Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Julius Caesar: A Life from Beginning to End by Hourly History – Book Review

This is a book from the Hourly History series focusing on the famous Roman politician who eventually became a dictator of the huge empire. Most people would have heard a bit of Caesar because of the month July and also because of Shakespeare’s famous play.

However, there are so many aspects to Caesar apart from what was showcased by Shakespeare and this book starts with his entry into the Roman senate (yes, Caesar was a politician; Rome was a republic) and how he managed to consolidate power by his successful campaign in Gaul leading to the eventual formation of the famous triumvirate between Pompey of Iberia, Caesar of Gaul and Crassus of West Asia. The book also the talks about the eventual civil war between Pompey Loyalists and Caesar and the latter’s subsequent campaigns in Egypt and North Africa and also about his eventual fall. The book also talks about some of the reforms brought about by Caesar such as the calendar; the effect of which is felt till date.

Julius Caesar is a personality whom nearly everyone has heard of but know very little about mainly owing to the very limited scope of Shakespeare’s play and yes, I was no exception to this and I am really glad that I read this book considering how; reading this, I also got to know about the political system in Roman Empire and how they managed to hold on to such a large empire during ancient times. The campaigns of Caesar and also his unusually merciful attitudes towards his political dissidents were also brought out quite well. The book also had a brief mention of Caesar’s famous aide Mark Anthony (again, made famous by Shakespeare) and as to what exactly was his role prior to giving his highly emotional speech. The book also touched upon other famous people made known to the world such as Cleopatra and Caesar’s role in giving her the powerful role in Egypt (to be honest, I first came to know of both these historical figures through Asterix). Ultimately, the book also delivered on its promise on telling the history of Julius Caesar in an hour.

The only aspect upon which the book could have been a little better is to have mentioned a little more about another person made famous by Shakespeare; being Brutus, who barely had a mention in the book.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book especially considering my knowledge of pre-medieval history being limited; this book conveyed a lot of information in a short span of time. I would award the book a rating of seven on ten.

Rating – 7/10

Have a nice day,


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