Biographer Matthew Dennison provides a colourful introduction to the lives of the 12 caesars – Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. Among them were a military genius, a man who murdered his mother and fiddled while Rome burned, a couple of suicides and six victims of assassination. Five of them were elevated to the status of gods. They ruled from 49BC to AD96, a period that saw Rome transformed bloodily from a republic to a dictatorship.
Dennison is author of two acclaimed biographies, The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria’s Youngest Daughter, and Empress of Rome: The Life of Livia.