Despite its small size, the material of the book is very well organized. With its focus on Julius Caesar, it moves swiftly between the various chronological phases of his life starting from his early formative years as the governor of Gaul and the hero of the Gallic Wars (58-51 B.C.) to his decision to cross the Rubicon and plunge the country into civil war, culminating in his rise to absolute power at the expense of Rome’s republican aspirations. Kent offers a balanced and well-written account of Caesar’s life, carefully noting the strengths and weaknesses of his character, as well as his skills and acumen as a political leader and military commander. In its final quarter, the book looks at Caesar’s famed relationship with Cleopatra, the political intrigues surrounding his rule and his unfortunate assassination, concluding with the rise to power of his adopted son, Octavian.
In my opinion, “Julius Caesar: Ruler of the Roman World” is a very well-written book that introduces to the reader one of the most important characters in Western civilization, the impact of whose achievements can be felt even in today’s world. Born almost a hundred years after Hannibal had passed into oblivion, Caesar’s Rome marks a turning point in the history of ancient Europe. Without overwhelming its readers with a deluge of dates and events, Mr. Kent’s book successfully introduces us to the man, Julius Caesar, and his immutable contribution to history, the Roman Empire.
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