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The Great Fire of Rome: The Fall of the Emperor Nero and His City
Synopses & Reviews
On the night of July 19, AD 64, a fire began beneath the stands of Romeand#8217;s great stadium, the Circus Maximus. For more than a week the fire spread, engulfing most of the city and nearly burning it to the ground. With its capital in ruins, Romeand#8217;s powerful empire teetered on the edge of collapse as Nero struggled desperately to save his empireand#133;and his skin.
In The Great Fire of Rome, Dando-Collins takes readers through the streets of ancient Rome, where unrest simmers, and into the imperial palace, where political intrigue seethes, relating a pot-boiler story filled with fascinating historical characters who will determine the course of an empire. It is an unforgettable human drama that brings ancient Rome and the momentous events of 64 AD scorchingly to life.
"Australian-born historian Dando-Collins vividly recreates one of history's most famous events. On a warm summer night in 64 C.E., a small fire broke out in a Roman shop; fanned by winds, the fire spread quickly, destroying huge parts of the city. The emperor, Nero, an accomplished lyre player and singer, was in Antium for a singing competition, and when news of the fire reached him, he reluctantly set sail for home. Nero announced an ambitious rebuilding plan, with bounties for landowners who completed reconstruction of buildings on their land in a prescribed period. Nero also planned for wider streets, which made him unpopular with many. Seeking to assign blame for the fire, Nero settled on the priests of Isis, persecuting them at public festivals. This drew the ire of Nero's critics, who believed the emperor himself had set the fire. Nero spent the last four years of his life in seclusion. Drawing heavily upon the conflicting accounts of the fire and Nero's rise and demise in the works of Roman historians Tacitus, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio, historian Dando-Collins energetically recreates the days leading up to the fire, the conflagration itself, and the subsequent decline of Nero's fortunes. 8 pages of b&w photos, maps. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Book News Annotation:
The story of Nero fiddling while Rome burned is as familiar to most people as George Washington and the cherry tree. Historian and writer Dando-Collins argues that Nero's reputation is as apocryphal as George's. In this micro-history, Dando-Collins begins with the famous fire and looks at the career of Nero and the city of Rome for the next four years, from 64-68. The tale of the decline and fall of Nero is based on contemporary authors. Dando-Collins is aware of the bias of men like Tacitus, Suetonius, Seneca, Josephus and the authors of the New Testament. He also suspects that the story of Nero blaming the fire on the Christians is a later interpolation. His account is for general readers rather than scholars and Dando-Collins makes some assumptions of his own that he doesn't substantiate. Nevertheless, this is an excellent corrective to myth and a good introduction to first-century Roman history. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Acclaimed author Stephen Dando-Collins tells the never-before-told story of Romeand#8217;s famous fire that destroyed the worldand#8217;s greatest city and its most notorious emperor: Nero
About the Author
Stephen Dando-Collins is an Australian-born historian, editor, and author. He has written several highly acclaimed nonfiction books, including Caesarandrsquo;s Legion and Tycoonandrsquo;s War. He lives in Tasmania.
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History and Social Science » Geography » General