Julius Caesar is part historical figure and part legend. He was a complex individual, a brilliant politician, a successful general, an accomplished psychologist. He grew up in a world where political and military careers were inextricably intertwined, and he excelled at both. In his youth he was considered vain and a little foppish, but showed nerves of steel when he defied the Dictator Sulla - and survived. Bending to someone's will was not in Caesar's make-up. He came late to a position of supreme power, and though his policies embraced pragmatic, sensible measures designed to solve the problems that beset the Republic, it was his dictatorial methods rather than his ideas which caused resentment.
Unfortunately, when his assassins killed him, hoping to liberate the state from what they saw as his tyranny, they had formulated no plans for the government of the Roman world. By murdering Caesar, the assassins provoked a prolonged series of civil wars, and the rise of Augustus, the all-powerful first Emperor, who took up where Caesar left off. In this new appraisal of his life, Patricia Southern sheds light on the man behind the legend.
Patricia Southern is an acknowledged expert the history of ancient Rome. Her interest began very early, fostered by books and the wonderful epic films that they don't make any more. This obsession with the Romans has never waned, so whilst working full time as a librarian she studied for a BA degree in Ancient History with the external department of the University of London, and for an MPhil in Roman Frontier Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where she was Librarian of the Archaeology Department for many years. She has written many books on Roman history and contributed numerous articles on Roman history to the BBC History website and the academic Roman studies journal Britannia.