So my fiance, kindly gifted me this book for Christmas! I needed a break after reading ACOTAR before I plunged myself into the world of Throne of Glass.
Accurate meme I think!
Usually, any account of the Emperors of Rome is chronological. You know, Augustus (the great), Tiberius (the miserable), Caligula (the nutter), Claudius (the unexpected), Nero (the ginga ninja – but also a nutter)….and so on. Well, Professor Beard here, tackles this lot of Emperors differently. That is, by Topic. Food, slaves, succession, administration and so much more.
Random pieces of knowledge that you don’t even think are important or interesting actually turns into quite the nugget! For example, Caligula used to nip off with the wives of male guests, have sex with them, return the poor woman to the table and proceed to demean her and her husband. Elagabalus used to have colour themed dinners – the black ones were sure to scare the guests, he also introduced “whoopee cushions” to the world at his dinners – this gender fluid emperor was a genius!! Skin flint, Tiberius, served up yesterday’s leftovers for a ‘feast’ the following day – bahahaha. The fact is, Imperial dining is a particularly revealing lens into the world of the emperor from Sadism to generosity, luxury to terror. The imperial dining room was a site of danger as well as pleasure for the unsuspecting guests.
We learn about the Emperors that’re well known such as Nero and Caesar but also those which little is known such as Elagabalus who was 14 years old (approximately) and ruled between 218 CE – 222 CE.
There are no battles, no war scenes. This is not a step-by-step guide through the history of Roman emperors. There is a lot of fiction and not that many facts. Most of the stories we receive through the ages, are told by those around the emperors. Most of them wouldn’t always be objective, held a grudge or simply wanted to idealize their emperors for various reasons. For example, take some Roman senators: they have produced some memorable and occasionally hilarious tales. But this doesn’t hide the fact that there was a fraught relation between senate and emperors, a political fault line. Bloodshed, assassinations, hit squads from the palace. It is all there.
Take everything with a pinch of salt, a bit of embellishment, but please enjoy it and learn from it all the same. Yes there’s fiction but most historical fiction has a basis in some facts somewhere. We meet the emperors wives and lovers, rivals and slaves, court jesters and soldiers―and the ordinary people who pressed begging letters into his hands. We learn about what power did emperors actually have? Was the Roman palace really so bloodstained? We track down the emperor at home, at the races, on his travels, even on his way to heaven.
Find this on: Amazon
Until next time,