The Twelve Caesars by Michael Grant
The personalities of the Twelve Caesars of ancient Rome - Julius Caesar and the first eleven Roman emperors who followed him - have profoundly impressed themselves upon the world. They formed the theme of the great Roman biographer Suetonius, who had much to say about their sexual and other aberrations, which have been the subject of countless legends and bizarre fantasies. In this book Michael Grant attempts to penetrate the fog of superstition and rumour that has gathered around these astonishingly powerful men and investigates how they wielded such vast might, how they coped or failed with their task, and considers the effects their intensely demanding public careers had on their private lives. He questions the truth of the many stories which have suggested that the Caesars were consumed by erotic eccentricities, and he asks to what extent we are justified, after a study of the scorching pages of Tacitus, in applying to the Roman Caesars Lord Actor's saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely.