"Imperium" traces the rise of Cicero, one of Rome's last and greatest Republican statesmen, from a country lawyer with a stutter to the greatest orator in Rome. It follows the dangers and hardships that come with seeking power, including the times you have to compromise, instead of achieving an ideal situation. It also made me think of the power of communication. The skillful use of words can achieve wonders!
It also gives a great insight into a fascinating time period. Historical novels are the best way to learn history because they help you see historical figures as real people, with feelings and ambitions and personalities. Robert Harris (and by extension, Bill Wallis' excellent performance) brings Julius Caesar, Pompey, Crassus, Cicero, Tiro and many more real people to life; and even senators who you'll have never heard of, but were quite important in their day. And that was something else that Imperium made me think about: the transitory nature of power and fame. You might be "the greatest man in Rome" one day, but in a few years nobody will know or care who you are! Fame is so fleeting.
If you want to understand Rome just before it subjected itself to a dictator or just listen to a thrilling story about a outrageous court case, a criminal conspiracy and the rise of a outsider to power, you should listen to Bill Wallis' narration of "Imperium."
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