Summary: A brilliant and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Robert Graves'I, Claudius,Augustusis a sweeping narrative that brings vividly to life a compelling cast of historical figures through their letters, dispatches, and memoirs. A mere eighteen years of age when his uncle, Julius Caesar, is murdered, Octavius Caesar prematurely inherits rule of the Roman Republic. Surrounded by men who are jockeying for powerCicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Mark Antonyyoung Octavius must work agai
nst the powerful Roman political machinations to claim his destiny as first Roman emperor. Sprung from meticulous research and the pen of a true poet,Augustustells the story of one man's dream to liberate a corrupt Rome from the fancy of the capriciously crooked and the wildly wealthy.
Summary: A brilliant and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Robert Graves'I, Claudius,Augustusis a sweeping narrative that brings vividly to life a compelling cast of historical figures through their letters, dispatches, and memoirs. A mere eighteen years of age when his uncle, Julius Caesar, is murdered, Octavius Caesar prematurely inherits rule of the Roman Republic. Surrounded by men who are jockeying for powerCicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Mark Antonyyoung Octavius must work against the powerful Roman political machinations to claim his destiny as first Roman emperor. Sprung from meticulous research and the pen of a true poet,Augustustells the story of one man's dream to liberate a corrupt Rome from the fancy of the capriciously crooked and the wildly wealthy. ...show less
Edition/Copyright:04 Cover: Paperback Publisher:Random House, Inc. Published: 11/09/2004 International: No
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BOOK I CHAPTER ONE I. The memoirs of Marcus Agrippa: Fragments (13 B.C.) . . . I was with him at Actium, when the sword struck fire from metal, and the blood of soldiers was awash on deck and stained the blue Ionian Sea, and the javelin whistled in the air, and the burning hulls hissed upon the water, and the day was loud with the screams of men whose flesh roasted in the armor they could not fling off; and earlier I was with him at Mutina, where that same Marcus Antonius overran our camp and the sword was thrust into the empty bed where Caesar Augustus had lain, and where we persevered and earned the first power that was to give us the world; and at Philippi, where he traveled so ill he could not stand and yet made himself to be carried among his troops in a litter, and came near death again by the murderer of his father, and where he fought until the murderers of the mortal Julius, who became a god, were destroyed by their own hands. I am Marcus Agrippa, sometimes called Vipsanius, tribune to the people and consul to the Senate, soldier and general to the Empire of Rome, and friend of Gaius Octavius Caesar, now Augustus. I write these memories in the fiftieth year of my life so that posterity may record the time when Octavius discovered Rome bleeding in the jaws of faction, when Octavius Caesar slew the factious beat and removed the almost lifeless body, and when Augustus healed the wounds of Rome and made it whole again, to walk with vigor upon the boundaries of the world. Of this triumph I have, within my abilities, been a part; and of that part these memories will be a record, so that the historians of the ages may understand their wonder at Augustus and Rome. Under the command of Caesar Augustus I performed several functions for the restoration of Rome, for which duty Rome amply rewarded me. I was three times consul, once aedile and tribune, and twice governor of Syria; and twice I received the seal of the Sphinx from Augustus himself during his grave illnesses. Against Lucius Antonius at Perusia I led the victorious Roman legions, and against the Aquitanians at Gaul, and against the German tribes at the Rhine, for which service I refused a Triumph in Rome; and in Spain and Pannonia, too, were rebellious tribes and factions put down. By Augustus I was given title as commander in chief of our navy, and we saved our ships from the pirate Sextus Pompeius by our construction of the harbor west of the Bay of Naples, which ships later defeated and destroyed Pompeius at Mylae and Naulochus on the coast of Sicily; and for that action the Senate awarded me the naval crown. At Actium we defeated the traitor Marcus Antonius, and so restored life to the body of Rome. In celebration of Rome's delivery from the Egyptian treason, I had erected the Temple now called the Pantheon and other public buildings. As chief administrator of the city under Augustus and the Senate, I had repaired the old aqueducts of the city and installed new ones, so that the citizens and populace of Rome might have water and be free of disease; and when peace came to Rome, I assisted in the survey and mapping of the world, begun during the dictatorship of Julius Caesar and made at last possible by his adopted son. Of these things, I shall write more at length as these memories progress. But I must now tell of the time when these events were set into motion, the year after Julius Caesar's triumphant return from Spain, of which campaign Gaius Octavius and Salvidienus Rufus and I were members. For I was with him at Apollonia when the news came of Caesar's death. . . . II. Letter: Gaius Gilnius Maecenas to Titus Livius (13 B.C.) You must forgive me, my dear Livy, for having so long delayed my reply. The usual complaints: retirement seems not to have improved the state of my health at all. The doctors shake their heads wisely, mutter mysteriously, and collect their f
''Augustusis a masterpiece.'' Los Angeles Times ''One is drawn deeply into a world whose complexity, luxury, political cynicism, public gullibility, and violence seem very much like our own.'' The New Yorker ''Williams has immersed himself in ancient history, its figures, its conflicts, its complicated intrigues and its often primitive turmoil. In his vivid panorama, The Golden Age sparkles with an eloquence, at times, approaching the poetic.'' The Plain Dealer ''Out of the events surrounding one of the pivotal moments in Western history . . . John Williams has fashioned an always engaging, psychologically convincing work of fiction.'' The New York Times ''Augustusis a vividly imagined re-creation of classical Rome, but its intuitive grasp of the experience of immense power makes it an unusual, and superior, novel.'' The Boston Globe ''Novel or history, this is an excellent book. . . . a superior work of the imagination.'' Playboy ''It would be easy to over-praise this novel; but there does not seem any adequate reason why this temptation should be resisted, especially as Mr. Williams in his turn resists the obvious one of allowing irony too prominent a part in the proceedings.'' The Economist ''A pleasure to read. . . . A most polished performance.'' Boston Herald Traveler ''Strong and striking. . . . Intelligent and intuitive, this excellent historical novel makes the world of Ancient Rome a place in which we feel instantly at home.'' Publishers Weekly ''A novel of extraordinary range, yet of extraordinary minuteness, that manages never to sacrifice one quality for the other.'' The Financial Times
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