This is a highly readable history focusing on the succession of the rulers of imperial Rome. It uses timelines with at-a-glance visual guides to each reign and its main events, to provide biographical portraits of the 56 principal emperors from Augustus to Constantine, together with a concluding section on the later emperors.
Each section is illustrated with busts of each emperor, coin portraits, battle plans and cutaway diagrams of imperial monuments. Supporting datafiles for every emperor list key information such as name at birth, wives and children, full imperial titles and place and manner of death. Genealogical trees and over 90 sidebars and special features on subjects ranging from Nero’s Golden House to Diocletian’s Palace allow the reader to delve even deeper. Colourful contemporary judgments by such writers as Suetonius and Tacitus are balanced by judicious character assessments made in the light of modern research. The famous and the infamous – Caligula and Claudius, Trajan and Caracalla – receive their due, while lesser names emerge clearly from the shadows for the first time.