Book Review: Imperium by Robert Harris

imperiumA cautionary tale of orator Cicero and his struggle for power in Rome. On a cold November morning, a terrified stranger, Sicilian victim of the island’s corrupt Roman governor Verres, approaches senator Marcus Cicero. At age 27, the ambitious young lawyer and orator wants imperium – supreme power in the state.

This is the story of Cicero’s rise to Consulship, making use of many of his speeches (still available ~2000 years later). Lots of political intrigue and the choices and sacrifices that have to be made in order to further a career.

All the greats are here – Cicero, Crassus (who thwarted Sparticus and funded the political career of….) Julius Caesar; Verres (who had plundered Sicily almost to the point of bankruptcy), with Mark Anthony, Sulla etc as supporting characters.

Harris states in the Author’s note “Although Imperium is a novel, the majority of the events it describes did actually happen; the remainder at least *could* have happened and nothing I hope demonstratively *did not* happen”.

It’s an easy read, and should be used as an alternative way of absorbing historical knowledge and inspiring further reading, especially amongst those (like myself) who fell out of interest with “learning History” a long time ago.

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