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Rid of their enemies, the Caesars set about murdering family and friends

Death and debauchery are the principal themes of Dynasty, Tom Holland’s lurid history of Augustus and his successors

12 September 2015

9:00 AM

12 September 2015

9:00 AM

Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar Tom Holland

Little, Brown, pp.512, £25, ISBN: 9781408703373

According to Francis Bacon, the House of York was ‘a race often dipped in its own blood’. That being so, one wonders what Bacon made of Rome’s Julio-Claudian dynasty, the gore-spattered family that gave the empire its first five rulers, and the subject of Tom Holland’s latest popular history of the ancient world.

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