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Download Gates of Rome (Emperor) epub

by Conn Iggulden

Download Gates of Rome (Emperor) epub
ISBN: 1417712856
ISBN13: 978-1417712854
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Conn Iggulden
Language: English
Publisher: San Val (February 2004)
ePUB size: 1656 kb
FB2 size: 1930 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 525
Other Formats: lrf lit mobi azw

My problem with the book is that it rewrites history. Doing so is fine if that is clearly an author's stated intent - as in a novel with the premise that Ceasar did not die in 44BC or if Germany had won WWII. And certainly making up events/situations that cannot be verified either way is fine. Who can say that a described event could not have happened. BUT, changing actual historic events both as to their timing and their method and changing the age of known historical characters is not, to me appropriate. A certain famous person of the time is made a boyhood friend/same age as Ceasar even though C was actually 15 years older. WHO that person actually is in the book is not revealed until the last page which would have made me toss the book across the room in disgust but since it was a Kindle, not a book, I refrained. I was very disappointed with the shabby treatment of known historical facts.

OTOH, I will admit that it is well written and that if adherence to historical reality is of no consequence, it is an interesting read and seems well researched from a life-in-ancient-Rome point of view.
Conn Iggulden is a top notch novelist and The Gates of Rome is fast paced and absorbing. It is the story of young Julius Caesar, his arduous training for the rigors of the Roman soldiery and his early involvement in Roman politics at the side of his uncle Marius.
Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer the history in my historical novels to have some resemblance to events as they actually happened, and for some reason, Iggulden chooses to depart substantially from the known occurrences of the time. Iggulden has read Plutarch and Suetonius and he knows that Caesar’s mother, Aurelia was not a pathetic invalid but was a strong and formidable presence in Julius Caesar’s life. He knows that Marius was not Aurelia’s brother but was married to Julia, his father’s sister, and that the marriage produced a son. He knows that Marius was not captured and killed in a battle for Rome against Sulla, but died in his bed during his last consulship. He knows all of this and yet chooses to present an entirely altered version of the history.
Iggulden tosses in tidbits of Roman history from time to time, but without any regard as to whether the statements are true. For example, this gem: “Even Hannibal had preferred to meet Roman legions in the field rather than assault the city itself. It had taken a man like Scipio to take his head and that of his brother.” Scipio took neither the head of Hannibal nor the head of his brother. Hannibal’s brother died in the battle of Metaurus at the hands of the forces of Nero and Livius. Scipio was in Spain at the time. Even he couldn’t be everywhere at once. As for Hannibal, he took poison to avoid capture by the Romans in 183 BC, the same year Scipio Africanus died at Liternum.
Iggulden even repeats the old canard that the Romans salted the earth around Carthage to prevent the city from ever rising again. There is no evidence in ancient literature that they did this. In fact, the pragmatic Romans would not have wasted salt, which was a precious resource, and would not have wanted to despoil land which could be farmed to feed the growing population of the empire. Twenty-five years after the destruction of Carthage, Gaius Gracchus, as tribune, attempted to found a Roman colony at Carthage. It failed for various reasons, but it wouldn’t have been attempted if the ground had been salted. (The Romans finally rebuilt Carthage under Augustus.)
As I said, maybe it’s just me, but I prefer my historical novels to stick to the historical facts as far as they can be gleaned from the literature.
A lot of people can't seem to understand that historical fiction is - fiction! As such, while ideally the more accurate the history the better, still it is the fiction that is also important. So while I liked his book on Kublai Khan, who I knew next to nothing about, when one is more familiar with Rome, it tends to jar more. I could live with his placing the rostrum inside the senate chamber instead of it being an outdoor spot for speeches and announcements. And not so much on the historical facts, or style of speaking (it is written in English, not Latin). However, I don't share the author's love of describing appendix operations or arm removal in absolute detail, with every drop of blood or tendon being cut and scream of pain..
If you read this book to learn about the life of Julius Caesar, you will be disappointed. There are so many historical errors in this book that I had to keep looking at the title of the book to remind me that it was about Julius Caesar. I gave up, and read the book as a fantasy, as if I were reading about Conan the Barbarian or some other fantasy character. Why someone felt it was necessary to fictionalize someone like Julius Caesar is bewildering. If you just want to read a story in the setting of first century Rome, and you don't care about historical facts, you might enjoy the book.
I'm a big fan of Roman History and have studied it extensively: I've been to Rome and all over Italy more times than I can count. I type that, not to pass myself off as an expert, but in the hopes that this information will put my review in context.
So...what did I think?
I enjoyed the writing style and the story line a lot but really struggle with how badly mis-characterized some of the major historical figures are. Octavian is one of my favorite people in history and this books absolutely misses the boat on him and that flaw alone drives me batty to the point of distraction. With each historical character, it feels as if Igguiden didn't even attempt to tap into their writings or exploits in order to connect his story and the characters with reality.
It's hard to rate, in that I've read and enjoyed these books, but in order to do so, I had to divorce myself from any knowledge or sense of who these men and women were in real life, or, more appropriately, how I envisioned them to be.
In summary, my neurosis and love of this period in Roman History keeps bumping into my overt affection for it. I will read anything about this time period because I love it, but that very reading and studying caused me to hate how he drew the characters up.
In the end, the rating is "like it" and I did, but, if this were presented as a fiction about characters the author created, then it would be five stars.