The Mad Emperor: Heliogabalus and the Decadence of Rome (Hardback)Harry Sidebottom (author)
On 8 June AD218 a fourteen-year-old Syrian boy, egged on by his grandmother, led an army to battle in a Roman civil war. Against all expectations, he was victorious.
Varius Avitus Bassianus, known to the modern world as Heliogabalus, was proclaimed emperor. The next four years were to be the strangest in the history of the empire.
Heliogabalus humiliated the prestigious Senators and threw extravagant dinner parties for lower-class friends. He ousted Jupiter from his summit among the gods and replaced him with Elagabal. He married a Vestal Virgin - twice. Rumours abounded that he was a prostitute. In the first biography of Heliogabalus in over half a century, Harry Sidebottom unveils the high drama of sex, religion, power and culture in Ancient Rome as we've never seen it before.
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm
'Sidebottom is an agile guide and draws the reader's attention to the remarkably inclusive nature of the empire, from its acceptance of different cultures into citizenship (the exact and polar opposite of, say, Qatar), its routine freeing of slaves and its acceptance of new gods into its pagan pantheon... buy the book, it's very entertaining.' - David Aaronovitch, The Times
'The decadence, debauchery and sexual promiscuity that marked the adolescent's time on the imperial throne make for a rollicking read.' - Daily Mail
'We are used to being told that the historical truth is less exciting than the myth. But, as Harry Sidebottom's The Mad Emperor demonstrates, this is one of those rare cases when the history does not fall short. While working hard to correct the preconceptions of both scholars and general readers, Sidebottom presents a picture of third-century imperial Rome that is, if anything, wilder than the popular imagination.' - Telegraph
'The Mad Emperor recreates the Ancient World with the eye of a poet and the sure hand of a scholar.' - Barry Strauss, author of Ten Caesars
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