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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About time this book was written
The tale of Romulus Augustus has heretofore been a much-neglected one. I have struggled in vain for years to find anyone with anything of note to say about this dying of the light in the Roman west.

Journalist and "Bread and Circuses" blogger Adrian Murdoch does a very fine job of gathering together the limited extant sources to add context and texture to the...
Published on 23 Feb 2007 by Gareth Power

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lively account of a crucial epoch
The known historical facts about the life of Romulus Augustulus, last emperor of the western Roman empire, can be summarised in a few paragraphs and it's frankly impossible to write a biography of him. This book provides the reader with a clear, entertaining and easily digestible exposition of the events that stretch from the sack of Rome by Alaric in AD 410 to the death...
Published on 20 July 2009 by Guy Mannering


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About time this book was written, 23 Feb 2007
By 
Gareth Power - See all my reviews
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The tale of Romulus Augustus has heretofore been a much-neglected one. I have struggled in vain for years to find anyone with anything of note to say about this dying of the light in the Roman west.

Journalist and "Bread and Circuses" blogger Adrian Murdoch does a very fine job of gathering together the limited extant sources to add context and texture to the murky happenings of 475/6. It's very well written, is highly accessible, and is also quite witty.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Highly Readable Biography, 13 Aug 2008
By 
D. Evans - See all my reviews
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Adrian Murdoch has produced a number of brilliant books on the Later Roman Empire, including the fantastic 'The Last Pagan', a biography of Julian the Apostate.
This book is a look at the life of the last Roman Emperor of the West, the boy ruler called Romulus Augustulus. Writing a biography of this mysterious figure must have been daunting, as very little is known about him. The ancient scholars never recorded his date or place of death, or much else about him. So not only is this a biography, but it is also a detective story, as Murdoch attempts to reconstruct the Emperor's life from the fragments of history.

We also learn about the background events of Romulus's life, including the exploits of his father, Orestes, who was one of Attila the Hun's henchmen. Ironically, Attila's other henchman was a man named Edeco who would become the father of Odovacer, Romulus's overthrower.
Yet the main force of the book are the events surrounding the fall of the Western Empire, especially the last rulers from Petronius Maximus onwards. The years 475/476 are given a lot of attention, which gives you a detailed look at the Empire's dying moments.
The book then finishes with a look at different portrayls of Romulus Augustulus in popular culture, from novels, plays and film.

The book is wonderfully written, and its one of the most readable books I've come across in years. I read it all in one afternoon, and was thoroughly impressed with how Mr. Murdoch had handelled the limited historical and archaeological evidence. The book also contains a few pictures, from photographs of coins, diptychs, cameos; to scenes from Hollywood films and paintings.

As far as I know this is the only accessible biograpghy of Romulus Augustulus in print. If you have an interest in this fascinating figure, and the world of late Antiquity, then this book should be high on your reading list. Highly Recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lively account of a crucial epoch, 20 July 2009
By 
Guy Mannering (Maidenhead, England) - See all my reviews
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The known historical facts about the life of Romulus Augustulus, last emperor of the western Roman empire, can be summarised in a few paragraphs and it's frankly impossible to write a biography of him. This book provides the reader with a clear, entertaining and easily digestible exposition of the events that stretch from the sack of Rome by Alaric in AD 410 to the death of the Gothic king Theoderic a little more than a hundred years later during which time the western empire and its mighty army just evaporated. There's little new here but readers exploring this period for the first time will find it a lot easier-going than ploughing through Gibbon. There's some judicious speculation about Romulus' later years but the boy, who was never anything more than a teenage puppet, and the man he became, remain inevitably ciphers. The epoch was important, not Romulus himself. The only part of this book I didn't much care for was the final chapter in which the author explores the appearance of Romulus and the other main dramatis personae of the period such his father Orestes and Attila the Hun in art, music and literature. Partial as I am to paintings, novels, films and mini-series on classical themes, I found the chapter overlong and not especially enlightening, in fact it seemed to pad out a relatively slender book. For the new student anxious to learn more about this period it would surely have been better to round things off with a summary account of the ruinous Gothic wars that brought to an end the relatively benign Gothic rule that followed the reign of Romulus and which mark the moment when the curtain finally came down on the late antique world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Readable Popular History of the End of Rome, 14 Aug 2009
By 
Arch Stanton (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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First off, this book's title is a bit of a misnomer. It makes it sound like a biography. Romulus Augustulus was the last Roman Emperor. He ruled for under a year and then he was deposed, and that's pretty much all that we know about him. Every scrap of information about him is included in this book and it isn't much. This book is essentially about the end of the Roman Empire, and the events that led to it. In other words, it is about Augustulus' world. It's a fairly brief book, but entertaining. If you're looking for a brief history of Rome's fall and you don't want to go into too much detail then this book is for you. It's well written in an entertaining manner, and it makes it's points very clear. I would not recommend this book for anyone looking for a more in depth look at these events. If you want more inforrmation I strongly recommend Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire. This one is really a pretty basic book designed for beginners. As such, it does what it aims to do perfectly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Account of The Last Boy Emperor of Rome, 20 Feb 2012
By 
Simon Davis (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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Romulus Augustulus is without a doubt one of the most obscure of the long list of Roman Emperors stretching right back to Augustus the first Emperor. Because Romulus was a puppet emperor who "reigned" for only a year very little is recorded about his time as emperor. His reign is significant in that it marked the sad end to the Western Roman Empire once considered the very centre of civilisation. Romulus tends to be a shadowy figure about who very little is known, we in fact do not even know when he eventually died or where he was buried. There are stories of him being "retired" to a villa on the Bay of Naples and even eventually becoming a monk however nothing is really known for certain about the boy's later life. Despite the lack of much information about him as an individual he has always been a figure of interest to me in much the same way as the other far better known boy emperor of Roman Severus Alexander. Both were very young to be made emperor and both were basically at the mercy of adults with their own reasons fro keeping them in power. It was with great surprise that I discovered a "biography" of sorts had been written about Romulus Augustulus given the lack of information about him. In the light of this the author I feel has done a masterful job in writing not so much a personal biography but instead an account of the times around the demise of the Western Roman Empire. "The Last Roman: Romulus Augustulus and the Decline of the West" does however contain what little information has been found about Romulus Augustulus and it makes highly interesting reading about this sad young last Emperor of Rome.
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