XI. The Year of the Four Emperors

Battle of Bedriacum
Legionaries of Otho and Vitellius clash at the Battle of Bedriacum on 14 April, 69 AD. Tens of thousands of Roman soldiers perished during the battle, the tragic but predictable outcome when the highly-trained men of the Roman army were forced to fight each other. Image courtesy of Pinterest and Osprey Publishing

 

Nero was dead. The throne was vacant. The rebellious governor of Spain, Servius Sulpicius Galba, began preparing to take it as soon as he heard the news. By October, 68 AD he had reached Rome with an army at his back. By that time, the nervous and defenseless Senate had already ratified Galba’s appointment to the imperial office.

 

As he ascended the throne, Emperor Galba had every reason to Continue reading XI. The Year of the Four Emperors

X. The Early Caesars: Claudius and Nero

Claudius Caesar
A bust of Claudius. Although he was never expected to rule, Claudius became emperor after Caligula’s murder in 41 AD. “Claudius_MAN_Napoli_Inv6060” by Marie-Lan Nguyen is licensed under CC BY 2.5

 

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (or simply Claudius, as he’s better known) was an abnormality in more ways than one.

 

No one had ever expected Claudius to rule Rome. Though he had Continue reading X. The Early Caesars: Claudius and Nero

IX. The Early Caesars: Tiberius and Caligula

Tiberius Caesar
A bust of the Emperor Tiberius. A grim and unhappy man, he succeeded to the throne in 14 AD.

 

As Augustus approached the end of his lifetime, he had every reason to feel proud of himself.

 

His incredibly accomplished career had brought an end to a hundred years of instability and civil strife. He had unified, strengthened, enriched and expanded the Roman world, masterminding its transformation from Continue reading IX. The Early Caesars: Tiberius and Caligula

VIII. Augustus and the End of the Republic: Part 2

Augustus wearing the laurel crown

 

It had taken nearly 15 years of blood, sweat and sleepless nights but now Octavian, like Caesar before him, had finally clawed his way to the top and made himself master of the Roman world. However, his work was far from finished. The first question Octavian had to Continue reading VIII. Augustus and the End of the Republic: Part 2

VII. Augustus and the End of the Republic: Part 1

Augustus of Prima Porta
Statue-Augustus” by Till Niermann is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Gaius Octavius Thurinus was no one special. At least, that was how it would’ve seemed to anyone who knew him as a boy. As the clever but chronically-ill son of a minor Roman nobleman, no one could have known that little Gaius would grow up to change the course of Roman history. No one could have known that Continue reading VII. Augustus and the End of the Republic: Part 1

Nero’s Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome’s Remarkable 14th Legion

Nero's Killing Machine

 

Product: Nero’s Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome’s Remarkable 14th Legion

Author: Stephen Dando-Collins

Publisher: Wiley, Hoboken, 1 November 2004

Pages: 322

Price: $21.23 (US), £11.33 (UK)

 

I love this book.

 

I happen to be someone who reads books constantly, and has a particular fondness for Continue reading Nero’s Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome’s Remarkable 14th Legion

VI. Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

 

By the end of the second century BC, stability in Roman society and politics was starting to unravel. Though the Roman Republic itself was stronger, larger and wealthier than ever before, the Roman people had never been more divided.

 

Upper-class Romans were becoming increasingly rich and powerful, profiting from successful wars of foreign conquest and prestigious careers in politics, but most citizens Continue reading VI. Julius Caesar

V. The Gracchi

The Gracchi
A 19th-century sculpture of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. The two brothers came to be seen as the voice of the Roman people’s anger at the rampant social injustice of their time.

 

Tiberius Gracchus was no typical Roman noble. Born around 169 BC, he was the son of a plebeian father and an aristocratic mother. On his mother’s side Tiberius was also a grandson of the famous Roman general Scipio Africanus, and his early career involved Continue reading V. The Gracchi

IV. Conquest and Consequence: Rome’s Eastern Expansion

With the end of the Second Punic War, the victorious Roman Republic was now a serious contender for dominance across the Mediterranean. Now that Carthage had been defeated, Rome was free to expand its interests further afield. With the western Mediterranean firmly in Roman hands, the logical course of action was for Rome to now turn its attention to the Greek-speaking east.

 

The eastern Mediterranean was the Hellenistic world born from the conquests of Alexander the Great. While the Roman Republic had still been in its infancy, Alexander had been Continue reading IV. Conquest and Consequence: Rome’s Eastern Expansion

III. The Punic Wars: Baptism of Fire

Hannibal Barca crosses a river with his army during his journey through the Alps. Hannibal's crossing of the Alps is one of the most iconic events of the Punic Wars.
Hannibal Barca crosses a river with his army during his journey through the Alps. Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps has become one of the most iconic events of the Punic Wars.

 

By 264 BC, both Carthage and the Roman Republic had become well-established powers.

 

Rome had secured its dominance over the Italian peninsula, using armies to smash its enemies and inclusive sociopolitical policies to turn defeated foes into friends.

 

Carthage, on the other hand, was a city in what is now North Africa that had begun Continue reading III. The Punic Wars: Baptism of Fire