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The Dark History of the Roman Emperors

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Kerrigan, Michael. Dark History of the Roman Emperors


What a ghastly crew of robbers, schemers and perverts! Hitler was an angel by comparison. This is a well-illustrated and attractively packaged account of the major Roman emperors from Julius Caesar to the Fall of Rome. It’s Gibbon revisited with a Horrible Histories slant that is the reverse of funny. ‘Never were the stakes higher, the passions fiercer or the politicking more murderous than they were at the imperial court,’ declares Kerrigan. He spares us nothing as thousands of Christians, Jews and Romans are tortured, garotted, raped and mocked for the amusement of the populas and their fiendish masters, the emperors. The term Blood Sports then had an entirely different connotation. The Romans, so it would appear, owed nothing to the Greeks beyond their mythology. Meet Caligula who wants his victims ‘to feel the whole experience of death’so he keeps them alive and suffering. Or the playboy and mother’s boy Nero, legendary for fiddling while Rome burned, who ordered his teacher, Seneca, to commit suicide. Or Commodus, a criminally insane madman who re-ordered the calendar and combed the empire for the most beautiful women for his 300-strong harem. The book’s sordid narrative is punctuated by the most gorgeous artwork, providing a field-day for vulgarians.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Absolutely, Romanlike (not that I watched The Borgias).  But watching, like reading, as I mention on another thread, is not the same as doing or encouraging.  I suspect we all enjoy a bit of blood and sex in our reading, but would not necessarily approve of acts of depravity.

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