19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome (Hardcover)
This book is easily the most accessible and readable title on the Roman Emperors. It provides short biographies of the rulers of Rome from Augustus Caesar in 30 BC, right through to the fall of the Western Empire and the reign of Romulus Augustulus in AD 476.
The book is really well illustrated, with plenty of photographs of busts, coins and cameos, giving you an idea of the apperance of each emperor. The book also contains a few colour illustrations showing the architecture of the Imperial Palaces or the Colosseum. There are 328 illustrations, 111 of which are in colour.
What makes this book a worthy purchase is the sheer wealth of facts on each page. For instance, there is an addition of a timeline - This allows you to put the lives of the Emperors into the context of the period. The addition of family trees, information tables on the titles and achievements of each emperor and the addition of colour maps give you an even greater appreciation of the book. This title also has several sections which look at the art and architecture of the Roman Empire, from the Colosseum to Trajan's column, the city of Palmyra and the Palace of Diocletian and much, much more.
What I found very interesting were the biographies on the lesser known emperors, such as Florianus, Tacitus, Probus and Gordian III. These are rarely mentioned in history books, so it was great to read about these murky figures along with the biographies of more famous figures such as Augustus, Nero and Caligula.
My only complaint is that the later Roman emperors are not significantly covered. All the rulers from Constantine I onward are mentioned in just under eight pages. This is a shame as there were genuinely interesting figures from this period, including Julian the Apostate, Honorius, Theodosius the Great and Valens. It's a bit of a missed opportunity considering that some lesser emperors are given much more space, even if they only ruled for a few weeks.
Despite this small flaw, the book deserves a spot on the shelf of anyone with an interest in Ancient Rome or Classical Civilisation.