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Rome's Enemies Within (Hardback)

Imperial Conspiracies and Assassinations in the Roman Empire during the First Century AD

Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces Military

By John S McHugh
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 304
Illustrations: 40 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399061551
Published: 30th August 2024


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The greatest danger to Roman emperors was the threat of deadly conspiracies arising among the Senate, the imperial court or even their own families All the emperors that reigned from Augustus to the end of the first century AD faced such efforts to overthrow or assassinate them. John McHugh uncovers these conspiracies, narrating them and seeking to explain them. The underlying cause in many cases was the decline in influence, patronage and status granted by emperors to the Senatorial class, leading some to seek power for themselves or a more generous candidate. Attempted assassinations or coups led the emperors to mistrust the Senate and rely more on freedmen, causing more resentment. Paranoid emperors often reacted to the merest hint of treason, real or imagined, with punishments and executions, leading more of those around them to consider desperate measures out of self-preservation. And of course, amid this vicious circle of poisonous mistrust, there were ambitious family members promoting their own (or their offspring’s) claims to the purple, and the duplicitous Praetorian Guard. John McHugh brings to light a century of assassination, conspiracy and betrayal, exploring the motives and aims of the plotters and the bloody cost of success or failure.

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 John S McHugh

About John S McHugh

JOHN S MCHUGH has a BA and MA in Ancient History. His love of the ancient world has led him to travel to many classical sites. Before his recent (early) retirement he was Assistant Headmaster at a secondary school in Bolton. He is the co-author of a text book on Bolton’s connections with the slave trade and assisted Bolton Museum with a project to record the oral history of the local populace with the aim of promoting understanding between people of different generations or ethnic and social backgrounds. He is the author of The Emperor Commodus: God and GladiatorEmperor Alexander Severus: Rome's Age of Insurrection, AD 222-235; and Sejanus, Regent of Rome, which were also published by Pen & Sword Books.

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The Emperor Commodus God and Gladiator (Hardback)

Commodus is synonymous with debauchery and megalomania, best remembered for fighting as a gladiator. Ridiculed and maligned by historians since his own time, modern popular culture knows him as the patricidal villain in Ridley Scott's Gladiator. Much of his infamy is clearly based on fact, but is this the full story? John McHugh reviews the ancient evidence to present the first full-length biography of Commodus in English. His twelve-year reign is set in its historical context, showing that the 'kingdom of gold' he supposedly inherited was actually an empire devastated by plague and war. Openly…

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