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Publisher's Summary

From the dignified grace of Augustus to the cruel debauchery of Nero, this history chronicles all the vices and virtues of the first 12 rulers of Imperial Rome.

The Twelve Caesars was written based on the information of eyewitnesses and public records. It conveys a very accurate picture of court life in Rome and contains some of the raciest and most salacious material to be found in all of ancient literature.

The writing is clear, simple and easy to understand, and the numerous anecdotes of juicy scandal, bitter court intrigue, and murderous brigandage easily hold their own against the most spirited content of today's tabloids.

(P)2009 Audio Connoisseur

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    42
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    2
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    3

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    27
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    14
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  • Overall
  • Robyn
  • Honolulu, HI, USA
  • 03-13-10

A pleasure to read...

It's always a concern how many stars to give a treasured work of history. This book is of course a history, but also a piece of history and as necessary in the milieu of the great works of western literature as any other work from the period. As such, I give it 5 starts, and on it's own merit it was a very enjoyable read.

Beginning with Julius Caesar and ending with the reign of Domitian, Suetonius tells a tale that includes all the victories, works and scandals of each of the emperors in turn. There is some question as to the reliability of some of his sources, as experts have learned, but I think that this in no way diminishes the text. Like with any history, several sources should be considered and Suetonius should be the first with Tacitus next and whatever you can find to follow, as this is truly a fascinating period in Western history.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • steve
  • kearny, NJ, United States
  • 06-07-11

A very good listen

I really enjoyed this listen. I rarely listen to the same book twice but I will make an exception for this book!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Brilliant Narration, Great Insights

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Insight into the social and political order of the times, and insight into what shaped the psychology of these powerful yet flawed individuals. It's also a consistent reminder of how power corrupts.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Twelve Caesars?

Caligula and Nero are of course the most colorful and horrifying. Julius and Augustus are the only ones out of the 12 who seem to be essentially sane, within the context of their times. There is truly nothing new under the sun, and while technology and communications may evolve, the lessons for democracy are there for those who care to see them.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did

Any additional comments?

I cannot understand those who fault the narrator. Charlton Griffin has narrated an enormous number of classical works, and in my view is consistently brilliant. I have listened to literally hundreds of hours of his narration of various writings. His pacing, enunciation, and pronunciation of Greek, Latin, and other "foreign" languages is flawless. He is able to bring a sense of drama to what can be otherwise dull writing, and for me makes these ancient times and personalities come alive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Brilliant performance

Outstanding reading of a classic; thoroughly engaging. I found myself listening several times over to key parts. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just the gory details, please.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this audiobook to an ancient history or roman history buff.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I cannot say I had a favorite ceaser because I learned new or different facts/gossip about each. The author had a unique viewpoint of the 12 and it was interesting to compare, say, the history of Claudius to the work of Claudius translated by Robert Graves.

What about Charlton Griffin’s performance did you like?

His narration was adequate.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wanted to listen to this in parts rather than try to take it all in at one listen. Some stories were a little juicier than others and I wanted to listen to them more than once.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marius
  • Høvik, Norway
  • 08-05-12

Horrible narrator.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who is not annoyed by the pompous narrator, who is American but tries to apparently tries to speak Queen's English.

What was most disappointing about Suetonius’s story?

Suetonius's work is supposed to be great, but I couldn't tell because the narrator made it painful to listento.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He removed all quality and turned the experience into torture for my ears and brain. It's like having Niles Crane inside your head.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment.

Any additional comments?

STAY AWAY!

5 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Horrible Reader.Great Content

Never much liked the Romans of old. Having listened to 'Lustrum', I was interested to learn more. This is a source. I have listened a few times already. Charlton Griffin is not easy on the ear. So it took a few tries to actually hear the content.
One of the things I like, is that in spite of the years and that this is a translation, and it is gossipy, is that Suetonius is almost like a neighbour telling me a story over the fence.

3 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

this is awful

What disappointed you about The Twelve Caesars?

it is the worst audible item I have ordered and was a total waste of a credit. I have many, many audible books and if I could return this item I would cheerfully do so. It is boring, a cure for insomnia and not a good representative of Audible. The reader has no inflection and is almost a one tone reader.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Maybe nothing I may cancel membership and go back to the library which is free.

What didn’t you like about Charlton Griffin’s performance?

Absolutely everything

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

I want a free credit to order another book

3 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Matthew
  • 12-25-12

The Twelve Caesars

The twelve Caesars is a gripping account of the lives of men who shaped the early Roman empire, and a catalog of the corrupting influence of power on Rome and its leaders. In this book you can learn about the early empire, the laws and traditions if that's what you want. However, far better than the history is the story, we learn about the personal proclivities and pecadilloes of great men and in that we come closer to them than any textbook or tv show. We hear what an eloquent citizen thought about the leadership of Rome and in his voice we can imagine a multitude. This is a must for anyone who wants to feel the basic humanity at the core of the Empire, in all its wretched glory. I enjoyed every salacious minute.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • J. Goss
  • 07-12-15

Try the abridged version

This is a grand entertainment, but if you're trying to decide between the full or an abridged version, do go abridged - there are an awful lot of lists and chunks of complicated legal procedure. The meat of this fascinating story are the awful, awful emperors. Listening to this fruity performance, you can immediately see why Robert Graves zoned in on Claudius - after the increasingly unbelievable outrages of his predecessors, a quietly competent emperor must have been a relief.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Pete Lachaise
  • 12-14-12

Labourious read.

Ok its my fault I should have listened to an except first. the narrator is monotone, great for going to sleep with, but not good enough to hold your attention. Other things I didn't like - this is a translation of the original from early AD and I think this translation is from the 1950/60's. it needs updating in translation as it reads like a poor text book. I recommend you listen to an except first before buying.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful