It is with great relief that I can say I finished Everitt’s Augustus last night. A very short way into the book I realized it was a challenge for me to read it, but since it is on the book discussion chat and since it doesn’t hurt to learn more about the princeps, I decided I had to finish it ASAP. Democracy and Knowledge, by Josiah Ober and Ancient Rome and Modern America, by Margaret Malamud have been trying to lure me away from my book discussion chat assignments.
Most of the details of Augustus seem reasonable. Only occasionally did I shake my head, but it’s supposed to be a biography and instead, it was impossible for me to see the difference between Rome‘s portrayal of Rome and Everitt’s, except that Rome‘s Augustus is more sympathetic. Since I’ve never particularly cared for Augustus, Everitt’s biographical story didn’t distress me, although it impresses me that Everitt could have spent so much time and effort putting flesh on a man he seems not to have cared for. It was also confusing to read Augustus and watch the Rome DVDs at the same time. To be fair to Everitt, comparison with Colleen McCullough’s series is more appropriate than the Ciaran Hines-as-Caesar Rome series.
Everitt’s Cicero also bothered me. Then it was because Everitt seemed to be creating a biography of Caesar, rather than Cicero.
At any rate, I’m very glad I’ve finished. I learned some new factoids that I need to verify. I am impressed by Everitt’s sticktoitiveness and his ability to almost make people seem almost alive. I am sorry that I have yet to read something that will make me revise my sorry picture of the first emperor.