Emperors Don't Die in Bed

Emperors Don't Die in Bed

Emperors Don't Die in Bed

Emperors Don't Die in Bed

Synopsis

This fresh and engaging book looks at each of the Roman emperors from Julius Caesar in 44BC to Romulus Augustulus in AD 476, illuminating not only the manner of their deaths but what their final days tell us about their lives. We also hear how the most powerful position in the history of the Western world held a permanent appeal, despite its perils, with eager candidates constantly coming forward to seize the throne.Very few of the Roman emperors died a natural death. The insane Caligula was murdered after leaving the theatre; Caracalla while he was relieving himself. Caesar was stabbed twenty three times and Otho was dragged into the Tiber with a flesh-hook. However great an emperor's power, danger was ever present. Emperors Don't Die in Bed provides a clear history of the imperial succession as well as a compelling depiction of the intrigue and drama of Roman imperial politics.

Excerpt

The history of the Roman Empire officially starts in 27 BC, but the history of Rome begins much earlier, in 753 BC. In that year, according to tradition, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus established a small settlement on the left bank of the Tiber. In seven centuries Rome grew from a city-state in central Italy to the dazzling centre of an immense empire. This growth began shortly after the city was founded. In the Regal Period (753-509 BC) the small community on the Tiber developed into a real city, which would become the political, economic and cultural centre of the region. The long rule of the Etruscan kings unquestionably stimulated the urbanisation of Rome. It was they who drained and paved the low-lying, centrally located plain between the Capitol in the west, the Palatine in the south and the Quirinal in the north, thus creating the Forum Romanum, the political heart of Rome.

In 509 BC the last king, the Etruscan Tarquinius Superbus, was deposed by the Roman aristocrats, an event that marked the start of the Republic, a form of government that would endure for almost five centuries. The leadership was in the hands of the Senate, a governing body on which three to six hundred members of the most prominent families served. They made policy, which was then enforced by magistrates from their own ranks, with two annually elected consuls as the highest public officials. All citizens could cast their votes in two popular assemblies: the comitia tributa and the comitia centuriata. The democratic character of the two assemblies differed significantly. In the first, voting was done by district. The vote of every citizen, rich or poor, counted equally. It was here that the lower magistrates were elected: the aediles (responsible for public works) and the quaestors (supervisors of the state's finances). However this assembly was not entirely independent, since people's voting habits were regularly influenced by patronage ties to the

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.