trajan which is rather unusual. For example; he states that he auto proclaimed himself "optimus princeps" - wrong; it was the senate, in the year 114 ad; just like more than a 100 years before the senate gave the title augustus to Octavian! He refers that Trajan's campaigns against the Dacians weren't more than an attack on a client kingdom! And that the previous campaigns of Domitian against the Dacians were successful! If we consider sucessful, two legions wiped out, Legio V alaudae and XXI Rapax; the governor of Moesia Killed; the commander of Domitian army, Fuscus, Killed, and an immense tribute payed (8000000 sesterces) so that the Dacians won't pillage roman territory, then OK. Obviously they where a dangerous threat, and the roman senate and people considered the arrangement shameful. Trajan solved it and did it with competence...but here in this book domitian campaigned sucessufully and Trajan limited itself to attack an "ally". The Bias don't stop here...those are just examples.

Structure:
The chapter division is well structured, but if we buy a book about Roman imperial life at court and on campaign, that's what we're looking for! But although most emperors of second and third centuries AD spent most of their life's on military campaigns - that chapter is only 16 pages on a 200 page book. The last chapters also forgot the main focus, becoming a regular history of the late Roman Empire.

In conclusion: It's an interesting title that can be improved in a next edition.
How to be a Roman Emperor 17 Jan. 2013
By A. A. Nofi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From the review on StrategyPage.Com:

'In this lavishly illustrated volume with some innovative graphics, Dr. Sommer (Liverpool), gives us something like a handbook of how to be a Roman emperor, in the process also telling us a great deal about the empire, the structure of government and armed forces, and the 80-some men who attained the imperium, which a close look at how these interrelated and evolved over time. After chapters on the fall of the Republic and another on how Augustus put together a "republican" monarchy, chapters cover becoming emperor, ruling and -- at times OR -- enjoying the purple, commanding the armies, Rome and Constantinople, and, of course, the proverbial "decline and fall", at least in the West. A valuable work for anyone interested in Rome.'

For the balance of the review, see StrategyPage.Com
as advertised 23 July 2013
By Andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
came exactly as promised and was exactly what I was looking for... much appreciated for the great product! Would shop again.
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