Livia, Empress of Rome

Livia, Empress of Rome

A Biography

Book - 2011
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Second wife of the emperor Augustus, mother of his successor Tiberius, grandmother of Claudius, and great-grandmother of Caligula, the empress Livia lives close to the center of Roman political power for eight turbulent decades. In this new biography of the infamous empress Livia, Matthew Dennison brings to life a woman long believed to be one of the most feared villainesses of history.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780312658649
Branch Call Number: 937.07 L76d 2011
Characteristics: x, 320 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., geneal. table ; 25 cm


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Nov 25, 2015

This is the first instance of a much vilified woman such as Livia having been given a complete white-wash. While the author rejects any negative references to his heroine by sources that he considers biased, he will use these same sources to condemn others. The time frame is constantly shifting back and forth from a few years to a few centuries as Dennison attempts some sort of clarification. This is a very non-linear method to employ; we come to the death of someone and then two pages later they're still alive. Ridiculous narrative. I would only recommend this to anyone who wants to see Livia in a positive light, no matter the cost.

Jun 06, 2011

I really wanted to like this book, but there are two problems I have with it. FIrst, Livia's life is not really told in chronological order. The author goes all over the place and zips back and forward in time, it makes it cofusing for the reader, and I am actually familiar with the events. The second thing I didn't like is the author never really picked a side. Was Livia simply maligned by later historians, or was she the patient scheming murderer? The author never really commits one way or the other which is frustrating.

Only recommended to serious students of Roman history.

Mar 12, 2011

One of history's strongest characters and some say the greatest of villains - Livia, the First Lady/ Empress of Rome is an engrossing, fascinating read. Definitely not for the faint of heart.


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