Dynasty: The Rise & Fall of the House of Caesar by Tom Holland is a compelling history of the men who first ruled the Roman Empire. From Augustus, ‘icy and bloodstained’ but transforming himself into ‘the benign father of his country’, to the mad (Caligula), bad (Claudius) and dangerous to know (Nero), Holland charts the triumphs and tragedies of the Julio-Claudians.
‘Holland gives us a richly panoramic picture of Rome’, writes Allan Massie, historian and novelist, in the latest issue of Literary Review. In Holland’s ‘generous and understanding’ book, the difficult dynastic planning of Augustus’s reign gives way to Tiberius’s disillusionment and suspected descent into debauchery and vice, while his successors are described with ‘great verve and insight’.
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