I just finished Caesar: Life of A Colossus
by the military historian Adrian Goldsworthy
and found it to be a remarkably worthwhile read from which I learned much about Julius Caesar
the commander, yet the flanking movements by Gaulish cavalry and Triplex Acies
of the Legions do not overwhelm Goldsworthy's portrait of Caesar the man and populares politician.
Goldsworthy succeeds in breathing life into a figure about whom so much cultural and historical commentary has been encrusted, often to the point of distortion. Caesar is a dynamic and charismatic figure in this biography but also a calculating and, at times, overconfident and reckless one. Goldsworthy is sympathetic to his subject but remains critical of Caesar's errors and propaganda while trying to keep all events in their proper 1st century BC context.
The biography does not have quite the same social and cultural richness of the late Roman Republic to be found in Tom Holland's Rubicon
( which was a work of history) but there are gems of information for the reader, nonetheless . Other useful companions to Goldswothy's effort would be Anthony Everett's
, especially the former book given the importance of the brilliant but unsteady Marcus Tullius Cicero
as Caesar's sometime rival, ally, critic, adviser, enemy and companion.
An excellent read.ADDENDUM:
"Heather — The Fall of the Roman Empire
", "Ward-Perkins — The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization
" by James McCormick
at Chicago Boyz
Labels: adrian goldsworthy, ancient history, biography, book, historians, historiography, history, julius caesar, military history, roman empire, war, warriors