The Son of a Slave Who Became Roman Emperor
In the press!
As featured in The Times, June 2020: 'Forgotten emperor Pertinax was Rome's JFK, says historian Simon Elliott'
The son of a former slave, Pertinax was the Roman Emperor who proved that no matter how lowly your birth, you could rise to the very top through hard work, grit and determination.
Born in AD 126, he made a late career change from working as a grammar teacher to a position in the army. As he moved up the ranks and further along the aristocratic cursus honorum, he took on many of the most important postings in the Empire, from senior military roles in fractious Britain, the Marcomannic Wars on the Danube, to the Parthian Wars in the east. He held governorships in key provinces, and later consulships in Rome itself. When Emperor Commodus was assassinated on New Year’s Eve AD 192/193, the Praetorian Guard alighted on Pertinax to become the new Emperor, expecting a pliable puppet who would favour them with great wealth. But Pertinax was nothing of the sort and when he then attempted to reform the Guard, he was assassinated. His death triggered the beginning of the ‘Year of the Five Emperors’ from which Septimius Severus, Pertinax’s former mentoree, became the ultimate victor and founder of the Severan Dynasty.
This previously untold story brings a fascinating and important figure out of the shadows. A self made everyman, a man of principle and ambition, a role model respected by his contemporaries who styled himself on his philosophising predecessor and sometime champion Marcus Aurelius, Pertinax’s remarkable story offers a unique and panoramic insight into the late 2nd century AD Principate Empire.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Joe Singleton
What an amazing book this is. The research and work done by the author must have taken a very long time and the level of detail is amazing. Not only does Dr Elliott look at the life of Pertinax but also so many other facets that would affect life in Rome, etc
This is a large piece of work and if you are at all interested in Roman history it is something you will keep going back too for reference.
Definitely a 5 star review from me.
Elliot’s key virtue as a writer is his clarity - information handled very efficiently: it is organised into neat units, presented directly - he likes tables and bullet points - and supported by direct references to ancient and modern sources. He makes good use of modern archaeological finds and inscriptions. This last bit is important as there are not too many written sources to work from.NetGalley, Nathan Uglow
Forgotten emperor Pertinax was Rome's JFK, says historian Simon ElliottThe Times 9/6/20