Caesar (Paperback)

Life of a Colossus

By Adrian Goldsworthy

Yale University Press, 9780300126891, 608pp.

Publication Date: January 28, 2008

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (8/11/2014)
Compact Disc (8/12/2014)
MP3 CD (8/12/2014)
Hardcover (9/1/2006)
Compact Disc (8/12/2014)

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The first major biography of Julius Caesar in decades, this volume offers an astonishingly intimate and complex view of the life of this singular leader

Tracing the extraordinary trajectory of the great Roman emperor’s life, Goldsworthy covers not only the great Roman emperor’s accomplishments as charismatic orator, conquering general, and powerful dictator but also lesser-known chapters during which he was high priest of an exotic cult, captive of pirates, seducer not only of Cleopatra but also of the wives of his two main political rivals, and rebel condemned by his own country. Ultimately, Goldsworthy realizes the full complexity of Caesar’s character and shows why his political and military leadership continues to resonate some two thousand years later. In the introduction to his biography of the great Roman emperor, Adrian Goldsworthy writes, “Caesar was at times many things, including a fugitive, prisoner, rising politician, army leader, legal advocate, rebel, dictator . . . as well as husband, father, lover and adulterer.” In this landmark biography, Goldsworthy examines Caesar as military leader, all of these roles and places his subject firmly within the context of Roman society in the first century B.C.

About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy read history at Oxford and is the author of The Roman Army at War, The Punic Wars, and other books about the ancient world. He lives in Wales.

Praise For Caesar: Life of a Colossus

"[An] excellent biography. . . . Goldsworthy tells this story with great skill and narrative force . . . [he] provides a great deal of vivid detail."—Mark Miller, Wall Street Journal

"An authoritative and exciting portrait not only of Caesar but of the complex society in which he lived."—Steven Coates, New York Times Book Review

"A rich and remarkably complete panorama of the times and the man. . . . The best introduction to Caesar and his world that is currently available."—Karl Galinsky, Bookforum

"The man who virtually defined the West's concept of leadership comes alive in this splendid biography. Military historian Goldsworthy gives a comprehensive, vigorous account of Caesar's conquest of Gaul and his victories in the civil war that made him master of Rome. But he doesn't stint on the nonmartial aspects of Caesar's life—his dandyism, his flagrant womanizing (which didn't stop enemies from gay-baiting him), his supple political genius and the flair for drama and showmanship that cowed mutinous legionaries and courted Rome's restive masses. Goldsworthy's is a sympathetic profile. . . . More compellingly than most biographies, Goldsworthy's exhaustive, lucid, elegantly written life makes its subject the embodiment of his age."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This is an engaging and well-drawn resource for those who wish to be introduced to the man who was Caesar. . . . Additions to Goldsworthy's text include a chronology of key events, a glossary, and notes. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries."—Library Journal

"Adrian Goldsworthy's new biography, Caesar: Life of a Colossus, succeeds in capturing all the drama and  complexity of this best-known of lives. Mr. Goldsworthy, a prolific young British classicist, has real narrative gifts, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of late republican Rome. Together, these strengths make Caesar one of  the most fascinating biographies you will come across this year."—Adam Kirsch, New York Sun

"Eternally intriguing history readers, the end of the Roman Republic receives astute analysis and dramatic narration in Goldsworthy's life of Caesar."—Booklist

"Lively and accessible."—Mike Oppenheim, Journal of Military History

"[Goldsworthy] succeeds in returning the man to his time and place and reminds us how it all could have been very different."—Blake D. Dvorak, Washington Times

"Monumental. . . . [Goldsworthy] writes with great style."—Atlantic Monthly

"Excellent and very readable. . . . Designed for the general reader or a lover of history and [it is a] reading experience of the first order."—David Walton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Caesar: Life of a Colossus . . . is a superb and absorbing life of the man who came, saw and conquered—and then was murdered for his trouble."—J. Peder Zane, News and Observer

"Noteworthy. . . . Goldsworthy gives a thorough account of Caesar’s military accomplishments as well as painting a vivid portrait of both the man and the power-hungry world he inhabited."—Christian Science Monitor

"Goldsworthy’s deep knowledge of Caesar’s times makes it possible to fill in all sorts of details on education, military affairs, marriage customs, but most of all on the ferocious politics of Caesar’s time. . . . [A] fine biography which brings, in prose which is never pedantic or dull, depth, color and context to his amazing life and interesting times."—John Lisenmeyer, Greenwich Times

"This is an absorbing tale, more exciting than any modern-day mystery or thriller. It has drama, intrigue, affairs, spectacular battles, brilliant politics, and a charismatic central figure. Moreover, it is a solid work that brings to life the rich world of the Mediterranean in the decade before Christ."—Geeta Sharma-Jensen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Named one of the 100 noteworthy books of the year (2006) by the Kansas City Star

Chosen as an "Outstanding" title in the 2007 Association of American University Presses (AAUP) University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries

Winner of the 2007 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award in the biography and memoirs category

Named a Number 1 Editor's Choice in Biography by amazon in 2006

Named a Best Book of 2006 by

"It gives me great pleasure to give Caesar the strongest possible recommendation. Caesar was a complex character living in confusing times, but Adrian Goldsworthy tackles the subject with a vigor, thoroughness and clarity of purpose that the great man himself would have approved of."—Philip Sidnell, Editor, Ancient and Medieval History Book Club (London)

"Goldsworthy's book will remain the definitive biography of Caesar for years to come."—Philip Matyszak, author of The Sons of Caesar: Imperial Rome's First Dynasty

"Adrian Goldsworthy is one of our most promising young military historians today."—Sir John Keegan, author of The Iraq War

"Adrian Goldsworthy is one of the new generation of young classicists who combine scholarship with storytelling to bring the ancient world to life. In his masterly new Caesar, he shows us the greatest Roman as man, statesman, soldier, and lover."—Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

"Caesar is an accessible, balanced, and highly readable contribution to our understanding of one of Rome's most complex characters. No one writing in English today knows more about Roman military history than Adrian Goldsworthy."—Guy MacLean Rogers, author of Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness