Book Review: Galba’s Men by L.J. Trafford

L.J. Trafford’s account of life in Caesar’s palace on the Palatine Hill is a sort of Upstairs Downstairs writ large. Upstairs are Caesar and his family, cronies and sycophants; downstairs are a multitude of slaves and freedmen, some of who are influential enough to influence the course of affairs of state. Keeping track of, and [...]

Book Review: SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard.

Mary Beard writes in a breezy, often anecdotal, style which makes her book both informative and entertaining. SPQR covers the history of ancient Rome from its founding by Romulus to the reign of Emperor Caracalla, who, in the year 202 A.D. granted Roman citizenship to the entire free male population of the empire. This is [...]

Book Review: Colossus Stone and Steel. The Four Emperors by David Blixt

From A.D. 54 to A.D. 68, Rome was ruled by a madman. His name was Lucius Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, commonly known as Nero. Rome at this time ruled the civilized world from Syria to Brittania. Nero killed his mother and two of his wives, Octavia and Poppaea. (Although Poppaea’s death was probably unintentional) [...]

Colossus: Stone and Steel by David Blixt

Yis’gadal, v’yit’kadash sh’mei  raba. . . . May his great name grow exalted and sanctified. . . The Jewish mourner’s Kaddish, spoken in every Jewish prayer service. Unlike other prayers which are in Hebrew, the mourner’s  Kaddish is in Aramaic, the language spoken in Judea at the time of the Roman conquest. I always assumed [...]