Cover image for A Scandalous history of the Roman emperors
A Scandalous history of the Roman emperors
Blond, Anthony.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, 2000.

Physical Description:
xxii, 234 pages : 1 genealogical table, 1 map ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DG274 .B56 1994 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DG274 .B56 1994 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Warts and all, Rome's five most illustrious emperors march boldly and baldly through the pages of this eye-opening account of the successors to Julius Caesar. In their wake follow the glories and the gossip, the triumphs and the undebatably atrocious behavior, the extravagance and the scandal. Here are Caesar's nephew Augustus, who suffered from eczema and was terrified of thunder and lightning; the impeccable Tiberius, who ended up sadistic and paranoid on Capri; the totally mad Caligula; treacherous Claudius; and Nero, who fiddled and opposed blood sports. Besides chronicling their marriages, adulteries, conspiracies, murders, nasty habits, and refined tastes, this volume also illuminates the social and political life of Rome in the first century AD, from the sexual mores to imperial law, from Roman sport to the Latin palate, which is explored in a robustly detailed essay by Laura Blond.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

In an "Apology" that starts his book, Blond states, self-effacingly, "There is nothing original in this book." In one sense, his biographies add little to the standard portraits of the Caesars the Roman historian Suetonius limned centuries ago. On the other hand, Blond's accompanying essays on Roman life and times bring together readable, relevant background on the social habits of imperial Romans. Roman legal, military, social, and sexual practices were often unique in the ancient world, and Blond's essays put the emperors' behavior in context. Blond's biographies cover just the first six emperors, from Julius Caesar through Nero. A glossary explains Latin terms in greater detail, noting, for example, that Roman use of the term Africa referred solely to the countries bordering the southern Mediterranean. Further essays describe everyday Roman life. The recent movie The Gladiator has piqued interest in this ancient empire, and this intelligent summary ably addresses novices' curiosity. --Mark Knoblauch