Summary and book reviews of The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss

The Death of Caesar

The Story of History's Most Famous Assassination

by Barry Strauss

The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss X
The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2015, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2016, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The exciting, dramatic story of one of history's most famous events—the death of Julius Caesar—now placed in full context of Rome's civil wars by eminent historian Barry Strauss.

The exciting, dramatic story of one of history's most famous events - the death of Julius Caesar - now placed in full context of Rome's civil wars by eminent historian Barry Strauss.

Thanks to William Shakespeare, the death of Julius Caesar is the most famous assassination in history. But what actually happened on March 15, 44 BC is even more gripping than Shakespeare's play. In this thrilling new book, Barry Strauss tells the real story.

Shakespeare shows Caesar's assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. The real killing, however, was a carefully planned paramilitary operation, a generals' plot, put together by Caesar's disaffected officers and designed with precision. There were even gladiators on hand to protect the assassins from vengeance by Caesar's friends. Brutus and Cassius were indeed key players, as Shakespeare has it, but they had the help of a third man—Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar's entourage, one of Caesar's leading generals, and a lifelong friend. It was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar.

Caesar's assassins saw him as a military dictator who wanted to be king. He threatened a permanent change in the Roman way of life and in the power of senators. The assassins rallied support among the common people, but they underestimated Caesar's soldiers, who flooded Rome. The assassins were vanquished; their beloved Republic became the Roman Empire.

An original, fresh perspective on an event that seems well known, Barry Strauss's book sheds new light on this fascinating, pivotal moment in world history.

1
RIDING WITH CAESAR

IN AUGUST 45 B.C., SEVEN months before the Ides of March, a procession entered the city of Mediolanum, modern Milan, in the hot and steamy northern Italian plain. Two chariots led the march. In the first stood Dictator Gaius Julius Caesar, glowing with his victory over rebel forces in Hispania (Spain).

In the position of honor beside Caesar was Marcus Antonius—better known today as Mark Antony. He was Caesar's candidate to be one of Rome's two consuls next year, the highest-ranking public officials after the dictator. Behind them came Caesar's protégé, Decimus, fresh from a term as governor of Gaul (roughly, France). Beside him was Gaius Octavius, better known as Octavian. At the age of only seventeen, Caesar's grandnephew Octavian was already a man to be reckoned with.

The four men had met in southern Gaul and traveled together over the Alps. They took the Via Domitia, an old road full of doom and destiny—Hannibal's ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Death of Caesar is ideal for readers who have only a passing knowledge of ancient Rome. The author weaves details of Roman life and politics, knowledge about the people involved in the conspiracy, and facts about the assassination itself into a well-researched yet entertaining historical narrative...continued

Full Review (609 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Time
[A] compelling, clarifying account of one of history's most dramatic assassinations. . . . [Strauss] conveys the complexity of late republican Roman politics while keeping up a lively pace.

Library Journal
Starred Review. Both enriching and exciting to read, this work will interest and enlighten both classicists and general readers with a interest in history or political philosophy.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Strauss takes us deep into the psyche of ancient history in an exciting, twisted tale.

Author Blurb Adrian Goldsworthy, author of Augustus: First Emperor of Rome
This is history as it should be written - a deeply human story of all the men and women caught up in these famous events.

Author Blurb Anthony Everitt, author of Cicero
The Death of Caesar brings back all the suspense of an extraordinary story, as if we weren't sure what was going to happen next. An unputdownable book.

Author Blurb Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University and author of The Savior Generals and Carnage and Culture
A riveting blow-by-blow account by a masterful scholar and story-teller of a human drama that changed the course of Western history.

Author Blurb Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon: A Life
Superbly researched, wittily written, but above all driven by a truly exciting narrative that never lets up, this is history-writing at its best ... this will be the standard work for decades to come.

Author Blurb Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire and The Lion's Gate
I always knew the plunging of those fatal daggers was an epochal moment in Western Civ, but I never knew why – until now.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Porcia Catonis

In The Death of Caesar, author Barry Strauss touches on the lives of some of the women surrounding the conspirators, including Brutus's wife Porcia Catonis, the daughter of Brutus's uncle Cato the Younger, and perhaps, the only woman who knew about the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar.

Much of Porcia's life is undocumented. It's believed she was born some time between 73 BCE and 64 BCE, and that Cato divorced her mother for adultery when Porcia was very young. She was married to her first husband, the conservative Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, sometime between 58 BCE and 53 BCE, and it's thought she may have borne Bibulus a son named Lucius, although this is debated.

Porcia is rumored to have been very beautiful. Plutarch claims a famous...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Death of Caesar, try these:

  • The Confessions of Young Nero jacket

    The Confessions of Young Nero

    by Margaret George

    Published 2018

    About this book

    More books by this author

    The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

  • The Romanovs jacket

    The Romanovs

    by Simon Sebag Montefiore

    Published 2017

    About this book

    More books by this author

    The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Piranesi
    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke
    Our First Impressions readers were delighted with this speculative novel by Susanna Clarke, her ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bell in the Lake
    The Bell in the Lake
    by Lars Mytting
    A legend from Lars Mytting's Norwegian hometown tells of two centuries-old church bells that, like ...
  • Book Jacket: Leave the World Behind
    Leave the World Behind
    by Rumaan Alam
    Amanda, Clay and their two teenage children have rented a remote vacation home in Long Island to ...
  • Book Jacket: The Thursday Murder Club
    The Thursday Murder Club
    by Richard Osman
    They say life begins at 40, but after reading The Thursday Murder Club, I'd say there's a strong ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke

    A new novel from the NY Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Ruthie Fear
    by Maxim Loskutoff

    In this haunting parable of the American West, a young woman faces the violent past of her remote Montana valley.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Where the Light Enters
by Sara Donati

An enthralling epic about two trailblazing female doctors in 19th century New York.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win And Now She's Gone

And Now She's Gone
by Rachel Howzell Hall

"And Now She's Gone should be at the top of your must-read list."
—Michele Campbell

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

H F T Best, P F T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.