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Review: Caesar. Life of a Colossus

Adrian Goldsworthy

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Caesar. Life of a Colossus

I recently read an excellently written biography of The Greatest of Romans. The author of this fat book is a representative of the younger generation of modern historians, the British Mr. Adrian Keith Goldsworthy (born in 1969), which is a pleasant surprise, because it gives hope for more good works by this historian in the future.

The whole book is not only an efficiently written and very interesting story about Gaius Julius Caesar and his turbulent fate, which continues to fascinate successive generations of politicians, historians and history lovers. In addition to very detailed information about the Greatest of the Romans, in this publication, you can easily find many interesting and valuable details about everyday life, customs and political and economic life of the Roman Republic from the times of its last century. Such a fairly detailed presentation of many details, seemingly unrelated to Caesar, skilfully woven into the content of the narrative, allows you to perfectly recreate the background of the era in question, thanks to which the reader can understand why things turned out the way they did.

Mr. Goldsworthy impartially, though with a slight sympathy for the main character (which I fully share), reveals in all the details known to us the weaknesses of individual members of the republican party, whose chief sins were disunity and self-confidence. After reading this book, I suspect that the supporters of the republican system, let alone the democratic one, have great difficulty in finding arguments to defend these forms of government. Another strength of this work is the professional and at the same time accessible description of the military campaigns that took place in the described period of the history of the Roman state. I have to admit that it’s rare to read something so well-written and not so old at the same time.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to even the pickiest lovers of history books. For those who are more interested in both the final period of the Roman Republic and Julius himself, I recommend reading the much older, but also good book “Caesar” by the French historian Gerard Walter. This will allow you to better form your own opinion on the topics covered in these studies.

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