Ten Caesars

Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (211 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling classical historian Barry Strauss tells the story of three-and-a-half centuries of the Roman Empire through the lives of 10 of the most important emperors, from Augustus to Constantine.

Barry Strauss’ Ten Caesars is the story of the Roman Empire from rise to reinvention, from Augustus, who founded the empire, to Constantine, who made it Christian and moved the capital east to Constantinople.

During these centuries, Rome gained in splendor and territory, then lost both. The empire reached from modern-day Britain to Iraq, and gradually, emperors came not from the old families of the first century but from men born in the provinces, some of whom had never even seen Rome. By the fourth century, the time of Constantine, the Roman Empire had changed so dramatically in geography, ethnicity, religion, and culture that it would have been virtually unrecognizable to Augustus.

In the imperial era, Roman women - mothers, wives, mistresses - had substantial influence over the emperors, and Strauss also profiles the most important among them, from Livia, Augustus’ wife, to Helena, Constantine’s mother. But even women in the imperial family faced limits, and the emperors often forced them to marry or divorce for purely political reasons.

Rome’s legacy remains today in so many ways, from language, law, and architecture to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Strauss examines this enduring heritage through the lives of the men who shaped it: Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Diocletian, and Constantine. Over the ages, they learned to maintain the family business - the government of an empire - by adapting when necessary and always persevering no matter the cost. Ten Caesars is essential history as well as fascinating biography. 

©2019 Barry Strauss (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Ten Caesars

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Roman emperors well explained

Very nicely written and the boom gave me a better insight into the why and how of the leaders (and there family) of the Roman empire since Augustus.

All though the performance is it at times a bit robotic and maybe can be called at best reasonable. However if you are interested in this part of Roman history it is a fact that can be easily lived whit.

4 people found this helpful

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Light on Details

It's a great tour of several centuries of history. It skips the chaotic inter-regnum periods in favor of a much more personal perspective of the men (and women) who ruled both in name and in fact.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating insights into ten pivotal Caesars

I have read a fair amount of Roman history, but this book gave me an overarching view of the effects of these ten pivotal Caesars on the total Roman empire and much of the world beyond and after it.

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Well done

Accurate yea, but more: it turns the sequence of emperors (many more than the 10 of the title) into an engrossing narrative. Excellent judgement in balancing detail and story arc. Nothing is flawless but this is great. Great talent in the writing and great telling in the audio version. I wouldn’t hesitate to assign it to undergrads.

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where's. Claudius?

Very good. Great narration. Endless research learned yet..... an hour spent on Nero and 5 minutes on Claudius. I can see not giving Caligula a chapter but I was interested in learning facts about Claudius and dismissing the many myths as the author did with Nero and the others. Disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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Good for beginners

If you have a good understanding of the history of Rome, skip this book. Few new insights I haven’t read elsewhere. As 1 book covers 10+ emperors, it is understandably difficult to develop the bios much. But for a beginner it is a fine overview.

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Great story, great history. Confusing names?

This is a great, well researched story about the ten Caesars. Narration was great. My problem, not the authors problem, was keeping track of all the confusing names. I do recommend this book, just keep a note pad and pencil in hand.

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Utile but superficial and skewed

Barry Strauss is a competent scholar and he provides a usable overview of Rome’s most consequential Emperors but he lacks depth and deep insight. This is most evident in his examination of Constantine and his conversion.
While Strauss correctly notes that Constantine became more publicly Christian after 324 CE, he claims that his conversion came earlier. My sense is that Constantine ‘s conversion was of a later date, that is around 323-4 before that he was a worshiper of Sol whose cult he conflated with Christianity. Strauss doesn’t deal with the vision at the Milvian Bridge, which is is a Eusebian myth but he does come close to writing a less than critical panegyric for Constantine, whose conversion was at best an attempt to syncretize for political and personal issues and at worse purely political.

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Great listen

I thought the narration was great. Very easy to listen to while I was out for a jog, driving, or cleaning.

The content was also very informative and engaging.

I definitely recommend for someone with a baseline knowledge of Roman history, or anyone interested in learning more about the most interesting emperors and how the role evolved over the centuries.

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All you needed to know about Roman Emperors

A fascinating look at the critical Ceasars of the time (didn't know there were so many, some lasting a few months). Great information for a lively conversation with a glass of Chianti and a hearty plate of ziti.

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  • Dene.F.
  • 09-20-19

A shame!

Good content. Fine narration. Terrible audio quality. Don't know where they recorded this but it wasn't Audible's studios?

3 people found this helpful