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By Anthony Blond

With the new good fortune of "Rome" on BBC2, not anyone will examine the personal lives of the Roman Emperors back within the comparable gentle. Anthony Blond's scandalous divulge of the lifetime of the Caesars is a must-read for all attracted to what fairly went on in old Rome. Julius Caesar is generally awarded as an excellent basic whilst actually he was once an conceited charmer and a swank; Augustus used to be so aware of his top that he placed lifts in his sandals. yet they have been not anything in comparison to Caligula, Claudius and Nero. This ebook is attention-grabbing interpreting, eye-opening in its revelations and without problems exciting.

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Extra info for A Brief History of the Private Lives of the Roman Emperors

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For a Roman to be a known homosexual did not affect his social or political progress provided he was circumspect, did not let his desires appear obsessive, did not behave outrageously in public – did not, in other words, ‘frighten the horses’. Though the ancient Greek patented meeden agan – nothing to excess – they were notorious for ignoring that precept. Diogenes masturbated in public. ’ She got off. Alcibiades, the Athenians’ star, died under a shower of their arrows. They were bored by his umpteenth betrayal.

Upon marriage a Roman was expected to put aside his boy and his concubinus but, if he could afford it, it would be normal for him to employ a – traditionally, pretty – cup-bearer. Wives’ comments on this tradition are not recorded. Horace vises a young unmarried man, with a bob or two, to seek relief with a prostitute and not with a girl of the same class, in order to avoid affronting the matronae. ’) He describes the fate of those, forced through lack of means to pursue ‘free’ sex, who are caught in adultery by the master returning unexpectedly to his country house.

Women were more generally feared than idolized. Juvenal’s description in his sixth Satire, the most vitriolic piece of misogyny in the ancient – or, one would have thought, any other – world on the behaviour of a Roman wife, is designed to discourage matrimony. If a man wants a chaste wife, says Juvenal, he must be mad, for a woman will try to run his money, friends and slaves, will try to gossip with important men, will, if literary, act superior, will take, as lovers, actors, musicians, even eunuchs and pretend to be jealous to conceal her own adultery.

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